My Leap List

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm not Super Mom

     I  always wanted superhero parents.  They'd have x-ray eyes  to see through my lies and know what I truly needed from them.  Of course, they would fly to the rescue the instant I needed help, but not a second before.  It wouldn't be a problem when I wanted them near, but didn't want my friends to know...they'd just stay invisible for a while. Their superhuman strength would take on all of my troubles and they would offer to turn back time when I needed a second chance. 
     The parents I had were all too human.  They did the best they could being raised by their human parents.  I come from a long line of all too human parents.  Today my daughter learned a secret that I was hoping to hide a little longer - I am human and being human today wasn't enough.  Today she needed a mom who could read her mind and give her what she needed, and not believe what she said.  I let her down today and she let me know it.  I have never seen her so mad at me before.  I wish I could turn back time to the days when she thought I was Super Mom.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Change Your Thinking

“If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson  
     When I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, the rheumatologist came in and said, "I have good news and bad news.  The good news is it won't kill you and the bad news is it will never go away and there is nothing I can do for you."  I was on a leave of absence from work, barely able to move, and feeling sorry for myself.  One night I realized that he was right.  There was nothing I could do to make it go away and all this energy feeling sorry for myself was making my body feel worse.  I started to think about the positive side - it wouldn't kill me.  Well, that's not such a bad diagnosis when you think about it like that.  There are plenty of worse things I could have.  Once I started thinking about that little glimmer of positive energy, I began to feel a little better.   
     There are so many things in life I can't change or control.  I can't change mental illness or sexual orientation.  I can't change hallucinations or money issues.  I can't change the people around me or the way the world is.  Focusing on the "can'ts" doesn't change them, it only makes me feel miserable. Accepting the "can'ts" doesn't mean I like it or it's okay, it just lets me focus on all the "cans" in my life.  It's all good because life works out the way it's supposed to be.  None of us gets out alive, so we may as well enjoy the journey.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Original Thought

“The arts and inventions of each period are only its costume, and do not invigorate men.”
Today's Prompt is:  Think of the last time that you thought, said, or did something that was original. What inspired or invigorated this?   (Author: Michael Brajkovich)

My answer to today's prompt is another Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, "All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Legacy Today

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today's prompt is:  One definition of legacy is what someone feels, thinks and says when they hear your name. What are you doing today to build the legacy you want?  (Author: Tim Belber)
     Today I took a risk and did something scary.  It's probably not scary for you because they are my fears - the fear of not being good enough and the fear of not being perfect.  They keep me from doing something I love - writing.  My fears stifle my words until I give in to the "nots" and remain silent.  
    I have met some wonderful blogger friends through this blogging challenge.  Rich decided to start a new challenge for himself and anyone who wanted to join in.  We would each write three paragraphs of a cooperative story and then pass it to another person to add three more paragraphs.  I was excited until it came to me, and then I froze.  I was sure I would have to back out, but somehow after all this soul searching and reflecting in my blogs, I forced myself to breathe and keep writing.  I managed to write three paragraphs and it felt amazing.  I didn't let the negative voice stop me this time.  Today my legacy is someone who is brave.  Brave means being scared but being able to do something anyway and today that is me!  
     Today I wanted to go to a celebration with my friends, but I was supposed to work.  I REALLY wanted to go celebrate, but I thought of the lesson that would send to my kids.  I decided to be a mature adult and do my work, rather than blow it off to go play.  Today my legacy is someone who values commitments to others and does the right thing, even when it is not the fun thing.  

Life Lessons

“I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today's post is:  What message is yearning inside you?  What is something you know deep in your soul?  Don’t look for someone else to describe it.  You do it.  Write it down.  Write it as a poem, a sentence or even just a string of words.  Just make sure you get it to paper.     (Author: Michael McFadden)

My kids and I point out "life lessons" to one another.  These are a few of the life lessons I have learned along the way.
     The little things we do for one another are often the big things that change someone else's life, and we never know which is which until later.
     The time we spend in service to another is never wasted time.
     If you want to know what people are really like, watch them with animals, children, and elderly people when they don't know you are watching.  
     If you want to know if it's true love, let him see you when you are sick with the flu.  If he holds back your hair and feeds you soup while you watch Jane Austin movies, it's love.
     Surround yourself with people that make you laugh.  Life is too short to be around miserable people day after day.  
     Never judge someone else.  You will nearly always turn out to be wrong, and you will regret being the person you just proved yourself to be. 
     You are the only one that can change your life.  Others can influence you, but you are the one who must do the work.  
     Don't let your past define your reality.  No matter what has happened to you before, or the situation you are in now, it is never too late to start a new day and change your reality. 
     Everyone needs love, especially when they don't deserve it.
     Being brave is being scared, but doing the right thing anyway.
     The best cure for depression, guilt, or sadness, is doing something for someone else.
     Everyone makes mistakes, so learn from it, let go and move on.  Just because you make a mistake doesn't mean you are a mistake.
     Don't compare yourself to others.  You will always find someone better off and worse off than you.  Once you hear their stories, you will rejoice in taking your own life back again.
     Life always works out the way it is supposed to be, even though you can't always see the obstacles as blessings until later.
      You can change the world.
     Love is the answer to everything.

Monday, July 11, 2011


        I have been feeling sorry for myself the last few days.  You know, the usual.  Working too hard, not enough money, missing fun activities, fighting with people...geez - I even feel sorry for myself passionately!
     Tonight I was reminded of how much I have in my life, so I wanted to end the night sending some positive energy into the universe and share a few of the things I appreciated today.
     The sun - it loves me!  No matter how much suntan lotion I use, I always get sunburned.  It also loves my garden and lets beautiful flowers grow all summer.
     Music - It lets me rage when I can't scream on the outside.  It soothes me when I am sad or lonely.  Music helps me find the "just right" words.  Even when the music is gone, it lives on in my head.  It also blocks out someone's snoring while I am writing my blog.  
     Family - I am so lucky to have a family that loves me and one another.  We have our quirks, but there is no lack of love.
     Home - My home is an amazing place - flowers blooming in the kitchen, pets so happy they amaze the vet with how long they live, and people that don't want to leave.  May my home always be a place people look forward to coming to.
     Health - although some days I can't walk or get out of bed, today I had the strength and energy I needed to work in my garden and enjoy the day.
     My four-year-old nephew - his boundless energy exhausts all of us, but without him there would be less love, less joy, less life.
     Thank you, universe, for the amazing beauty and joy today!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Just Keep Swimming...Just Keep Swimming...

Yesterday's post was "What kind of fish are you?"
     That's easy!  I am a Dory Fish.  She is eccentric, but cute.  She is forgetful, but she means well.  She is kind- hearted, but fierce when she needs to be.  
     "When life gets you down, do you wanna know what you've got to do?  Just keep swimming...just keep swimming..."  This is my personal mantra with things get a little frantic and I know I just need to keep moving on for a little bit longer.
     Dory talks to whales in every dialect, even Humpback.  How cool is that?  I wish I could do that!  I would be an amazing marine biologist if I could talk whale.  
     "Please don't go one's ever stuck with me so long before...I look at you and I...and I'm home."  I have a hard time trusting people and letting them through my defenses, but when I do, I love with all my heart.  I stop being afraid and I'm safe...I'm home.
     My water is always half-full no matter how low it gets.  I don't know that "nothing bad will happen," but I am willing to take a risk with you.
     "That's a funny thing to promise.  You can't never let anything happen to him.  Then nothing would ever happen to him.  Not much fun for little Harpo."  I used to be like Nemo and never wanted my kids to do anything or go anywhere so they would always be safe.  They were safe, but that wasn't the life I wanted for them.  I learned to let them go and trust they would be okay, but kept a "squishy" ready if they got hurt.  I am proud of their self confidence and the way they take positive risks, even when they are scared.  I wish I could be so brave.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Grandma Hippo

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.” 
     I have a negative voice that loves to come out at night and replay all of the imperfect things I did or said during the day.  Most people can reflect, learn from the experience and let it go.  I belittle myself until I am ashamed.  One of the remnants of my past that I'm still unlearning.
     I love Pig in Pearls Before Swine because he reminds me of myself.  I read this comic last year during a difficult time, and I cut it out to put on my fridge.  It's yellowed with age now, but when I see it every day I smile.  
     In the strip from the day before, Pig said the hippo reminded him of his grandma, so I started calling her "Grandma Hippo."  I told my daughter, "I wish I had a Grandma Hippo to hug me when life gets hard."  It became a code word in our secret language for needing extra love and hugs.
     My daughter surprised me with a Grandma Hippo for my birthday.  She sits by my bed.  Usually I don't notice she is there, but when life gets too hard and the voice in my head gets too loud, I pull her down and hold her.  
     In those moments I am reassured that the day is done and I have done everything I can.  I smile, the voice fades, and I sleep as contentedly as Pig sleeps in Grandma Hippo's arms.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Life is my Passion

Today's post is: What is your Number 1 Passion in Life?
     Life is my passion!  It doesn't matter what I do, I bring all my passion to it. 
     When I am at work, I am passionate about every one of my students and spend hours looking for ways to become a better teacher.  
     In the summer my passion is gardening.  I am rewarded with beautiful flowers all summer and delicious food in the fall harvest.  
     I am passionate about learning.  Going to school is one of my favorite things to do.  I have spent most of my life in school.  My goal is to finish my doctorate degree.   
     Writing is another passion.  I have five blogs, so obviously I love writing.  I spend hours writing and rewriting everything I write because I want my words to reflect exactly what I want to say.  Writing helps me process my thoughts and emotions.  Often I do not know what I think until I write about it.  Once I get everything out on paper I can clarify my thoughts and share them with others.  
     I love reading.  I used to read all of the time, but lately I've gotten distracted by other aspects of my life.  When I heard of a reading challenge on Facebook, I decided it was just what I needed to start reading again. The Centurians of 2011 Challenge is to read 111 books in 2011.  I blog a review of each book so I have 
a very literal view of my progress.  It also keeps me motivated to read because I am sharing it publicly with others.  It's July 5 and I should be halfway to my goal, but I am only reading book 27 now.  But that's okay because I love the journey and the books and the blogging.  

Monday, July 4, 2011

Zen in my Garden

“The world belongs to the energetic.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is my hibiscus.  Each bloom only lasts for a day.  This bloom opened today.  
     My energy comes from nature.  My favorite places are found in nature - the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Ocean, and my garden.  I've learned many life lessons in the garden.
     Everything in my life is so time-driven; I even have bells go off hourly to send me to the next class.  Nature works on its own time frame and it forces me to be patient. When I'm there, I get lost in time. I have to let go and just "be" in the moment.  Now I know why other people meditate.
     Even in my darkest moments, I find peace tending to my garden and listening to the birds sing.  I have a purpose and a place in this universe, though I often lose sight of my path.  In nature I feel closest to God, and it restores my faith in humanity.
     I am a caretaker by nature, but sometimes I smother the people I love.  I do better with plants because they enjoy the extra attention - except for cacti (I always kill them with too much water).  I love seeing this beautiful manifestation of my care and love.
    I even love pulling the weeds.  I take my aggression out on the weeds.  It feels good to do something physical to get out my emotional stress, and I'm rewarded with happy plants.  I'm still working on transferring this lesson to my life.  I tend to avoid conflicts and problems until they overgrow everything.  If I learn to weed out problems as they come up, it will be easier to do and I will be happier for doing it.
     If you want to get to know the truest parts of a person, spend a day with him or her in the garden.    

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Whale Whisperer

Today's prompt is "If a year from now you weren't in the profession you are currently in, what would you be in your wildest dreams?
     I would be a marine biologist!  I love whales and dolphins and all the other marine animals.  I always feel at peace when I am near the ocean.  This would be my dream job!  
     In college I took a biology class, but I skipped the lab days when we had to dissect animals.  I couldn't bear to cut open an animal, even if it was dead.  The biology teacher asked me to meet with him after class one day and I was sure that I was in trouble for skipping the lab.  When we met, he asked me to consider becoming a biologist because I had a knack for the science.  I told him that I would love to be a marine biologist, but I was unable to dissect the animals.  He agreed that I would be unable to move on in the field if I was unable to do dissections.  That was the end of that dream.  
     I wonder if it would be different now that they have computer simulations of the dissections.  When my daughter couldn't dissect the frog, her teacher allowed her to do a simulation online.  I learned a lot about frog dissection and the parts of the frog's body by doing it with her.  I loved the fact no frogs were injured in my quest for knowledge.  I wonder how today's technology would have changed yesterday's dream?

My Day in History

Today's post is : What happened in history on the day you were born?

     There are tons of things that happened in history on my birthday, especially if you are a sports fan.  But, since this is MY blog, I am going to tell you about the event I am proud to share a day with.  
     On February 16, 2011, Japan left the arctic two months early and decided to stop "scientific whaling."  I LOVE whales.  They are my favorite animal and if I wasn't teaching, I would be a marine biologist.  I'd be out with Green Peace throwing myself between whales and harpoons.  Whales and birthdays!  It doesn't get better than that!  
      Oh, and by the way, on February 16, 1600, Pope Gregory the Great decreed "God Bless You" is the correct response to a sneeze.  Quite a day, isn't it?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Thick or Thin Skin?

     I have very thin skin.  I am empathetic because I feel the energies and emotions from other people.  I pick up on subtle cues that others miss and that helps me be perceptive.  However, I am  very emotional and easily hurt by the smallest criticism, real or imagined.
     This week I got some critical feedback, and I realized that I needed to get some thicker skin.  I like myself (most of the time), and I don't want to change the way I see the world, but I want to face criticism without falling apart.  Here are some of the things I plan to try over the next few weeks:

  • Don't take things personally - maybe the person is just having a bad day
  • Don't let other people get to me - their truths may not be my truths
  • Remember that perseverance often makes the difference between success and failure, not getting it right the first time
  • Talk kindly to myself - I am often my worst enemy.  It doesn't take much to get the negative voice in my head chiming in with all the other things I do wrong.
  • Be patient with myself.  I am trying something new and the only way to grow is take risks, even if I end up failing the first time.  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Jellyfish Lake

     Today's prompt is "Where would you love to go swimming?" 

     I must go swimming in Jellyfish Lake before I die.  This lake is incredible.  12,000 years ago one of the islands in Palau sealed itself off from the ocean and became a marine lake.  The jellyfish that were locked inside the marine lake had to adapt.  There were no predators in the lake, so the jellyfish didn't need to protect themselves with their stingers.  Now you can go swimming with these harmless beauties as they follow the sun across the lake.