Random Acts of Kindness


I took this photo from my car on my way to work.  My daily commute has me passing through the very good parts of town and the not-so-good parts of town. This is a wall in the “not-so-good part of town”  and is a ray of hope to me and, I hope, to others that see it. I love it!  It is my daily reminder to be nice, do something nice, and to pass along goodness.  I am a sponge when it comes to moods.  If I’m in a room with people that are negative, worried, or sad, I pick their moods up.  There is a heaviness and I feel it.  Conversely, if someone around me is energetic and positive, I pick their energy up as well.  I think most people do.  And, if most people do…than what kind of impact are you making on those around you?   Moods are contagious. So are Random Acts of Kindness.

One of the greatest football games I’ve ever watched!

Quote

“For us to come in here and win, nine- to 10-point underdogs, that’s the beautiful part about sports. That’s the thing that, if I miss anything about my career, it will be to listen to what people say you can’t do and then to go do it.
– Ray Lewis, 52, Baltimore Ravens

I am still on a high from watching yesterday’s football game of the Baltimore Ravens take on and beat the Denver Broncos (with Peyton Manning as their quarterback) and Joe Flacco as the Ravens’. This was a game of sheer tenacity; this was a game of NOT giving up, even when it looked like there was no hope or way to turn it around.  I think I pulled something in my throat from screaming.  Even if you are not a Ravens fan — or even a football fan — I guarantee that you would have still felt inspired, moved, touched, and amazed at the Ravens’ determination in that game.

I live in Baltimore, originally from Virginia, and am — and will always will be — a Washington Redskins fan first.  But, I am a Ravens fan second, and love the spirit and leadership that Ray Lewis has brought to this team and city over the last 17 years.

Checking out Facebook and all its celebratory postings, you can see it — the people of Baltimore are proud and excited! What a great feeling. There is hope, SPIRIT, and happiness.   There is next week’s game — we know — but today, we are breathing in the victory of NOT GIVING UP!

Today, I had already committed myself to writing and working on my book all day, and after last’s night inspiring game, how can I not?!

Healthy Habits — This Time I’m Serious!

Join me on Facebook under Healthy-Habits or click link within Blog.

I’m re-posting my blog from September 29. When I wrote this posting, I knew I wanted to do something along the line of motivating and encouraging others to get healthy.  Just as my blog is designed to inspire WRITING, I wanted to encourage others (AND MYSELF) to make healthy living a habit.  Now, I must say upfront, I am NOT the ideal advertisement for healthy living. I would be a hypocrite if I said I am an expert or even an advocate of exercise, eating right, and all those things that make you look and feel good.  I’m on the opposite spectrum of healthy living, but my desire is there and that’s got to be worth something. So, just as I had a BUDDY NIGHT (see earlier posting), I’ve decided (NO LAUGHING or CRITICIZING) to create a FaceBook page to encourage my Healthy Habits and call it…well…Healthy Habits JOIN IN!

Healthy Habits.

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
― Jim RyunI

I’ve learned something over the past couple of months, and that is the creative process comes much easier for me when I’m feeling good about myself. When I have my off days, I struggle much more with my writing than the days when I feel energetic and invincible.

And so, I decided to use the discipline that I’ve established with this blog in other aspects of my life.  Top priority for me is getting fit. And I’ve hesitated about making this declaration, only because I didn’t think I would stick with it. And guess what? I didn’t.  So now, I am serious.  I’ve decided to take a week by week approach to all my habits, with the hope that I can establish a new good habit each week.

I tried doing a bunch of stuff together in one week, giving up this, tracking that, doing this, but it was too many sacrifices for my weak-when-tempted will power. And so, I’ve decided to devote a week to one thing, just one healthy habit. I will then continue this habit going forward, but I’ll also add new healthy habits. A new week will mean a new healthy habit.

So, this week’s healthy habit is writing down everything that I eat and staying in my allotted calories. I’ve always found this to be helpful because other wise, I think I am eating less than I actually am; tracking this makes me stick to it. So, you’ve heard it. I’ve committed to it, so I guess — darn it — I better do it.

Maybe it really is that simple?!

The other night my son was in a full-blown emotional tantrum and the only thing that seemed to snap him out of it was for me to scream “Stop.”  I’m sure a glass of water or slapping him in the face would have worked too—you see that all the time in TV shows—but I didn’t think those courses of action would win me Mother of the Year.

Click photo to watch video clip.

Screaming “STOP” seemed to, well, stop him in his tracks. After which I told him to take a deep breath, calm down, and then…we talked about the issue causing him such anxiety.  In the midst of this, I couldn’t help but think of a video my mother loves (click photo to view video clip).  It is very funny—you will laugh out loud.  But, you know?  Is the doctor in this video actually so wrong?  After all, he does look remarkably like Bob Newhart and Bob Newhart wouldn’t lie, would he?

I challenge you to listen to your inner voices of doubt.  Any time you find yourself saying “I can’t, I’m scared, I don’t think I can,” just listen to Mr. Newhart, I mean the doctor, in this video and take his advice.

Popping the balls floating in the air.

It’s 10:10 on Monday night and I am finally getting a chance to write.  I WAS able to get a lot of things completed today and tonight, which is making me feel way better. I started my day pretty blue…wasn’t really sure why…realized that part of it was me actually mourning the loss of the Washington Redskins’ Superbowl chances.  (I was hoping for at least one more round of playoff games — now, I must put all my hope in the Ravens.)

Then I realized part of my “blueness” was anxiety over all those little balls in the air.  You know those pesky ones—paying bills, calling the doctors, doing personal favors that you promised to do for people, taking care of errands that need to be completed—they’re small, irritating, and until taken care of, seem much more overwhelming than they actually are.

This morning, these things seemed very overwhelming—so much that it psyched me out of doing them. I was just unmotivated, and my lack of motivation was getting me down too. But then, I decided to “stop worrying and just take action.” And so I did.  I applied my philosophy of breaking things down and taking them one step at a time. And it wasn’t overwhelming. And as I popped these balls in the air, one at a time, I immediately started to feel better.  And so, I am getting a late start, but doing so after feeling much lighter now.  My next step is to start feeling LITERALLY lighter.  : )

Free Form Writing Leads to Epiphany

Okay let’s see what happens. I am free form writing. Just typing away, hoping to be inspired, hoping to fill the page with pithy analogies or observations. I do this every now and then–sit down at the keyboard with out a clue of what to write. I’m always interested to see what I come up with, and if I can come up with something.  Hmm. Let’s see…

Deep breath. Here goes. Looking forward to my book coming full circle. I only wish I had more practical knowledge on the subject matter.  I decided I needed to read more so that I can pick up tones, flavors, and styles by osmosis.  Kind of like a brain storming session when you are in a room with excited individuals with ideas–you feed off that energy.  Ahhhh, I got it. I knew I had an analogy in me. . .

If you play a sport than most likely you enjoy watching others play that sport. I know that when I cheered (no comment), I loved watching other cheerleaders perform their routines or stunts.  When I swam, I did the same–watched swimmers, especially doing butterfly (the most amazing stroke to watch).   Now, I can’t say I was a great swimmer–I swam, let’s just leave it at that. But I watched, and got motivated by watching.

When I design newsletters or collateral for work, I look at other pieces to get ideas.  I don’t copy them per say (although “imitation is the highest form of flattery”), but I  do gain inspiration and get ideas from them.

So, if I’m writing a book—why wouldn’t I want to read other books? Only by reading will I pick up the nuances that make one’s writing so unique.  Only by reading will I learn the little things that makes a writer “a writer.”  So, I guess I need to start reading more—and do so without guilt.

 

I Heart Writing.

My mom sent me a bunch of pictorial affirmations regarding writing, such as the one featured above.  And, you know what?  I do love writing.  It is my thing.  And I’m happy to say — finally — I actually feel as if I have a “thing.”  I always wanted a “thing” — used to hate answering the question “favorite hobbies?” because I didn’t think I had any. I never felt comfortable listing writing as a hobby because, frankly, I wasn’t confident enough in my writing to do so.  But you know what?  I’ve come to learn — finally — hey, they are right, wisdom does come with age — it’s not how you do at something, it’s how you FEEL doing it.  And if you feel enjoyment, inspired, and happy doing something, then—if it is legal (don’t want to be getting into trouble here) — you should GO FOR IT!  Do it for YOU first, and then everything else will follow suit.

Reflecting on the Year.

My New Year’s Eve Baby

The new year is almost upon us.  Another Christmas season and year are coming to a close.  Time seems to fly at rapid speed these days. Just ask my oldest who turned 9 today.  Yes, a New Year’s Eve baby (two weeks early) who was kind enough to give mommy and daddy an unexpected tax deduction.  My son is a little concerned that he will be hitting a “double-digit” birthday next year and stated that he really didn’t want to grow up too fast–he wanted to stay a kid.  Don’t we all feel that way sometimes?

After all, the responsibilities of a kid are so much less stressful than those of adults. Despite what my kids think.  We are our children’s safety nets; while the realization that WE are in charge of our own destiny is what constitutes us as adults.

I am in the process of trying to direct my destiny as an established writer.  (Granted, I’ve taken a hiatus from writing this holiday week).  I think that the biggest challenge for any writer is persistence. That has been my biggest challenge anyway.

My New Year’s Resolution last year was to RELAX more and enjoy life, my family, and not let stress control my mindset. I think I’ve improved in that area, although, I still can’t just sit and read a book without thinking there is something better and more productive that I should be doing.

My New Year’s Resolution for this year is to continue the above BUT persevere, stick to and finish what I’ve started. Stick to diets, exercise regimes, and my novel.  The next month is critical for me.  Let’s see what I can make happen!

Christmas Joy

I haven’t written in a while because I’ve been busy getting ready for the Christmas  holiday!  I love this time of year, especially when I have extra time off work to spend with family, relax, and really enjoy the holidays.  I feel truly blessed and thankful!

I hope everyone has a joyous holiday season!  May your days be filled with JOY, MANY BLESSINGS, and HAPPINESS!

Wax On, Wax Off

My oldest took up the violin this year in school, something that he has now been regretting. “It’s toooo hard.”  “It’s too much work.” “Why did I have to take the violin?” have become his chronic nighttime whines.

Yes, playing a musical instrument was optional for my son, and yes, it was his idea. For him, the thought of playing a violin seemed pretty awesome—at first. That is, until he realized that there were mandatory daily practices involved. Then, practicing became a daily punishment in his eyes. (Kind of how I started viewing my daily writing—a self-inflicted, painful daily writing TASK.)

For the last couple of months, my son has been plucking along–and I mean that literally.  Forced to learn the basic notes, he had to pluck the strings with his fingers, without the use of a bow.  This is not how he envisioned playing the violin. He was anxious to play with the bow, strumming it along the strings, replicating the movements of what he had always seen violinists doing. Plucking the chords was okay with him for a while, but—just like Ralph Macchio in the Karate Kid, who was anxious to learn karate but forced to learn the fundamentals first—my son was losing his patience.

Just last night, there were revved up emotions and frustrated tears as the battle of wills took place between child and parent.  My son was ready to quit–almost demanding it, while his parents told him that “he can’t quit because we are not quitters.” He was told that he had to finish what he had started.  And then, today — THANK GOD — his teacher allowed them to use the bow.  They were able to practice.  Just baby steps, of moving the bow down, moving the bow up, rest, rest.  But you know what?  He was excited! It gave him pleasure; using the bow made him feel proud.  And he should feel that way. He stuck with it (at least for today anyway; I’m not naive in thinking that there won’t be other battles).

I mean just look at me in the process of writing this book—how many battles have I had with myself?  But, we are a wax on, wax off type of family–and we will “rest if we must, but we will not quit.”  After all, isn’t that the process of learning?!