I've had a lot of opportunity to ponder this topic and what it means.
We have the standard good-bye; saying it to those that we plan to see later at some point.
Then there is the final relational goodbye; writing off someone who has harmed us or we are better off not in our lives.
But the two I have really thought about lately are relational and death related.
The first is related to teaching. I have several students that have left my classroom. Not because of a family move, but because of more stressful situations - removal from the home, treatment, etc. I miss these kids and I will never have a chance to let them know how much I thought of them. I wonder about these kids. I worry about them. And this year I have struggled to remove them from certain educational accounts because I'm not ready to say goodbye to them as a student.
The second is death related. And as silly as it seems, this was brought to light with the death of Bitsy, one of our hamsters. I knew that the likelihood of the hamsters (we have two that I adopted) surviving through the summer was unlikely. They were "teenagers" when I adopted them and the lifespan of Syrian hamsters is only 2-3 years. Bitsy wasn't looking herself for about a week or so - her fur was "off" and looking a little thinner and a little grey. I should have started prepping myself and my kids then.
Friday I was cleaning her cage and I found her, barely responsive and cold. I knew there was nothing I could do and the best thing was to make sure she was a comfortable as possible by making sure she was snuggled into some fresh bedding and keeping her away from any students that would be stopping in my room as the day went on. She was gone by the time we got home and my son buried her before heading to his dad's for the week.
Both of these types of "goodbyes" have been weighing on me lately. Was there something more I could have done - to help the student or to save the hamster? Was there something I was supposed to take away from the situation that I might have missed? Why did it have to happen?
There are always so many questions the go with good-byes, even if you feel prepared.
Day one is in the books of the "spend no extra money" challenge. I got up early, did my meditation, made breakfast, and still managed to walk out the door later than planned and without my lunch. =(
Thankfully my husband (it's still weird to call him that) and I are on different schedules and drive separately, so he was able to grab my lunch and bring it to work for me. Back on track.
We are prepping for MCA testing in the educational world and today was a "go over the basics" sort of day. We talked about the rules and reminded the students that they should do their best, even if they don't feel like trying. Their scores matter and the data is helpful.
Still, I administer tests during 4 of the 5 hours I teach each day this week.
Add in the fact that we are set for freak April blizzard this week...yeah, it's going to be a fun run.
But I stayed on track - I made coffee breakfast at home and coffee at work, I brought my lunch, and I cancelled my Hulu subscription. I would love to cancel Netflix and Amazon, but the reality is that I actually use them for school too much to get rid of them.
Not a horrible start.
It is something we all love to hate. We need it. We want it. We crave it. We hate it.
There never seems to be enough. There are always too many bills. There is always something.
But a few of my friends remind me not to hate it...that even though there are ALWAYS bills to pay, I have the money to pay them. And even though there never seems to be any extra, we find the means to splurge on certain things.
But here's the deal. I am challenging myself to 30 days of only spending on the essentials. That means food, pet essentials, and maintenance stuff like gas, phone, etc.
The first two challenges I have to tackle are taxes (no, we have not gotten them done) and a budget (something that has always scared the hell out of me).
So here is to a successful day 1...Monday is a new beginning.
I am currently typing this post on my "new" refurbished Chromebook. So far, I'm impressed.
Our family is definitely to that point where I had to make a decision...either keep working on my phone while the kids use the tablet to get school work done. With tax, I got this basic computer for right around $90 and I have no complaints so far. The keyboard works great, the screen is perfect condition, and the body only shows a few signs of wear. It's charging great and the next test will be to see how the battery holds up. But let's be honest - even if the battery doesn't hold up like a brand new one, it is still a great option for the kids (and me) to use when doing work, especially since we are using more and more Google drive to create and store documents.
My only complaint - there is limited storage when downloading images. However, this will be as simple solve when I get up and grab a thumb drive that will allow me to transfer files between my work computer and this one when Google drive won't cut it.
I. Love. Scent.
When I was pregnant with my kids, the one thing that changed drastically was my sense of scent. It got freakishly sensitive...so sensitive that my coworkers joked that they didn't need to bring in the drug dogs any more, they could just send me out to do a search.
So I have always gravitated to scented items - from candles to laundry soap. At one point I even became a Scentsy consultant so I could get a discount on all things smelly that I loved!
Then about two years ago my son started breaking out in hives and rashes. We didn't know what was going on, but fast forward to the allergists appointment where it was confirmed that he was allergic to artificial scents, specifically ones that came into contact with his skin. This meant no more fun Scentsy laundry for me. (But we do get to keep using the wax bars.)
But it did mean that we went on an adventure to find products that were better for our family and safe for him to use. To be honest, I was at a loss. For so long I had fallen victim to the idea that oils were expensive and making my own products at home were time consuming and difficult.
I was beyond wrong. While some of the ingredients used for natural products can seem a bit spendier, the reality is is that they go farther, are generally more efficient, and can be more easily tailored to meet specific needs. Also, items like spray bottles and lotion containers can be reused over and over again, reducing the amount of waste that we are adding to the environment.
For other products that I don't make, we go with companies like Shaklee that focus on quality ingredients that I can trust. (Plus, they scent their laundry soap with natural oils so no breakouts there!)
So what have we made so far?
I've made sugar scrubs and I definitely prefer them to the ones I've purchased in the past. We also made a room spray that took a whole 5 minutes to put together and makes not only my home, but my classroom smell amazing. There is a bottle of fabric softener sitting on my counter that needs to be tried yet. Fingers crossed on that one.
I have had some flops as well. I made a toilet fizz tablet that did NOTHING to help clean my toilet. But I learned that castile soap does make a difference and we will be trying an alternative recipe next time. And I am still experimenting with shower melts and bath bombs.
What's up next? Lotion. I found a recipe from a really great site that looks pretty easy to manage. And when I told my son about being able to not only help me, but also pick the oils that he wants to use in the lotion, he was beyond excited.
My son has gotten really good at asking "have you washed that?" or "does that have scent?" and I have to admire the fact that he has so easily adjusted to looking out for his health. It just comes naturally at this point. He even makes sure to pack his own blankets and pillows on sleepovers.
Here are a few product links to get you started on your oily journey:
And a few recipes:
Yesterday I struggled to come up with a post. It seems like all of my idea strike when I am nowhere near a computer or paper. Or even my phone. Then when I sit down and attempt to flesh out an idea, creativity basically says "Screw you. You didn't want to work with me before, now you can bugger off."
So today I have a full day of running around a college campus at a writer's conference for students grades K-8, making sure the two kids assigned to me are where they are supposed to be. And what a more perfect opportunity to let the words spill onto the page than today?
In my last entry I mentioned that I knew I was standing in the way of my own success. I know it. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand this. I have friends and family and friends that are basically family supporting me. From ideas to purchases to quiet time to challenge groups, I have the resources I need in them. But what I don't have is the confidence in myself.
The last few days - okay more like last night and today - I have taken the time to listen to an audiobook that has been queued up for what seems like forever. Honestly, I have been listening to this book so long that I have no idea when I actually started it. The book is Big Magic and the author focuses on magic and creativity.
The whole concept of creativity being personified was a little crazy for me at first. But the more I listened, the more it made sense. Ideas are not going to stick around forever. They show up and if ignored, they find someone who will give them the time of day. Which is why Creativity basically says "forget you" when I set aside a writing idea until I have the time to focus on it. Let's face it - as a mom, teacher, business owner, and pet parent, there is no real "right time". Same with all of those grand crafting ideas that I have been hording and sitting on forever.
Do you know how many Pinterest ideas I have pinned and have never looked at a second time? It's almost embarrassing.
Then today the keynote speaker, Douglas Wood (yes, the author), talked about reaching for our dreams. He told the story about how the rabbit realized his dream to go to the moon and how the crane got long legs and a red crown. Then Wood talked about his own struggle to realize his simple dream of becoming a good reader. He struggled to learn to read, but with the help of his teacher, Ms. Little, he became a reader. Not the greatest or fastest reader, but a good reader who comprehends what he reads.
So what does Big Magic and Douglas Wood have in common? They both shared the message that you don't have to be perfect. Perfection is a bitch that leads you astray. Basically you need to say Bye Felicia to Perfection, give Creativity shotgun in the car, and ride with what you have. A violently executed plan today is better than a perfect plan executed never. Or something like that.
I think that is what my problem is. There aren't enough responses to posts or no one shows to my online parties or there is a mistake on a perfectly white canvas or comments never show up on my blogs or whatever. I MIGHT FAIL. There are a million reasons why I shouldn't start something.
But the reality is, there is one really good reason to start. Starting gives me freedom. Freedom to learn, freedom to fail, freedom to succeed, freedom to show my kids what the process looks like, freedom to be creative, freedom to be me.
Over the course of my life I have had some major realizations.
I signed up for a challenge. A week ago. And I am already a week behind. Oops.
The challenge is to blog every day, if possible, but more importantly the idea is to be more consistent with posts and set some attainable goals. I honestly have no idea what those goals should be. I know that I have a lot of ideas lately and I need a creative escape, but as to what that means in terms of goals? Good question.
As the squirrel in my head is jumping trees and tossing nuts, I just jumped to my email and found this:
"As you continue to orchestrate your life story, read on below for the most important thing you can learn from one of the greatest storytellers of all time!
"How Shakespeare Wrote The Greatest Stories? Negative Capability"Encyclopaedia Britannica defines negative capability as:
"... a writer’s ability, “which Shakespeare possessed so enormously,” to accept uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason."
This phrase was first used by John Keats in a letter to his brothers in 1817.
Negative capability is the capacity to embrace mystery. To be still and observe or reflect before we rush into fixing situations that we barely understand with our previously accumulated knowledge, which might be inadequate given the circumstances.
In essence, it is the courage to admit that we do not always know how things will pan out; and the self discipline to let new possibilities unfold without meddling. This is the force that drives creativity and discovery, for one can not advance their knowledge by always falling back on predetermined conclusions."
There is more in the email, but you get the picture. And for me, it really fits. I think this might give some insight as to why I don't trust the process and write more or even start more things...I am uncertain of the outcome. While I don't mind making mistakes along the way, if I can't assume that there will be at least some element of success, I shut down. That's it. I won't deal with it, I won't acknowledge it, it doesn't exist.
So maybe my challenge/goal this year will be to just write. To take more chances when it comes to goals and challenges. While accept failure, I need to accept the process of getting there. I realize that I am standing in the way of my own success. No blame to pass around there. But I need to understand why I am so afraid to succeed.
This is a ramble. But this stream of consciousness is what is currently hopping through my head.
My family has grown exponentially this year.
A fish, two hamsters (one who is pregnant and expecting before Christmas), and two guinea pigs who will be joining the herd in January.
I am so excited to have this miniature zoo. Yes. I am a bit nutty, but for those that know me this should come as no surprise. =)\
My Instagram account featuring tons of pictures of my dog, Zero has also gotten some attention from KONA leashes and now I am a brand ambassador for them. I thought it would be a good idea to actually give one of their leashes a try before doing a done of promoting so I ordered one today. So far I am really impressed with their platform and site - they believe in giving back to animals and promoting a strong dog community.
Yes...I have officially turned into one of those crazy dog moms. I never thought this would happen. I was the one who was super anti-house dog for the longest time. Growing up on the farm, the animals were meant to stay outside and were only brought in if necessary...we had lots of lambs in the house around January, but as soon as they were strong enough they went back out to the barn.
But here I am at almost 40 creating my own little herd and loving every minute of it. My husband, bless his heart, hates all the additional critters. He loves me, so he ignores the insane. =)
I tend to do a lot of reading. Being an English teacher it is one of the hazards of my job. =) I will get sucked into journals and blogs and books and whatever is in front of me.
But I struggle to write. There is so often that I read an article and I think "I can do that" but the reality is that I never do. I never seem to have the confidence to share what I think with those around me. I try to hard and then get deflated when no one responds.
This is an issue because the number one rule to writing (or creating for that matter) is to do it for yourself. If you enjoy what you are creating then it ultimately doesn't matter what others think. At least that's what I tell myself. I think the biggest challenge that I face is that ultimately I want to be a people pleaser and a helper. I want to make people happy and I really want to make a difference in their world. But that really shouldn't be my end.
So my New Year's Resolution (even though I really hate those) is to start creating for myself. For opening myself up to being creative for me. Hopefully, if I am able to stick with it and remain focused, I will gain a certain satisfaction in what I put out there and hone my skills a bit more.
A little about me
I blog for fun, to get my thoughts in order. I am a mom to two frustrating and wonderful kids and one diva dog. My full-time gig is teacher and I do some side hustle with a few DS businesses. I love working with people...but I also value my alone time since in reality I'm a huge introvert.