It’s Been a Hot Minute

The last time I wrote my grandson was seven months old. He just had his first birthday a little over a week ago.

So much has happened over the last five months, but it makes no sense to give a rundown. There’s too much to tell. Over the next few weeks my goal is to get caught up. I definitely have enough content to do so. Simply put, I haven’t made writing a priority but it’s time to get back to something I love doing.

In the coming weeks, you can look forward to learning more about the following:

  • Finishing my second year back in the classroom
  • Deciding to move from 7th to 8th grade
  • My ongoing battle with getting back into shape
  • Working on earning my 200 hour yoga certification
  • Being able to spend time with my mother-in-law while helping to take care of her during her last few weeks
  • Applying to be a brand ambassador
  • Apartment living vs. buying a house
  • Realizing how tired I really am after teaching through a pandemic

Until then, the picture above was my view from the swimming pool at our apartment complex. I’m sure people thought I was taking a selfie, but I’m just not that vain. 🙂

Everyone Needs a Grandchild

#1 Lesson: Live in the moment

Image for post

The love of my life is seven months old, and my husband isn’t even jealous.

Our grandson is the love of my life, because he has already taught me an important lesson: live in the moment.

While I have always tried to be present with people I’m with, I feel like I’ve made huge gains because of him.

I don’t worry about doing anything else when he’s over for a visit. I drop everything and he has my complete attention. We play, we cuddle, I read books to him while he chews on others, we laugh, we sing (well, I make a joyful noise) and dance, and I cherish each and every moment.

I don’t think about what I need to get done or what I’m missing. I will drop anything at a moment’s notice to hang out with him.

It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced.

However, it’s something I want to bottle and continue doing on a daily basis in my life. I want to slow down and focus on the here and now. I want to worry less about what I think needs to be done, and enjoy what should be done.

I think about the parable of Mary and Martha. While Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, Martha is rushing around the kitchen irritated with her sister. She’s frustrated with Mary for not helping her. Jesus explains to Martha that Mary is doing the right thing. Totally paraphrasing here, but that’s the gist of it.

I want to be more like Mary each day, and I know I’m going to get there because of my grandson.

Why can’t people follow simple directions?

Photo by Jamie Templeton on Unsplash

As I rounded the corner to head into my local Target this morning, I was met with a corded off area at the entrance directing me to use the entrance at the other end of the building.

No problem. The extra steps would do me good.

At the other entrance was the sign that masks were now required. No problem. My mask was already on and I went in to do my shopping.

As I proceeded to leave, I remembered that I could exit out the original set of exit doors closer to where my car was parked. I just couldn’t use that entrance.

If I didn’t have a mask on, people would have seen my jaw dropped open as I witnessed a half dozen people come in through that exit and three of them weren’t wearing masks. The closed entrance clearly shows where to go to get into the store, and the exit signs clearly say, “Do not enter.”

What is wrong with people?

I shook my head in disgust but kept walking. These are the people that think they don’t have to follow simple directions for the good of everyone. Saying something to them would have done no good, and I wasn’t in the mood for a confrontation. I kept telling myself that I’m doing what I can to keep myself and others safe, which was a good thing because I also kept having sarcastic comments rising in my throat itching to come out.

Seriously, can someone tell me why it’s so hard to follow simple directions?

Whether you agree with masks keeping people safe (I do), it’s a matter of respecting the protocols of the establishment where you have chosen to shop. In fact, while I was shopping an announcement came over the intercom outlining the new rule of mask wearing at Target and if you chose not to wear one then you were more than welcome to shop using the drive up option.

And yet, there are people who believe they are above simple directions. They figure they aren’t going to be stopped, and they weren’t. To some degree I get it because of the whole confrontation issue as an employee. On the other hand, if they are not willing to confront people who choose not to wear a mask, then why have it in place?

My solution to this problem is an easy one.

Just follow simple directions or shop elsewhere. Don’t put employees in an unenviable position. Be a decent human being.

Or is it too hard for you to follow that simple direction?

Kindness Always Wins, Always

I believe that a person should always be kind no matter how hard it might be. I don’t know why but sometimes it’s a challenge to be kind, especially in a world where people tell you that sometimes you just have to be an asshole. 

People take advantage of kindness. People see kindness as a weakness. 

A time or two I have been referred to as too naive, optimistic, or positive. That’s okay as I’m good with wearing all three monikers. 

I try to be kind anyway.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

I feel that kindness always comes back around to you. If you put positive karma out to the universe, it will find its way back to you.

Sometimes you don’t realize it when it happens but figure it out later. You have an aha moment and it becomes clear. Other times you don’t realize it at all, but that’s okay. Simply knowing it will happen is good enough.

However, there are the rare occasions where your kindness is rewarded on the spot and it makes your smile so wide you’re afraid your face might crack.

I recently experienced this rare occasion.

I had driven my husband and me to the local Dairy Queen to pick up a treat through the drive through. Since it was a warm weekend evening and dine-in was not an option, the line was rather long.

As I inched my way along, I came to an opening to the second entrance to the parking lot so I made a gap for any cars to go through to then wrap around to join the end of the line. One such car came through this entrance, but rather than wrap around, he thought I was letting him go ahead of me. 

There wasn’t much I could do. Well sure, I could have been an asshole, but he was still ahead of me. I didn’t dare look in my rearview mirror at the three vehicles behind me. I’m sure they were less than pleased.

I let it go and we proceeded to inch along even slower with the added car in front of us. While there was a part of me that felt bad for being kind, I was even more disappointed in myself for having that feeling. One should never feel bad about being kind no matter what the circumstance. 

We eventually placed our order which came to $9.29. When we got to the window to pay for our order, the cashier informed us the vehicle in front of us had paid for ours, the one I had let in ahead of me. When we looked up, we saw the guy turn the corner and look over at us. We shared a wave and he moved on down the street.

Never in my life have I seen kindness be rewarded instantaneously. 

In a world where there is a lot of chaos, tension, and unrest (justifiably so), I keep reminding myself that kindness always wins.

Showing kindness deescalates situations, it doesn’t discriminate, it shows the best in us, it promotes love, it brings people together, and it solves problems where none should have existed in the first place. 

Again, people will point to my naïveté but that’s okay. They might only need more kindness in their lives and I’m happy to provide it.

When a Simple Errand Becomes Life-Changing

Yesterday I picked up an order for my daughter so that she wouldn’t have to leave the house with her infant son. Easy enough. I drove there, picked it up, and headed back.

On my way I encountered several four way stops. At one in particular there were red reflectors attached to each stop sign. I thought it was unusual since I hadn’t noticed it at any other intersection.

I slowed to a stop, checked to wait my turn, and as I slowly let up on the break it happened.

Photo by Luke van Zyl on Unsplash

A truck blew through his stop sign. 

My first reaction was anger. I blared my horn at him, and he slowed down briefly before moving on down the road. 

When I got to my daughter’s house and told her what happened, she brought up that we had thought about going together to pick up her order and then decided to just have me go on the routine errand.

An errand that was nearly life changing. 

Later, I became reflective and I realized how moments like this greatly influence our priorities if we let them.

Nothing is guaranteed.

I’m as guilty as the next person when I think I have a treasure trove of days ahead of me. If I don’t get something done, I simply think, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” 

Not so fast. The only guarantee is the moment we have right in front of us. Yesterday is in the rearview mirror and tomorrow is not promised. There’s no look ahead mirror.

God gives us signals daily. 

Your belief or not in a higher power is your business, but I believe in God and that He watches over me. He gives me signals daily, but I don’t always notice them or pay attention.

I firmly believe He planted in my brain to notice the difference in this four-way stop. I firmly believe there was a reason I slowly let up on the brake without stepping on the gas. I firmly believe He made sure I stayed right where I was supposed to be.

You can firmly believe in whatever you choose. 

I choose to believe God was watching over me like He does every day and I was in tune with the signal He gave to me on this particular day.

Figure out what is important.

While I feel like I do a good job of keeping my priorities straight, I know I can do better. I bet you feel the same way. Hopefully it hasn’t taken you as long to get to this realization as it took me. Perhaps it comes with age, but each day I think about what footprint I want to leave on the day.

Do I want to tie myself down to a task list? Do I want to be productive or do I want to be effective? At the end of the day, do I, as author Todd Henry says, die empty?

Dying empty doesn’t mean exhausting myself until I simply fall into bed at night. Not for me anyway. 

Dying empty means pouring myself into others. Spending quality time with my family, checking in on friends, serving others to empower their lives, making a difference educating the young people I get to be with in the classroom each day, and living the best life I know how to live.

It means taking care of myself so that I can do for others. If I am depleted, I can’t pour myself  into others. I listen to soothing music, drink a glass of wine or a mug of hot tea, take a bubble bath, meditate, journal, go for a walk in nature, snuggle with my newborn grandson, or sit in silence. 

Whatever you want out of life, make sure you figure out what is important. 

Do that today. Repeat daily as long as you are given the opportunity. I know that’s what I’m doing. 

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