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“Who has confidence in himself will gain the confidence of others.” -Leib Lazarow

I’ve always been a pretty confident person.  I blame (THANK!) my parents, who always told me I was good enough, smart enough, pretty enough.  As I grew up, I believed them.  I do have confidence in my smarts, in my humor, but…have never been quite sure they were right about the last one.  I guessed my face was cute enough, but the rest of me, I wasn’t so sure.  So I forged ahead being the honor student or the funny friend.

Lately, I’ve been revisiting this.  While it boils down to SELF-confidence, the vote of confidence that others can give is overwhelming.  A few kind words from friends can sustain me for days…weeks.  Compliments on eyeshadow or an outfit, no matter how small, mean so much.  And I will make a conscious effort to remember how these words make me feel, and pay them forward.  At the end of the day, I’m happy.  People can see it, in my face, in my gait.  In turn, being genuinely happy, I feel freer.  Prettier, even.  I’m starting to carry myself as such.  It’s a work in progress.  And the stuff I don’t yet love, I’m making an effort to fix. 

Who’d have thought that others believing in me would allow me to believe in myself even more?

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So, I posted a tweet today.  And read some others.  It made me think about what I could have told you guys the past 7 (or 8) days.  So, in no particular order, here are the relatively mundane, very real things I did in silence:

  • I cooked a meal.  More than once.  And neither doctors nor firefighters were consulted.
  • I fought with and made up with loved ones.  Both healthy, but the latter feels so much better.
  • I listened to the State of the Union, without tweeting to mock those in the gallery or virtually high-five the President.
  • I read two (2!) real books.  With words, and, oddly enough, since they were for adults, a few pictures…  My book club should be proud that I actually read the book I chose for them to read.
  • I walked my dog.  This doesn’t happen nearly enough for either of our health.
  • I celebrated a milestone.
  • I learned that my iPhone makes calls. And that people sound so clear on the other end.
  • I was productive and focused at work, and relaxed and content at home.

It was a good week. One in which I missed my online community, but relished my real one.

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The Present

No, not a gift. No shiny strings and bountiful bows. The present. The here and now.

I realize I’m not always present in the present. I’ll wait for that to sink in (for me too)… I was asked this week how long I’d survive without my phone. I laughed, but it made me think. And I didn’t expect or like my answer. When dining, I often find my phone on the table. While watching a movie (at home, of course), I mindlessly refresh Twitter and Pinterest. I’m Pavlovian to my tri-tone text alert. And I don’t think I like it.

So, I’m unplugging. I’m planning a week-long Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook break. What will I miss? An ultrasound or engagement ring photo? A recipe for one more variation on spinach dip? I’ll survive. But what I don’t want to miss anymore is being present. And that’s maybe the best gift I can give myself.

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“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

I’ve often been told that in any two-sided relationship, platonic or romantic, there is a flower and a gardener.  The flower is the pretty face; the one who needs to be coddled, cultivated, grown.  The gardener is the keeper, the sower, the nurturer.  Neither of these has a negative connotation, and I think that the roles can interchange as time passes.

I feel that I’m typically the flower.  For as independent as I strive to be, I really like being cared for.  I try not to take advantage of the very sweet gardeners I have, however, when roles reverse, I wonder if I often do just that.

So, today, as I’m playing the role of gardener (one I’ve grown to enjoy the last few days, in fact), I thank those who have tended my fields.  The truth of the matter is, the flower cannot reach its full potential for loveliness without a gardener, and without a resulting flower, the gardener’s work goes unnoticed.  We’re all important in this chaotic, symbiotic, beautiful process.

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As I get older, the time passes far more quickly.  I used to think Christmas would never come, and now I know it’ll be back around before I know it.  The calendar used to creep toward summers, yet it’ll be 110 degrees again before any of us are ready for it.  Yes, time flies.  Whether you’re having fun or not, but, as I’ve learned, especially if you are.

This has been a really fun year.  Though I didn’t make it to any Alabama football games, I accomplished a lot otherwise.  Professionally and personally.  I’m almost ready to say it was the best yet.  Almost.  There’s always room for growth, and as an eternal optimist, I fully believe that 2012 will be the best year ever.  And then 2013…2014…

Last year, I made resolutions.  And quite honestly, with one MAJOR exception, I didn’t do that well in following them.  Funny how we set out to do so much, and life gets in the way.  But when it gets in the way, you have to detour.  You have to be willing to forge the new path and take what it gives you.  Because if I looked back only at that rather trite list of things I wanted to do more of and feel more of in 2011, I wasn’t so successful.  Yet in the smile that stares back at me in the mirror most mornings, I see that in 2011 I was victorious.

The biggest lesson is that life is short.  Why should I pigeonhole myself with a list of things I may or may not do, when in the meantime, there’s life to be LIVED and LOVED?  This post made my month…maybe my year.  This is how I want to be, throwing most of it to the wind and enjoying what I have and where I am.  Being. Here. Now. (Still a theme…)

So, no resolutions for 2012.  Other than being and loving.  But, those are becoming akin to breathing in my world…for which I am most thankful.  Blessings and freedom and peace and love to you and yours in 2012 and far beyond.

 

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Family Rule

I am a rule follower.  Which is funny, because, we never had house rules growing up.  Granted, I was an only child and the ultimate pleaser (still am).  Rules weren’t really written down, dictated, or enforced.  I knew what was right and wrong, and I did the former far more than the latter.  Especially since disappointing anyone, especially my parents, was and is one of my greatest fears.  I digress…and I’ll get off of the couch now, Doc.

The one family rule we’ve always had and still live by is “Don’t mess with happy.”  It sounds so simple.  Yet so hard to do.  I’m guilty of pushing the envelope.  If joining this group made me happy, I should probably be in three more.  If I love being with someone, clearly we should live together immediately.  Being happy is elusive.  And not “messing with” it is usually harder than I anticipate.

I posted about another mantra I subscribe to, Be.Here.Now. over a year ago.  And I’m getting better at all of it.  Enjoying the moment, taking it all in, appreciating, and not messing with happy.  But there’s always room for improvement.

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Today is my Granny’s birthday.  Well, was.  She left us over six years ago.  But her lessons are always with me…

She taught me to cook…well, she tried.  Her pancakes are the best I’ve ever eaten (it didn’t hurt that they came in whatever shape I requested), and she saved bananas from an untimely disposal to make delicious bread.

She taught me to play.  We spent hours with my 40+ plus Barbie dolls; brushing hair, changing clothes, inventing scenarios.  We also successfully ran a plastic ice cream parlor, from which my PaPa always ordered pistachio (even though we didn’t have that flavor). 

She taught me to love.  She was married to PaPa for over 50 years.  They often danced in the living room and always looked at each other with pure devotion.  She cared for my Dad, and subsequently me, with a gentle hand and an open heart.

She taught me practical lessons.  Like how to count to 10 in Cherokee.  And, I still make grocery lists on envelopes, so that I can put the coupons I plan to use inside, just as she and I did on our weekly trips to Bi-Lo. 

She taught me to care.  There wasn’t a child anywhere that my Granny didn’t dote on (clearly I fell into that camp until the day she died). 

She taught me to learn.  My Granny was one of the smartest women I’ve ever known.  And while she wasn’t able to attend college, she made sure that I never missed an opportunity to further my own education.

She taught me to laugh.  Her sharp mind led to a quick wit.  I remember many family conversations peppered with laughter lasting until the wee hours of the morning.

I wish she were here.  I know tonight we’d have eaten cake (she’d have let me pick what kind, even though it was her birthday) and played dominoes for hours.  I’ll always miss her.  But sharing all that she taught me and living in a manner that would make her proud allow her to live on.

 

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