Monthly Archives: January 2012

January Breakthrough


2012 Breakthrough Year

       Progress for January

Updates on My Promise to Breakthrough

At New Years I promised to try MY BEST to breakthrough to new levels on three issues.  These three are issues which have had me stymied for years.  In the past I have had small gains but continual backsliding in these three categories that seem to elude long-term success for me.  Maybe you have issues that have constantly challenged you for a period of years.

Confronting all three at once determined to breakthrough to much greater success has been sometimes painful and often frustrating.  Once or twice I have felt proud and in control.  Then the challenge gets difficult once again.

 Here are my three areas which have presented me decades of challenges, my renewed intentions, and my January progress.

Consistent Exercise

  • I’m proud to report that I have joined a gym and have tried to work out six times each week.  I’ve come close to making the goal.  I believe I have only missed about 4 times due to scheduling conflicts that I couldn’t resolve.

 What have I discovered?  It it impossible to overstate how much better I feel.  Everyday as soon as I work out, I feel better all day long.  My flexibility is better.  My sleep patterns have improved.  I even see an improvement in the achilles tendonitis that has plagued me this year.  A side bonus is that I enjoy the socialization at the work out facility.  We talk about books, movies and life challenges.  We laugh and share info as we work out.

Gaining Computer Skills

  • I’ve been attending computer coaching webinars.  I have probably attended six to eight this month.  Today was the first time I didn’t want to cry at the end of a webinar.  Not only do I not understand the explanations, I don’t even understand the questions other participants ask.  But I continue to force myself to attend.
  • I’m also watching crash course online videos on creating a blog.  I like this format better, because I can pause the videos at will and I can replay them again and again.  The repetition helps me.

What have I learned?  I hate to say that I’m never going to be quick to absorb computer skills, but right now it feels like the truth.  However, I think I have made some amazing progress.  I’m blogging though posting pictures still frustrates me.  I signed up for a facebook page and an author’s page on facebook.  Those pages don’t look great.  I’ve been using these sites sparingly.  I can’t seem to post the jpeg cover of my book on my author’s page.   I think I have to admit that I’m going to have to work harder than most to acquire the computer skills I need.   But technology is the way of the world and I’ll continue to work at this.  Remember my goal is to breakthrough my tendency to avoid technology instruction because I find it so challenging.

 Significant Weight Loss

  • In the past my resolutions or other weight loss attempts go along well for a while, but I never even come close to the number of pounds I want and need to lose for health and improved self esteem.
  • I am exercising regularly.
  • I have not joined a specific weight loss program.  I have done this so many times in the past with a variety of results, but never a permanent solution to the issue.
  • I have simply cut way back on my portions.  I actually started this on Dec. 7th, not Jan. 1.  I had great weight loss in the first weeks.  The weight loss is naturally slowing down.  This is when the resolve to breakthrough gets more challenging.

What have I learned?  My past experiences told me that this would be my greatest breakthrough challenge.  I want it to be easier.  It isn’t.  I’m trying to focus on overall progress.  In the past when I ate something I shouldn’t, I wanted to throw in the towel and give up.  One of my problems in this area is that I’m such an ‘all or nothing’ gal.  I can be on a strict diet or bingeing much more easily than I can eat reasonably over an extended period of time.  I have felt my resolve faltering in the past week.  I want to recommit to this long-term breakthrough goal for the month of February.  I want to be as strong in my resolve as I was a few weeks ago.

More updates on my commitments to breakthrough at the end of February.  How are you doing?  Have you had a breakthrough on any long-term challenges?  Send me a comment.

Great Recipe


A Child’s Perspective

It was the end of a long, busy day in my third grade classroom.  Children were busily getting ready to go home.

      “Be sure to put your chairs on top of your desks and pick up any debris that you see,”  I reminded.

Bobby looked puzzled.  “What’s debris?” he said.

“Debris is leftover stuff,” was my impromptu reply.  I glanced at him to see if he heard me.

“Oh yeah,” he said with understanding spreading across his face.  “My mom fixes debris for

supper sometimes.”

(Yes, this actually happened in my classroom.  Reprinted from my book Teachers Touch Eternity).

Superheros I Know


Facebook Mysteries

Facebook!  “If you want to be a writer,” everybody says, “you have to have a Facebook page.”

Therefore…well tardy of the forward thinking online crowd…I am filling out my background information for a Facebook page.  It’s exhausting.  I’m supposed to have an opinion about everything apparently.  Sometimes I don’t have an opinion.  Should I make one up?

Sometimes I have an opinion, but it’s embarrassing and I don’t want the world to know about it.  Do I really want to admit to the universe that I love watching American Pickers on the history channel?  I love the enthusiasm of Mike and Frank picking through all that junk in those dilapidated barns.  They would make great history teachers. There, now I’ve admitted my deep dark secret to the world, or at least the friendly community of my bloggers.

Mike and Frank comb the backroads of America.

It feels more than a little awkward for a professional teacher to be posting information about her political and religious beliefs.  Most teachers go way out of their way not to share that information.  There is that separation of church and state principle on which our country was based.  I wouldn’t even tell my students who I was voting for in any election for fear of overstepping a boundary of influence while I was in front of the classroom.  But these days I supervise college seniors doing their student teaching.  I’m not trying to influence anyone from the front of a classroom.

Who Inspires Me?

But on one question I am certain.  Who inspires me?  I can’t download a celebrity’s face or even a famous person.  People who live in the real world inspire me.  While my daughter was battling cancer, I met a woman who had twin babies, one of whom had cancer.  Twin babies is challenging enough, without a pediatric cancer diagnosis.  That mother inspired me.

I had a daughter  who was born with cerebral palsy.  She did everything with one hand for her entire life.  She did it so well and effortlessly that hardly anyone ever noticed.  She tied her shoes, buttoned her clothes, carried her books and rode a horse using only one hand.   Try it. But then I worked in a school where a student had no arms at all and ate his meals and typed with his feet.  All of life’s challenges are a matter of perspective.

Does someone have to be disabled in order to be inspirational?  Of course not.

I know a lady who bakes birthday cakes for people who would not receive a cake otherwise.  She has baked hundreds of cakes for people she has never met.  She has other volunteers deliver them so that the attention remains on the person celebrating the birthday and not on the baker.

Other people I admire?

  • Friends who encourage me and others… to be the best that we can be.
  • People who discover a need and fill it, without wasting breath about what other people should be doing to fill that need.
  • People who fail, but keep on trying, no matter what the odds.
  • People who face challenges with a positive attitude.
  • People who have fears (don’t we all?), but refuse to give in to those fears.  They just recognize the fear and move forward anyway.

These are the people who inspire me.  Usually these are people I know in all walks of life.  Sometimes they are a friend.  Sometimes they are a friend of a friend.  They aren’t famous or celebrities. They aren’t seeking out awards or even accolades.  They are walking, breathing superheros.  I’m proud to know them.  They inspire me everyday.  That was a facebook entry I found easy to answer.  But you won’t see famous photos there on my page.  No one knew Clark Kent was a hero either.

Do You Hate to Have Your Picture Taken?


Say “Cheese!”

    I do. I’ll admit it. I hate to have my picture taken.
    “Ridiculous!” you say? I  don’t  think so.

Now, if I were the age, weight, and had the face of any one of these young girls, I’d be sticking the camera out in front of me and clicking away.  No problem.

I’d ‘click’ and text it to the world a dozen times a day. Isn’t that what they do?

That’s probably why young people love the camera function on the cell phone so much.   But I am not one of these three girls.  I am a scrambled design on the square that is supposed to share my photo.  I think it is a purple scrambled design.  Yep, that’s me.  A purple scramble.  I don’t even especially  like purple.

Things I Like Better than Having My Picture Taken

  • Cleaning the toilet with a toothbrush…in a gas station…at a truck stop.
  • Being in the middle of a root canal and hearing the dentist say, “Oops.”  That actually happened to me one time.  Bad story which involved the dentist himself driving me to an oral surgeon.  Still better than having my picture taken.
  • Taking a math exam which requires me to display my understanding of algebra II… which was as clear as mud even when it was ‘fresh’ in my mind.
  • Talking to someone on the phone speaking a language I cannot understand while trying to fix a technology problem on my computer.  That also has happened to me…this week.  Bluk.
  • A mammogram.  Even that is better than having my picture taken.  See the pattern here?

Things I Hate More Than Having My Picture Taken

      • Is there anything at all?  OK.  I have to admit, I’d hate it more to be one of those people on ‘The Biggest Loser’ who wear spandex which reveals their guts while being weighed on a giant scale in front of the entire world.  That would definitely be worse than having my picture taken.
      • Having my picture taken to POST for the world to see.  Yikes, I don’t even like pictures of myself for my eyes only.  Why does everyone keep telling me to post my photo?
      •  Why Won’t They Leave Me Alone?

    • Why must everyone keep telling me I have to get my picture taken and post it on my blog, my facebook page, my author’s page and my book cover?
    • OK.  I realize that I said this was going to be my ‘breakthrough’ year.  I know I promised myself and the blog world that I would ‘breakthrough’ on some longtime hurdles: eating reasonably, exercising consistently and tackling my dread of large doses of technology.
    • I swear I am making fabulous breakthrough headway in all these areas.   I confess I don’t know why this blog has bullets in places I don’t want them, no matter how many times I hit delete. backspace, or the left margin key.  But I am blogging with headings and pictures.  Just not my own picture.
    • I’m eating very reasonably and exercising everyday.  I have been the Wonder Woman of breakthrough in these areas.
    • Just please, stop the talk about posting a photo.  I never promised that.
    • What is so wrong about a square with a purple design?  Maybe I wanted to grow up to be a purple design.
    • Don’t be a hater of purple design people.  At this blog site, we value everyone.  We are an inclusive environment and welcome everyone.
    • But I must admit I do favor, just a little, the people like me, who never post a photo and have the courage to roam the world as a random design.  We are a gutsy crowd not swayed by appearances.

Clutter Buster


 Begin humming the theme to the old Ghost Busters movie as you read this post. 

If you aren’t old enough to remember it…well…sometimes it sucks to be young.  (But not often enough)

For most of the year clutter and I are best friends.   We comfortably cohabit.  A few books can share a couch with me.  A pile of papers can reside for a while on my kitchen counter next to where I cook.  A couple of pair of shoes can rest next to the dresser before being banished to the closet.

Even the vacuum cleaner is allowed to rest for a day or two in a sun filled room.  In fact, taking the vacuum cleaner out of the closet and parking it in the center of the room says to any unexpected guests who might drop by, “I know this room needs to be vacuumed.  I was just about to do so, when you stopped by.”  That’s what I tell myself anyway.

But a week or so ago I wrote my piece about 2012 becoming my breakthrough year.  Remember?  Lofty new lifestyles are being addressed.  I plan to eat reasonably forever while conquering my fears of technology simultaneously.  An exercise plan has been instituted.  For good.  These issues will no longer rule my life.  Period.  Keep a straight face here.

The problem is this gal can’t just eat reasonably without replacing that annoying habit with something.  It turns out giving up comfort food has to be replaced by activity.  My hands have to be doing something other than moving snacks to my lips every waking second.  One can only use the keyboard for a certain number of hours per day.  My eyes glanced around my house frantically for a substitute plan.  Bingo.

I have become a purging princess.  I’m digging through closets, sorting, and pitching.   Decades of clothes in a variety of sizes, ALL are being held up one at a time subjected to the same revealing  question.  Listen carefully to this question, because it is an important one

“If I ever get to be this size again, is this what I would want to wear?”

Do not think about how much the item cost.  (Sometimes I remember that).  Do not chastise yourself with how few times you have worn it.  That answer is cruel and unusual punishment so don’t go there.  Only one question really matters.  See above.  That, my friends, is a breakthrough question.

I have taken so many trips to drop off rejected items, people close to me are sure I’m having an affair with the Good Will man.  I haven’t stopped with clothes.  Yesterday I spent hours in the basement, going through all the tubs of Christmas decorations, digging all the way to the bottom to the items I haven’t used in years.  Gone!  I have a box of books to take to Half Price books.  And the trash man will have to work a good bit harder when he stops at my house this week.

But a girl’s gotta do, what a girl’s gotta do.  The food void must be replaced with something. I have become a clutter buster. More ghost buster music here, fading out.  da-da-da-da-dum.

Choose Hope


Is Hope a Choice?

On my writing desk is a quote from Maya Angelou that I keep visible. It says…

” Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time.  Invite one to stay.”

Yes, hope is a choice.  Invite it into your life. Even when the economy is frightening and we are job searching with no successes, choose hope.  Even when the doctor gives you scary information, hope is still an option.  When we let fear take over it paralyzes us.  Fear leads to inaction.  Inactivity feeds fear.

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Simple Steps for Finding Hope

  • Lucky for us, hope is as contagious as the common cold.  We can catch it from hopeful people.  So hanging out with hopeful, optimistic people is the first order of business.  We all have people we know who lift our spirits.  Call them, email them, ask them to lunch.

  •  Put your pessimistic friends on a back burner for just a while until your hope returns.

  • Get moving.  Activity builds hope and extinguishes fear.  Do something.

  • Read positive uplifting books.  Try and own them so you can use a highlighter.  Re-read the highlighted sections whenever you feel your hope start to slip.

  • Listen to an uplifting CD.  I have favorite speakers on CDs who make me feel as though I can accomplish anything.  Sure, it takes work on my part.  But hope helps me make a choice to move forward…to go to work.

  • Help someone else.  However desperate your situation, you have skills or words that can help someone else.  Giving our time and talents to others rekindles the hope in us.

  • You think you have nothing to give?  Just listen.  In this day of technology overload, people are desperate for eye contact and a pair of listening ears.

  • Listen to upbeat music.  Sing along.  Get into it.

  • Plan something you’ve never done before.  Be spontaneous.

Hope is a choice.  Invite it into your life daily.  Reject fear.  Beat it with a stick if you have to.  When you are feeling hopeful again, sneeze on pessimistic people and pass it on.