Guest blogging…

Hey everyone, I am appearing as a “guru” this week.  Isn’t that a fun word to say?  Guru.  “Sheila Burke is an inspirational and spiritual author and the founder the online communities of Hello Peace, Irie and Zensational Living” and this website called HelloPeace.Guru has my latest article.  Please pop over and have a look at her page.  Of course, I ermmm, used my funny GINORMOUS sunglasses photo, and should have used a different photo.  But that’s me…going all Elton John on you.  Except I’m pretty sure his glasses aren’t $5 or less.  Okay, next up, I found out the e-zine I wrote 2 articles for isn’t going to continue.  Sad face.  So I will publish one of those articles here soon as it really went in depth about illness and how to come back from it.

I also wrote something for this lovely lady that I met in my Wellness University group and she is publishing it on Tuesday I believe.  Here is a little something about Tina C. Hines.  “Tina C. Hines strives to educate, empower and enlighten women as they embark on their own personal journeys.  Tina’s professional career has always had one major focus – to inspire women to recognize that a part of them may be lying dormant within and reconnecting with that woman can transform their lives.”

So if you would like for me to write for you, just let me know.  My goal is to get all of my writings together on living with invisible diseases and publish a book.  I already have it started…just have to complete it.  I also want to launch a better website.  I love blogging and loved that this was a free site, but I need more.  So my next goal is to offer a free sort of e-letter, maybe a newsletter, and then the book.  The days of Facebook being the way I got the word out on my fan page seem to be dying.  I do have my business Vitalize You there, but even that has trouble getting seen.

Don’t be afraid to ask me questions about your own invisible illness.  If I know something that might help you, I will tell you.  I am not a doctor as you all know.  Merely someone who has been researching these diseases for 17 years now.  Give or take which one we are talking about.  And my nightly reminder for everyone:

 

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Motivational Monday…

When they tell you not to bite off more than you can chew…you need to listen.  The problem is, maybe “they” have never been broke.  Maybe “they” have never been in debt.  And I’m definitely thinking “they” don’t know what it’s like to worry and/or stress over whether or not you will have enough to pay for groceries.  Sometimes, people have to do what they must in order to survive.  Even if this means adding to their stress.

Ways to survive this type of stress are to take breaks during your work day.  I read recently that you should set a timer.  Every 50 minutes or so.  Ha.  But I think that would help me out with my current craziness because then I would realize I have not eaten lunch…that e-mail can really wait.

Go to yoga.  I say this quite frequently.  But seriously.  Either that or learn to meditate…unless having some type of wine port attached is legal.  I don’t think it is yet.

If I was the boss, wait I am the boss of myself, sort of, I would make mandatory no work after 5 p.m. ever.  No work on weekends, ever.  And that sort of thing rules.  I really wish I could do that to myself.  Why is it people who work from home end up working more???  Someone forgot to mention that to me. 

Someone smart in your company needs to streamline the processes for other people.  I really liked to make things easier on other teachers when I was a teacher.  I liked group planning because IF it ran the way it was supposed to, oh yeah it didn’t, but if and when it did on rare occasions, you would really come out with like a version of the easy button.  EVERY company needs this.  I can’t stand it when there is no version of something that everyone needs to use.  I end up creating my own documents for future reference.

So that’s my motivational tips for today.  If there is an easy button, use it folks.  Just use it.

accountable

Motivational Monday…

One of my biggest faults, or one of my biggest assets depending on how you look at it, is my inability to keep quiet when wrongs are being done.  Whether it would cost me my job or not, which by the way it never has, but I’m just saying it could, I have made it a point to share the things that go on behind the scenes.  Why do I do that?  Because quite simply it boils down to a code of conduct I think human beings should personally hold themselves accountable to whether or not anyone is looking. 

This includes e-mail messages, private messages, cyber-bullying, phone conversations, texts and the like.  Just because you can’t see someone, does not mean they don’t have feelings.  I honestly wish I didn’t have a hard time with people being nasty…maybe I could be like the see no evil monkeys and just sit there and pretend it doesn’t happen like so many people.  But you see, that’s why the world is in the mess we are in now.

As a teacher, the desire to teach tiny people social-emotional skills was very important to me.  We are losing our HUMANITY as sure as I sit here and type this.  Parents were not showing respect to teachers, principals and other school staff.  They were not showing respect to other parents, and they sure weren’t able to teach respect to their children.  This week alone I saw friends post about children doing horrible things out in public and the parents were…on their phones ignoring the children.  The children then acted out more, etc.

So adults have taken on a kind of behavior that was not seen 20 years ago.  They think they can say anything on Facebook, post anything on social media, and it is okay.  We need to bring back social skills to our children.  We need to teach interaction with other human beings and we also need to learn the word “NO”.  No, you can’t treat me that way.  No, you can’t act a fool in public.  No, you can’t come in here on the first day of school and kick your momma.  I am going to have something to say about that.  Just as you can’t “cuss” at folks.  So teachers, hold your ground.  Hold.  Your. Ground.  As you prepare for this year, do what you know is right.  It’s okay to take time to teach social skills.  It’s okay to say no, you can’t act that way in my room.  Period.  Maybe, just maybe, the tiny ones will go home and show some of these very fine social skills to their folks.

CriticizeHold. Your. Ground.

Motivational Monday…

There are days I write these and I think, “What could I have to say at a time like this that would motivate anyone?”  And then I write anyway.  Today is definitely one of those days.  I am exhausted, aching again, and spent the last 4 days without a working kitchen sink.  That meant no dishwasher or running water to use…anyway, moving on.  I walked outside the other day and noticed the back of my roof was warped.  I was sweeping my back porch and I swear it it actually sinking…SINKING.  There may or may not be a leak further down the line in my pipes and we probably need new pipes leading up to the house put in as I have lived without water pressure for about 7 years now…not a big thing really.  It’s an old house.

You see, I fell in love with the backyard.  The BACK yard, where I don’t actually live.  Once I walked outside, I was entranced.  It looked like a magical place to raise my kids.  The house was a hot mess.  I have worked on it for years with the help of various people, friends, acquaintances, etc.  Whoever would come do the occasional odd job.  And suddenly this weekend, it seemed like I was ready to sell it.  I was tired of trying to keep up with it.  Then I read my friend’s post in Australia.  I realized, that no matter where we are in this world, we all have similar problems, but someone can be in worse shape.

Now my Aussie friend has some sort of asbestos problem named Mr. Fluffy.  Not funny, but I mean, Mr. Fluffy?  Really???  She isn’t very happy with you right now Mr. Fluffy.  Then, I think of my friend who lost her house due to Chinese Drywall.  Her story was extremely scary, but luckily she has a new house in a new state.

So, erm, there was also the problem with the R-words here.  That was actually nasty, but it has been taken care of.  Apparently, there was an outbreak of some sort of roof R-words.  R-words can not be tolerated.  Anyway, moving on.  I am not going to go into everything, but the bottom line is, with the exception of the R-words, we can actually live here. 

So, the bottom line today, is that hopefully after my aching exhaustion goes away, things will be okay again.  My girls helped me clean up, things are working for now, and I then had to sleep most of the day due to said fatigue, but it will be ok.  So I say to you my friends, things will be okay.  They are not maybe right this minute, but luckily, things change.

 

Answer

Motivational Monday…”Grit”

What makes others succeed in business or even life, while others do not?  Grit.  Plain and simple.  I really like this idea from http://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_the_key_to_success_grit  on how we need to teach our children that the brain grows and changes in response to challenge.  When you don’t believe that failure is a permanent condition, you are more likely to persevere.  Wow.  Let’s think about that shall we.  This relates to my last post as well.  Don’t you wish that some of your friends had more “grit” than they currently have?  Why?  Because it would help them grow.  We have to be willing to fail in order to succeed.  How crazy is that thought??

As a teacher, I saw the students who had true grit accomplish many things.  Perhaps I had it as well because there were many times my first year of teaching I wanted to quit.  Many, many, many times.  Teaching in a very difficult neighborhood, in an area known for poverty and police tape was scary.  Seeing the kids you taught overcome obstacles in their lives, now that took grit on their part.

You can start over again with lessons learned.  Just because it didn’t work out the way you thought it would the first time does NOT mean you are a failure.  You have learned something new.  So we need to teach our children the meaning of failure and pulling yourself back up again.  So on this last week of school, if you are a teacher reading this, I want you to know we have all been there.  Every single teacher I know has had a year he or she wanted to quit.  Even if only for a second.  It’s okay to think that way.  As long as you know you are not alone and that next year is a brand new year to try again.  Start over with new plans, new ideas, and new ways of doing things because let’s face, the curriculum changes almost every year anyway.  So rest easy this summer, and make a plan for showing your students some true grit come fall.  You’ll be ready.

FailureUltimately there is no such thing as failure. There are lessons learned in different ways.

Motivational Monday…

A long time ago, in a hood far, far away, I was a teacher.  During November, I talked about a few of the hard stories.  I had a student once who had “selective mutism” in first grade.  His parents didn’t act concerned at all and were wonderful and very supportive.  They said, “Oh, he talks up a storm at home.”  The problem was, that didn’t help me in the classroom because I knew I was going to have to do oral exams such as this new test called Phonological Awareness.  It’s kind of hard to hear the phonemes when someone won’t speak. 

I had “G” team up with this other child I thought would be a good role model.  I had the moms exchange phone numbers and I told them what I was doing.  Little by little “G” began to talk.  At first, it was in a whisper.  Then he whispered to his new friend.  He would whisper to me when people didn’t look at him.  The first time he raised his hand to answer a question I almost cried.  I stayed very calm and pretended I wasn’t going to call on him so I didn’t scare him.  When I saw he was ready I said his name.  He answered and the whole class stopped and looked at him.  They gave him words of encouragement.  I almost cried.  Ahhh.  Little “G”, you kind of still are my favorite story to tell.

I just looked through my photo album tonight.  I see you and your friend in almost all of my photos.  I was probably a tad bit obvious that year about favorites, but who could blame me.  It was my very first year and I managed to do something right.  I was a wee bit proud of myself.  Plus I made it through the year without quitting AND the next year, I came back an entirely different teacher; however, that’s another story.  So for my room One first graders, ummm you might be in college, but you know, I am still the same age, anyway, I love you guys and hope you are doing well.  Three of my girls are my Facebook friends so I do check on some of you.  You just don’t know it.

Difference

The homeless…

You see them on the street.  You grab your child’s hand and whisper “Don’t make eye contact” and you hurry by.  They are on the corners with their signs and you say “I bet they make more money than I do.”  They come to your churches, and the smell, oh the smell, you can’t wait for them to leave.  I wonder how many people have ever sat down and talked to them.  I wonder how many people ask them how they got they way and what can they do to help.  I am lucky to know a few people who do that.

Over the last 15 years, I have taught mostly lower socioeconomic children.  Some years past, “T” was in my class.  He was special needs and perhaps got that way by his mother’s use of various drugs and/or alcohol.  He had a smile that could light up a room and I loved him, as I do all my children.  He was a handful to say the least and required constant, constant, attention.  He would always be somewhere he was not supposed to be, and would “bother” the other children.  The lady I worked with had a hard time with him as well, so she would have to take his hand when we went anywhere as a class down the hall.  I had to do what is called a child study on him.  We did lots and lots of paperwork and I worked with the school counselor and social workers as well as the psychologist.  One day, we found out T’s mother had been evicted from where she was living.  He had a sister that I knew of and I went to that teacher to find out what had happened.  She knew even less.

I went to my good friend next.  A man who had worked on a committee with me to try to help the teachers with behavior problems in class.  He worked closely with the families and he knew of my struggles with T’s situation.  We did everything in our power at that time to speed up the child study, but sadly, T was “not in our district” anymore and somehow was going to be removed from school.  To this day I am still not even sure how this happened.  Both administrators at the time were well aware of my work with this family.  I have never seen my normally mild-mannered, doesn’t use a curse word, heart of gold friend stand up to the administration like he did the day I begged them to help me keep T at school.  I told them if he wasn’t in my class, I was afraid of what was going to him.  I said his child study was coming up, please let him stay until then.  Somehow, it didn’t matter.  That was the year I lost faith in the system.  That was the year I cried and told them he had no other place to go, but they didn’t budge.  That was the year I went to people above them and started letting them know what was going on.

That was the year my friend said I was right.  There were some things that might be worth losing your job over.  Miraculously, one of the administrators was moved to another school over the summer and no one even saw it coming.  Well, there might have been a few who saw it coming.  I told my friend I didn’t know how much longer I could keep doing this.  I was drained.  We started talking about other jobs for me, and I said I loved his job.  He gave me the eyeball and said that my strengths could also be my weaknesses.  I always got too close.  He’s right.  I do and I would probably lose my job over it or quit (true story).  I have been told that over and over again in my professional career.  I cared too much.  To this day I still don’t believe that is possible.

If you would like to be one of the few who care too much, here are some resources for you:

Homeless Shelter Directory  Currently 3,355 shelters in the U.S. on this site  The food bank listings are there as well.

Veterans Affairs Department  No one should be homeless that served our country.  Help your community.

The National Center on Family Homelessness  The National Center merged with American Institutes for Research and this site has comprehensive resources for families.

35 ways to help the Homeless  One tip that was truly helpful, was to develop a list of shelters that you can hand out to the homeless on a small card.  I also have bought extra gift cards to Starbucks, and have been known to hand those out.  I could tape a handy list of soup kitchens to the card as well.

Lastly, I would encourage you to get to know your local shelters and food banks.  We don’t know how they got there, but we can help them move on.

Truly Give