Holding On To Hope

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I like to consider myself a stronger and  more confident person as a result of the challenges life has dealt our family in recent years. I have learned lessons along the way and I know that you have to be an advocate, in times of challenge, for either yourself or those that need a voice. In the past, I would have said, “I don’t want to bring attention to anything” or “Why make waves?” That is no longer the case. I will fight for what is right and in terms of my daughter’s shoulder issues, I will keep pressing for answers whether it be a new form of physical therapy, a different specialist, or something academic related. I often wish I could help other families, as an advocate, in educational and medical matters. I know what we have gone through,and what we continue to go through, as a family. To have someone be a guide in the abyss of the medical and surgical world would have been a godsend.

I could use an advocate, right now,who has connections to every shoulder guru there is to be seen. How is it that this case is so original? We are seeing a top doctor now who also treats pro athletes but even he is perplexed as to why the shoulder is not maintaining stability. We are now about 3 1/2 years into this nightmare yet outsiders look at her and would never know her pain level or her daily struggles. Kelly will not crack, as she plows through this, and has excelled academically in her first full year back in 3 years right along with her twin sister. They are a great team!

For now, I pray, research, and continue to try to grow as a person. I need to be the best version of me–a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an advocate, a friend, and an educator. If I don’t, I am helping no one and I am not serving as a good role model for my girls.

Please remember, in your daily encounters, that everyone is struggling or going through something. Sometimes it is a visible struggle but often it is the invisible pain and struggles that can be the heaviest to carry. Always remember to be patient, kind, and to see the good everywhere. You could be the “light” in someone’s dark and cloudy day.

Keep on hoping! I know I will!!

Back In Action

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It has been far too long and I miss writing. I made a promise to myself and I am ready to begin writing for my blog again. I took a break, for a variety of reasons, but I feel now is a good time to return.

I will be posting 2 entries by the end of the weekend and then on a regular basis.

Stay tuned!

 

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A Change in Perspective

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I miss writing for my blog! There I have said it! It has been just about 2 weeks since I posted in my blog.

Life has moved on in my life. Summer has officially ended for me. A return to work and school for all. Routines are new and tried out to see what works and what doesn’t. It is a matter of trial and error these first few weeks. Also, back to school nights are done. Grateful for that!

I intend to have a creative outlet each day. Even if it is just 15 minutes. I plan on cross stitching or writing during this time set aside. It will cultivate my creative side and help me to focus better on the other area of my life . I love creating things.

My first posting, not that things have settled, will be this Wednesday. I hope to post weekly either on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

Thanks for reading,

What I Know For Sure

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“In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson” Author unknown.

I came across this quote in a  magazine this week. I immediately stopped and spent some time thinking about it. It is appropriate,for this time of year of new beginnings, as people begin prepping for a return to school. When I looked at this quote, I also thought of it as a backwards approach. This can be a more difficult approach to grasping life’s lessons. When you are taught a lesson, in school, you are instructed several times, receive notes to study from and quiz yourself on, and you may also have a practice test or two to check on how much material you have grasped. If there is a lack of understanding, then there are other opportunities for strengthening areas of weakness and possibly retesting.

In life, as I mentioned, we start backwards. The tests are presented without any prior background knowledge, note taking, or quizzing. There are no opportunities for a retest. This is a difficult concept to grasp and to embrace. It also takes time to reflect upon each test and to see them for the gifts that they are in each of our lives. Tests can have a tendency to overwhelm and keep us down or to stagnate us. These are all the results of not comprehending why these tests happened upon us. Close proximity, to the test, can cloud us from seeing the “big picture” or the intended lesson. Distance and time can be key factors in removing the clouds so that the lessons are finally evident to us. I believe this skill of understanding comes from a heightened awareness, a living in the moment approach, and an attitude of gratitude. Goals to aspire to in all of our lives.

I have had many tests, in the last few years, and some lessons have come easier than others. But, I know one thing for sure and that is I will keep looking and learning for the lessons in each test.

The “And” Story

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I recently came across a campaign launched, several months ago, by a cosmetic company. The central message is that today’s girls and women have more than one side to them and that is what makes them unique as individuals. There is no need to choose sides to define who you are! It is ok to have antonyms  describe you. For example, shy and bold, cautious and goal setter, raw and refined. It is even permissible to have 2 polar opposite concepts. An example would include polished nails and a polished mind. Today’s girls need this message. How often do we see girls stopping a hobby, or losing interest in something, as they get older because it is not a girl thing to do? Perhaps, girls would hold onto these early hobbies, or venture into other new territories, knowing this is not the only way to define themselves.

The same holds true as we get older. Many choose to label themselves with one title which, in most cases, is an occupation. If that is the correct way we are doing such an injustice. Choosing to write your “and” story is such a great reflection tool. You will learn so much about yourself and since you are not constrained by one title, it will feel joyful and satisfying as well. It is as if the clock, in a timed exam room, is absent and you have as long as you want? Who knew the word “and”, along with the symbol, had so much power? We are strong women of the 21st century. Embrace your own “and” story and shine like you should.

Recognizing we each have and “and” story is similar to the idea of a quilt being made up of various squares. If we only hold a single loose square, we do not have the entire beauty, joy, and warmth of the quilt. A single label, again, does not define us. The “and” story could be the greatest story you have ever written and read. Your “and” story could encourage and provide support to others. Never underestimate the power within you.

My “and” story includes many titles that I am proud of in my life. Alone they do not define me, but listed together they provide a more accurate picture of ME! Loving and caring wife, mother, daughter,sister, and friend. Loyal and protective. It would also include avid reader, writer, blogger, and life long learner. Finally my “and” story would have health conscious motivator and dedicated educator.

Please reflect on your own “and” story and the power it holds. Do not hesitate to be proud of it and share with others. When you do, the benefits cannot be measured. They are numerous AND beautiful.

Feel free to share your “and” story in the comments.

What Happens When We Do Not Assign Labels?

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I have been reflecting on the idea of assigning labels and putting everything, including people, under a specific label umbrella if you will. In another entry, some time ago, I touched upon this topic but I would like to revisit it again and expand upon it a bit.

I recently, within the last 5 weeks, became part of a group of women who encourage and support one another when it comes to fitness goals, nutrition, and motivation. We believe in one another and build one another up. No questions asked. It is simply one of the philosophies of the group. How inspiring is that? The woman whose “dream child” this is, is a childhood friend and, in fact, our mothers have been best friends for over 60 years. This new group serves as a source of encouragement and these new found friends serve as a wonderful support system. I have tried 3 new types of exercise classes and participated in 2 exercise challenges. Not bad for someone who was never labeled and “athlete” or a “gym rat.!” I did not feel intimidated, without these labels, only empowered as I tried new things and succeeded.

Just think if children did not impose labels upon one another. Would they be more accepting of one another? How about labels such as “meek”, “shy”, or “reserved?” An individual who is of this nature should be valued and and not penalized. I am speaking from personal experience and I have seen it in action. Everyone has gifts and talents. It is time to let them shine! As an educator, I have seen students thrive when they know they are not constrained by labels in regards to intelligence or talent. The student who is good at sports can also be good at art or the more reserved student can deliver an empowered speech in favor of the music program at a school board meeting.

This idea of no labeling can be applied to all areas of life. When people do mislabeling it is simply a matter of over generalization

We need to rid labeling as a practice. Who knows it may just put a smile on someone’s face when they feel encouraged. What a great thing!