11/16/2009

29 gifts for 29 days: days 7-8

Yesterday was the first day so far I had a tough time with 'consciously' giving. It was my 37th birthday and all day long I was receiving messages from friends and family wishing me a happy day. Before I knew it, it was evening and I was still trying to think of something to give which wouldn't require me to leave the house. You see, my birthday was spent in my p.j.'s on the couch, reading. Sure I got up to use the 'facilities', eat, interact with the family and a few other minor acts. Sort of my gift to myself.

Day 7:

Finding myself downstairs on the computer, I decided to send an email to Maddi's previous art teacher and share with her the stop-motion video Maddi made. This particular art instructor is wonderful, and truly believes in developing the creative side of our children's minds. She uses play and reaches deep into her big bag of tricks to encourage the students to explore their imagination. As I thought she would, this teacher responded to my email by this morning. She praised Maddi for her hard work and told me: "Thank you. I rarely get the opportunity to see my students' progress after they have graduated from my classes. You made me smile!" Yes!

Day 8:

Today's gift was much easier. The grade school where my younger two children attend was holding vision and hearing screenings today. The PTO contacted me and asked if I could come in and help with the testing. No problem! This is why I am staying at home full-time instead of working an outside job. Last year I would have politely bowed out, knowing I had limited time to offer. This year I was able to help out and I even agreed to volunteer tomorrow , as well. I absolutely love giving the gift of time.


11/14/2009

29 gifts for 29 days: day 6


Today presented a difficulty in giving, as it was a huge day of gifts being given to me. Gifts of support, gifts of love, gifts of prayer for me, my spouse and my children, gifts of thanks .......... for 4+ hours straight! The Arise Cry Out event was spectacularly awesome. Yep, those words about sum it up.


I did manage to sneak in a chance to 'give' while at the assembly. The coordinator of the local chapter devoted endless hours of her time and talents in preparation for this day. I am certain she was up early and checking off her to do list while wondering what else she could manage to squeeze in. I volunteered weeks ago to arrive early and assist with the last-minute details, but that was something I 'signed' up to do ...... not a deliberate, intentional gift. So, while my friend was speaking to and answering questions from guests at the end of the day, I swiped the keys from her purse. I quickly gathered all of the signage, leftover goodie bags and set-up supplies and took them out to her car. When I was through cleaning up, I had intentions to take the keys back to her and offer to take her out for lunch. When I found her, she was deep in conversation with one of the last guests, so I made the decision to hand her the keys and wave a quick goodbye. The greatest give I could give her was some much needed alone time to take a deep breath and allow her mind to replay the day ........ without interruption or conversation.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh.

When I arrived home, the kiddos were deep in play and hubby was putting the finishing touches on my birthday cake for tomorrow. Madison asked me to come take a look at her newest stop-motion short film and once I saw it, I knew I was going to share it here. My almost 12yo baby girl is going places, I tell ya!


video

11/13/2009

29 gifts for 29 days: days 4-5

I am loving this opportunity to spend some time each day in thought of 'giving'. Have you checked out Cami's Site?

Day 4, Thursday 11/12:

My
gift today was broccolli. Yes ....... yes it was. And thoughtfully, so; I might add. Our elementary school's PTO arranged for a meal to be provided for the teachers and support staff on the day of conferences. Volunteers are requested to bring certain items to the teachers' lounge and the PTO staff throws it all together and has the food ready for the staff when they have a break between parent meetings. I signed up for 16 cups of warmed broccoli to add as a garnishment to baked potatoes. Yum. I am proud to be part of a group who takes care of our teachers.




Day 5, Friday 11/13:

Tomorrow morning, 11/14 from 9am-1pm, I am attending a world-wide day of prayer for children and schools. Our local chapter of Mom's in Touch has organized a host site to provide a comfortable location for prayer and gathering to watch a 4-hour DVD previously recorded live in San Fransisco last month. Millions of mothers all around the world will gather for 24 hours of continuous, thoughtful prayer to fulfill the MIT Mission of "impacting children & schools worldwide for Christ by gathering mothers to pray."

This is going to be a wonderful day filled with prayer!

My gift this Friday is to put together 5 floral arrangements to decorate the registration and welcome tables for our local event. Our area coordinator is overloaded with all of the duties necessary to put together this event, so I called her earlier in the week to see how I could help lesson her work load.

I am thrilled to be a part of this event and even more happy to be able to bring 'something to the table', ........ literally. Here is 1 of the 5 I will be completing by the end of the day.




I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend. You?

11/11/2009

29 gifts for 29 days: days 1-3


Do you ever have a post idea in mind and avoid sitting down and writing it because you want it to be 'just right'? I have wanted to start documenting my journey of 29 gifts in 29 days, but keep putting it off even though I have already started gifting. Why do I want to be able to say
just the right thing and use just the right words? Perfection syndrome? Ha! I don't seem to have that problem in any other areas of my life ........ case in point: keeping my home p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y clean.

Let's just begin. To read about the journey from the author's perspective, travel off to 29 gifts and read about how Cami Walker and others are choosing to give rather than focus on the negatives in their lives.
Monday: I was shopping at my favorite discount grocery store, Aldi's, when I made the conscience decision to give. This store is located in an urban setting and attracts all types of personalities and 'walks of life'. I often wonder what people say about me! Anyway, I was returning my cart when I noticed and older woman coming out of the store. Her cart was overflowing with groceries and two small children were hanging off either side of the railings of the cart. I noticed her sack on the lower shelf was going to take a tumble, so I ran over and up-righted it for her. She didn't seem to notice, but she did start talking a mile a minute about how her husband was working and she had to bring her young grandchildren with her and how difficult it is to shop with them. "Oh, no" I thought. I just wanted to help her out a little bit and be on my way! I did not want to stand there and listen to her woes. Just let me give my 'gift' and walk away already!

Ah, the teachable moment. The woman was asking me for my time and attention, not for help with her task. Could I give her that? Yes, ..... yes, I could. I listened to her story for about 5 minutes, one filled with complaint for life. When she stopped to take a breath, I jumped in and told her how wonderful she was for being active in her grandchildren's life, for taking care of them, and for being strong enough to take the kids with her to shop!

The woman smiled and then introduced me to her grandchildren in the most proud way only a grandmother can. I smiled back and told her to have a wonderful day. Gift in disguise!

Tuesday: I gave 2 gifts on this day, not to be overly ambitious, but because I had the opportunity to do so.

My first gift of the day was to my wonderful family practitioner. I had an appointment for the dreaded 'annual', and wasn't feeling too excited about fasting until 10:30 in the morning ...... read NO COFFEE ...... or by having to don the paper gowns. Remembering a story I heard having to do with annual appointments and glitter (sorry, tale for another day), I decided to give my Dr. a little laugh, or gift of laughter. I took a purple Sharpie and wrote, "Good morning!" on the inside of my upper left thigh. Then I took a blue Sharpie and wrote, "Be Gentle" on the inside of my upper right thigh. When I got to the office, I was asked to leave a sample for testing. On the plastic cup, I wrote my name and then "Have a great day :)". Well, the nurse needs a laugh, too! Oh, and did I mention the nurse told me my Dr. had a med student with her for the day? Yeah ..... nice. Okay, two laughs for the price of one.

The student prepares for the examination and when the time comes, lifts my paper gown to begin.

::Silence::

Then, "Um, Dr. ______?" My Dr. peeks over from writing her notes and quickly grabs the gown and pushes it down. Her hand is covering her mouth, so I can't yet read her reaction. She proceeds to scoot the stool back, gets up, and stumbles over to face the wall. I'm confused at her reaction until I notice her shoulders are shaking. Whew, she DID find it funny.

She turns around and tells me "In all my years, No one has ever done that. Thank you for making me laugh today. I won't forget this."

Then she asked to take a picture with her cell phone. (um, NO!!!!) "Can I bring a couple of colleagues in to look?" (um, DOUBLE NO!!!) So she settled for being able to tell the story.

As for the med student, I wouldn't be surprised if she withdrew her application for residency.

My second gift of the day was more 'typical'. I met with a good friend who also happens to be coaching me in a business pursuit (more on that topic later .... much later) and brought her my library copy of 29 Gifts. I still had 2+ weeks left on the loan and trusted her to read it and then return it to the library. Along with the book, I printed off 4 inspirational bookmarks since I know she reads several books at a time. Her gratitude and smile were a wonderful gift to receive.

Wednesday: I am giving myself a gift today. Permission to ask God to take away my anger. Or, am I giving God a gift by handing him my anger? Or, is God giving me the ultimate gift of forgiveness? Whatever it is, it is a gift-fest with God and me today.



I will continue to write about my gifts, but not necessarily an 'every day' posting. Or maybe and everyday posting project ...... I have not yet decided.

11/09/2009

I got that groovy feeling

You know the feeling ....... when everything is back in its place. Tasks are effortless and the systems set in motion at the beginning of the school year are working amazingly well. Birds are singing, children are behaving and the cure for all cancers has been discovered. Well ....... maybe not the children behaving well part.

Yes, I must admit life is good. I am even enjoying Mondays! Sure the weekends are great, but there is something about the quiet of the house after the hubby and kiddos go off to work and school. I always think I am going to plunk down on the couch with my coffee and channel surf until my eyes glaze over. Instead, I feel a rush of energy to get the house back into shape after a weekend full of fun. Sometimes I turn on music for inspiration and company, but more often I find I enjoy the lack of v-o-i-c-e-s. My coffee may get cold and the television as well, but my dishwasher is empty, the laundry is humming and the floors are cleared of clutter.

In other news, I just finished reading this book by Cami Walker. I will be writing more about how I am going to do my own 29 days of gifting. For now, take a moment and go and see what this book is all about.


11/03/2009

lists

Growing up, my mom was the queen of lists:
  • Grocery lists, Meal Planning lists, Saturday Morning Cleaning lists, Gift lists, Daily To Do lists, Packing-Bags-For-A-Trip lists, Chore lists, New Clothes for School lists, on and on and on.

As I got older I, too, made lists. Not as many lists as my mom, and certainly not in her nice handwriting, but lists nonetheless. I felt good when I would write the the list (all organized, sub-categorized, color coded) but would soon feel a knot in my stomach as I looked at the finished list. Do I have to do it in that exact order? What If I need to add something to the list and I don't put it in the right category? What if I don't complete the things on the list in time? What do I do with the things on the list left over - transfer to another list? Or, heaven forbid I LOSE the list. I might as well just curl up in a ball and weep ........ the day is ruined.

I am embarrassed to say it has taken me years as an adult to let go of The Lists. Yes, they have their place and can be a great organizing tool, but they are also very intimidating ...... for me. Isn't it time I grow up and not allow inanimate objects to hold me back? My mind is constantly creating ideas of things to do, but I am finally realizing I don't get half of them done because I set those ideas to pen and paper, in a list, and I loose inspiration.

What if I stop writing lists? Will the earth tip off it's axis and implode? Will I ever accomplish anything if I don't have a list in hand? No ....... then Yes.

Oh, how the brain imprints what we see as a child and then interprets as something we have to do as an adult. The benefit of being an adult, however, is we get to decide how we want to live. The reason we fall back on 'what we know' is because we haven't made an ACTIVE decision to behave otherwise.


Well, I am making an ACTIVE decision to not make lists. Yep ........ no more lists to tie me down!

So how will I get the information from my thoughts to reality? Free-form writing. Just like back in creative writing class. Remember? You take a blank sheet of paper and just start writing ideas ...... free form ...... in no order ...... random. So much nicer to look at, in my opinion. I can use colors, drawings, different papers, the computer, make collages, basically whatever I feel will inspire me to move forward.

Like taking a deep breath and letting go of something holding you back. Who knew it could be something so simple as a list?!?!?!




Using randomness to create order

back to edit SEVERAL typos and missed words. Yikes!

11/01/2009

questions

  • Why does the coffee maker slow down when I need that cup of goodness right NOW?!
  • How is it possible I can feel so much joy and the next moment be drowning in darkness?
  • Why is my body changing as fast now as it did in puberty?
  • How is it food tastes better when eaten with my best friend?
  • Why do I miss someone who doesn't speak, smile or even recognize me yet?
  • When did the tables turn to parenting my parents?
  • Why are things made now so inferior to things made years ago?
  • How can I inspire my children to reach for their dreams if I don't show them how?
  • When did my children loose their 'baby' smell? I mean, exactly when?
  • Where did my oldest child's wisdom and creative spirit come from?
  • Why did I not realize sooner the value of a great girlfriend relationship?
  • What changed to make us a society concerned so much with consumption?

I hope I never stop asking questions. Inspiration lies in the answers. I think my coffee might be ready now.