Lessons Learned & Random Ramblings

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The connection between words & actions… May 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kate @ 11:51 pm
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the
highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
~ John F. Kennedy
I must confess, I began the day feeling a bit uninspired. I had a few days off last week which was a nice change of pace from the norm but it also served to remind me that I am in need of some creative inspiration – particularly in regards to my job. Let’s just say that I was NOT excited about getting up and getting back to the daily grind today. However, at about 11am, this quote arrived in my mailbox from Foundation for a Better Life and it made me pause and think.
So often we talk (sometimes ad nauseum!) about our beliefs, or the people that are important to us, or the things that matter to us or the goals we want to accomplish without action that follows through.
Kennedy’s words have significant meaning – probably more than I am even addressing. But, to me, it is saying that we should think a bit more about the things that we say – the words we put out there in the universe – so that we can be sure that we will follow through with our actions. I also think that the gratitude and highest appreciation he refers to is about ourselves as much as others. In other words, the more we work to be true to our own words, the more respect we are showing ourselves.
As I thought about Kennedy’s quote throughout the day, it made me think of two things:
1. My boyfriend is amazing at consistently doing little things to let me know that he loves, respects and appreciates me. He is somehow able to always know which nights I need frozen yogurt to unwind and he stops without me even mentioning it. He always knows when I am feeling a bit unappreciated or insecure about other aspects of life (friends, work, family, etc.) and he finds a way to make me feel like I am a princess. He knows when I need a listening ear or a big hug. He is very thoughtful with his words but consistently backs them up with actions. Even more impressive, he isn’t just that way with me — he does it for friends, coworkers, family members, etc. It is just him – he is genuine and as a result his actions reflect what he says.
2. I teach a program called Challenge to 5th graders which addresses peer pressure and self-esteem. Today’s lesson was somewhat fittingly the final lesson in which the kids participate in an “Agree? Disagree?”lesson about being comfortable sharing your opinions – even if you are the only one who thinks that “High School Musical” is the best movie ever. The kids pretty much always impress me with their responses but today when I asked the question: “Why do we do this lesson?” one girl answered, “Because you want us to feel comfortable being true to ourselves and sharing our opinions and you want us to know that we have a voice, even if not everyone is listening.” I thought this was impressive for a 5th grader but I also realized how true it is – people aren’t always going to listen – even the people who matter the most to us – so, we need to make sure that we truly hear ourselves and do things with our lives that reflect who we really are.
Kennedy’s quote — and my student’s response — reminded me to be genuine to myself and to others. If I tell a friend they are important to me, I should also make time for the lunch or dinner that they have suggested. If I truly want to be a writer, I should keep up with this blog and keep putting words out there. If I need a hot bath and a good book for some relaxation time and I can articulate that request to myself, I should follow through by giving my soul what it needs for some downtime.
Hopefully this blog will serve as a reminder to me to be more vigilant about the connection between my words and actions. Hopefully it also helps serve as encouragement to make sure you are being true to yourselves as well – in your words and actions.
 

When I grow up…. May 14, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kate @ 7:40 pm

….I want to be either a princess or a baseball player.

That was true at age 6 and to some extent remains true today. What is ironic is that I still don’t truly know what I want to be when I grow up. It seems like such a simple question – I know that I want to be happy, I want to be a good parent and a good partner, I want to be kind and giving and respectful. I want to be creative and inspired. I know that I want to have enough to not be worried about money all the time and to support those I care about if they need help. Those are the easy parts….

When I think about it in terms of a career I have a harder time with the question. I want to be a writer, I want to share my passion, I want to talk about sports, I want to spend time with others, I want to help people, I want to be creative and I want to help people find their voice and use it to share their stories and inspire others.

In a perfect world, I would teach at the college level – sharing my passion for women’s issues, spending time in enriching, education environments, using my degree, being inspired AND I would write about whatever strikes my fancy – baseball, soap operas, pilates, love, friendship, overcoming obstacles – my characters could be eclectic, creative and fascinating.

Here is where my frustration lies – how do you force yourself to make time to make things happen. I have to work full time (usually even more than that!), I have family obligations, I like my free time and my time with friends and loved ones. So, I ask you — at the end of a day, week, month where do I find time to write, where do I find the money to get even more education if necessary, where do I prioritize these things so that I don’t lose myself, my time with loved ones, and my sanity!

Wisdom would be welcome! 🙂

 

The power of love & the power of words… May 13, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kate @ 5:10 pm

I had the pleasure of being in a beautiful wedding this weekend. One of my very best friends got married to a wonderful man and it was quite the honor to be part of their special day.

I am not very religious but I do have faith and there are things I strongly believe in including the power of love and the power of words. The ceremony part of my friends wedding illustrated why these things are so incredibly important.

The minister that married my friends had dinner with them a few weeks before the ceremony and asked them each to email him the reasons they loved each other and why they wanted to marry each other. He also asked them to share a dream of the others that they would help to support. The minister then turned their answers into his sermon. It was truly incredible to watch these people so very much in love hear the words that the other had written for the first time. There were very few dry eyes in the place!

The sermon itself was beautiful but what I found even more incredible was the power of the words the bride and groom had written. I found myself thinking about the people that I love and how hard it can be to articulate emotions. It made me realize how important it is to find a way to put love, friendship, family bonds, etc. into words because people deserve to hear them and be moved by them.

The bride and groom smiled all weekend — the wedding was everything they wanted but more importantly they wanted the same thing from their relationship, their marriage and their future. It was an incredible thing to be a part of and an amazing love to get to share.

 

My personal list of Do’s & Don’ts…. May 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kate @ 7:05 pm

“ Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from
themselves. ”- James M. Barrie

I love this quote. I love the idea of being sunshine for someone else and making sure that my own life remains full of sunshine as well. I think that far too often we get caught up in our own little world and as a result we lose sight of the impact that our lives have on others. We forget how often our smallest actions have large impact on those around us. Lately life has been giving me a bit of a kick in the butt and in doing it so has offered me the opportunity to reflect on some mistakes I have made, lessons that I have learned and things I would still like to learn, try, do, create…. So, here is my personal list of Do’s & Don’ts. Please feel free to add your own as well 🙂
  • Do believe in yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
  • Do apologize when you hurt someone’s feelings or do something wrong and Do mean it.
  • Do open your heart and love freely.
  • Don’t take people for granted.
  • Do stand up for yourself and fight for what you believe in – even when it isn’t easy.
  • Don’t let people tell you that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, strong enough, beautiful enough, rich enough, etc.
  • Do treat others with respect. (Do recognize that not everyone will always deserve it but be the kinder person and attempt to always treat people with fairness.)
  • Don’t let people walk all over you or take advantage of you.
  • Do take time out for the things that make you happy – pedicures, hot baths, good books, episodes of General Hospital, new flip flops….
  • Don’t talk badly about others – it will always come back to hurt you.
  • Do believe in the power of something – whether it be feminism, pilates, karma, chocolate or something totally and uniquely yours.
  • Don’t let anyone else tell you what you have to believe in.
  • Do be creative.
  • Don’t let people or obstacles stand in the way of your dreams.
  • Do find your passion – whether it be easily defined or more abstract. Find something you feel connected to and let yourself be moved by it and inspired.
 

The things that stress me… May 2, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kate @ 7:02 pm

I’d admit it, I am feeling a bit stressed this week. Not really bad or unhappy stressed but more like not enough hours in the day, too much to do, not enough time/money to accomplish it all overwhelmed. So, I am going to attempt to destress myself by verbalizing the things that stress me.

I read an article not all that long ago in Self Magazine about getting rid of the things in life that stress you — the people who make your life unhappy vs. happy, the friends that use you instead of being true to you, the job that makes you want to pull your hair out, the routines that put you to sleep, etc. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy?

Let’s think — I’d love to say to a few friends “You make me crazy – you are inconsistent, insensitive and uncaring. I don’t enjoy spending time with you anymore and I hate having the same conversations over and over again about things that happened 10 years ago. I hate listening to you badmouth others for no reason other than that you haven’t outgrown high school. Now, please go away!” However, I can’t do that. I compromise instead — I spend less time with these people yet still feel compelled to at least try to make an appearance at birthday parties (children’s events included), religious celebrations (ironic since I am pretty agnostic), sporting events, milestone occasions, etc. and fill my calendar with things I don’t want to do thereby taking away from the things I do want to spend time doing. The push and pull between my desire to be a good person/friend and my desire to get rid of some of this unpleasantness stresses me.

I’d love to sing the lyrics from “Something More” by Sugarland to my boss. (On a side note, wouldn’t we all love to be able to figure out exactly what we want to be when we grow up? Is princess still an option?! I sense another blog topic brewing!) I’d love to be able to go to work, do the parts of my job that I enjoy, spend time being creative and engaged with youth and with the community and then go home. I do not like the crazy hours, the endless headbutting with my boss over control, the “we’ve always done it this way so we should continue” to do so for all eternity even though that doesn’t work. I do not like the lack of support or appreciation. My hopes for continued success in my job despite the banging my head against the wall frustration of my daily routine stresses me.

I’d love to tell the insurance company, painters, flooring people and sheet rock hangers that have been working on my house since our water heater exploded on April 1st that I respect their other jobs and time constraints but I have been living with a cement floor, a missing ceiling and three missing walls for more than a month. It isn’t technically their fault that my house is in chaos but their lack of empathy stresses me.

My grandmother always asks people who look sad “who plucked your cake?” — I think this is a funny saying. I am realizing that my blog today makes it sound like my cake is plucked. Perhaps it is just a big undercooked. Nothing a good nap, sunshine and a finished living room wouldn’t cure. However, I decided to write today because I think it is important to vent about the things that make us crazy or else what do we do with that negative energy? Seeing my frustrations listed in front of me reminds me of that old saying “you can’t control what others do but you can control your own actions”.

So, regardless of what else comes up and no matter what else is asked of me in the next 48 hours or so — my weekend will include a hot bath, a few hours with a good book, a walk with my dog, pilates and some quality time with my boyfriend. I will commit to making these things happen because I deserve it! What types of things help you to destress? Whatever it is, make it happen – you deserve it too!