Friday, October 29, 2010

I've Been Given a Gift

October 28, 2010
Can I just say how tired I am of looking at this computer screen! I mean, I have worked 13+ hour days this week preparing for an upcoming workshop I am presenting in Houston, TX at the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching. I am so excited, but when my boss moved the deadline for the final product up to tomorrow (Friday), and she did so on Tuesday at 8:30 PM, I got a little overwhelmed. In addition to getting a virus over the weekend and spending 3 hours at IT, then coming home to over 100 emails in 1 of 4 inboxes didn’t feel so good. For the record, I am not a fan of Windows Vista. Seriously, NOTHING BUT ISSUES!
Regardless of the process, I completed my write-ups and, if I may say so, they are good! I am really proud of them and think it will be a great presentation. It was annoying to have to do them this week on top of other expectations, but it is nice to not have to worry about it anymore.
What I cannot figure out is this strange energy I have. I haven’t been this out of shape in forever, I can’t sleep through the night, I’m eating junk constantly, and I’m stressed! Yet, I accomplished everything and I’m still awake at midnight. My alarm is set for 6:00 AM, and I WILL BE EXERCISING! Mark My Words! I have come to the conclusion that it is because I am finally, after all this time, doing what I’ve dreamed of doing…teaching in a classroom. I am with 2nd graders every day. My goal is to always do my best, model my expectations, and make an impact daily. Each day presents a new challenge, and I meet it with a smile. Tonight, the organization I am President of hosted a Spooky Science Night for 5th Graders. I’ll admit, I did not have the best attitude when we were planning this event. It was one more thing on the calendar with multiple expectations attached. But, I left that school feeling complete. I mean, that is what I dreamed of when I dreamed of making a difference in the teaching profession. The excitement on the faces of those children is stamped on my heart forever. I will remember it when I feel inadequate or uninspired.
You see, I get overwhelmed and frustrated just like everyone else. But, I realize that I have been given a gift, multiple gifts, in fact. I am thankful for the opportunities to use my gifts and I am not called to sit on the sidelines. I know I am making a difference and making my Heavenly Father proud. And when it is all said and done, that is all that matters.
So, what is your gift? What are you going to do with it? I guarantee it will make a difference and warm your heart. We all need a little heart-warming now and again!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Cure All Weekend

This weekend was not what I expected, yet it was just what I needed. Friday night, my sorority had a Western event for Parent's Weekend. It was in conjunction with our Academic Excellence Banquet, and we asked my dad to speak. As expected, he did a wonderful job. He knows just what to say and is a natural! When I watch him lead, I am inspired. He is a great leader, and I find myself wishing often that some of his qualities came easier for me. My mom is the heart of our family. She is a lover, just like me (or is it me like her?), and she always reminds me to think of others. Sometimes this annoys me beyond belief! I constantly think of others to the point that I run myself down, but she encourages me to put things in perspective. I took her to the Peddler Show today, a favorite experience for me. We found lots of fun gifts and had a nice time chatting.

Life Lesson #1: My mom reminded me that I cannot control situations; all I can control is my attitude and how I react to them. I explained to her that I constantly feel like I am letting others down. I feel like they cannot understand my situation and the exhaustion I feel. I get so frustrated and yet, I can't do much about it. Instead of aching for other's to understand something they simply just can't, I should realize that I know what can and cannot handle. I have to be better at micromanaging and prioritizing all the things I love. You see, the problem is I can't do everything I want to accomplish! I am so ambitious and it is not possible to do all these things and do them well. It is my responsibility to draw the line to the things that aren't as special so I will have more energy for the things that are.

On Saturday, I slept in until 9:00 am, which happens never and was quite a treat. I went for a 4 mile run, came home and cleaned house and worked on a project in my cave for the rest of the day. This day of going nowhere and seeing no one was absolutely perfect and just what I needed. Scrapbook heaven exploded in my bedroom and I reminisced over the past as I put a book of my life together. I truly have a great, blessed life. I see the gifts I have been given on every single page. The frustrations life brings become so obsolete when I look at all the beauty in my life. I am loved, I have much and I know my purpose. Ok, so I don't fully understand my purpose yet, but I know where I'm headed. The day ended with a roomie date with Mae Mae. We went to Starbuck's and I ordered a Skinny Vanilla, Pumpkin Spice, Chai Tea Latte. I know, it's like a $6 drink, but no worries! I had my birthday coupon for being a Gold Card Member (yep, it's official!!!!), so they gave me a venti for free! Then we went to see Life As We Know It. Of course I wore my pajamas. It was nice to watch a movie and not think about all my obligations. I even came home and read before falling never happens anymore!

Life Lesson #2: I have GOT to take a chill pill! I feel so much better when I get in a good workout and recharge on my own. I need that time like I need food and neglecting myself only makes life harder. I had the chance to listen to a few sermons too. My spiritual battery needed recharging too. I really struggle with trusting God. I know he is there and I know he will protect me. Yet, too often, I stress out about the big picture rather than enjoying the here and now. Dahlia helped to remind me of this. It was wonderful seeing her this weekend! She and I had the opportunity to talk about some really big stuff. I have always been a planner. I can't wait for the future, and I put everything into preparing me for the best future possible. Unfortunately, I sometimes neglect very important moments because I have spent all my energy on areas pertaining to the future. I always say I am going to work on this and then I get back in my rut. This is one of the greatest periods of life,and I don't want to miss it. So, hold me accountable...I really am going to work on it!

Sunday was spent with my kiddoes in Children's Church, hangin with the momma and then with my bestie. It ended with Kappa Delta initiation. Ritual events are my favorite as they are a reminder of why we are part of this sorority. I'm not a "sisterhood" type of person. I'm not a touchy, feely, "girl, I love you" kind of friend. But, at events like this, I don't care. It was so special watching the initiates as they nervously awaited instructions. They were all smiles! I couldn't help but think about my own experience as a New Member. How time has flown and how great my experience has been!

Life Lesson #3: It truly is about relationships. I get frustrated with the time commitment. I get disheartened by those who misrepresent our principals. I get annoyed with the cattiness. But, those are just facts of life no matter where I go or what I get involved in. I chose this Sorority because I believed in their Philanthropy. I felt a camaraderie among their members. I agreed with their values and principles and I saw a place for myself. All of those things are still true 3 years later. If anything, our bond has gotten stronger and our commitment to service has improved. I am proud to be a KD lady and I am thankful for the experience I have had. My hope is that the new initiates would stay committed to the oath they took and make the most of every experience. I wouldn't change a thing, but I will work on my relationships. I have this terrible problem with trying to do it all by myself. I don't like to share with others and I take the world on alone. It was never intended to be that way. I am trying to learn that, but it is hard to rely on others.

This is my beautiful life. It isn't perfect, but it is perfectly blessed. I will take on this week with a fresh start, a positive attitude, an open heart and an eagerness. I will do my best, but stop myself when it is too much. I will make an effort to communicate with my friends and I will value the social excitement of the week.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Time..where does it go?

You know those days when you feel completely, totally and utterly useless? Well, I had another one today. In fact, this whole week has been one of those days after another. One would think this would have been a really relaxing week as I had Fall Break until Wednesday and no real class this week because of work. However, I made up for it with other involvement.

I was watching the Real Housewives D.C Reunion, and I cued in on one comment, "...she looks very stressed. And, when you get stressed, it's time for a lifestyle change." Now, I heard that and my first inclination was, "Heck, if I changed my life everytime I got stressed, I'd be stressed from all the change!" But then I thought about it...maybe it is time for a change. Not just a change, but a true change. When I really stop to think about it, time has been this way for quite some time. I cannot deny loving most everything in my life and the hard part is prioritizing all the things I love!

I miss working out and eating healthy. I miss doing this daily. I know I feel better when I do, and I have so much more energy. I miss catching up with my best friends in the little bit of free time I have. I think I have been so concerned with trying to keep up with everyone else's social energy that I have been lagging behind in my job mode. I know I cannot physically handle as much as others can, and I choose to use my energy in the workplace and with loved ones.

I think one of the worst feelings in the world is knowing that you are doing everything good, but nothing well. I am a perfectionist and I like to give my all to everything. I know it is dangerous to expect this much from myself in all aspects of my life, but when I start becoming mediocre in areas I typically do my best in, I know I am off.

Sometimes, being a good leader means letting go of the reins. It's time for me to let go of some things. Letting go will be my goal and inspiration for the change I want to see in myself.

Friday, October 8, 2010

All The Small Things

Life is a collection of moments. Each moment is a gift; a gift to be in awe of, and yet, I take moment after moment for granted. I waste these moments anticipating moments to come and stressing about things I can’t control. Yesterday, as I drove to Dallas, I had a very simple goal…to make it to Seymore before Sonic Happy Hour ended. Oh don’t worry; I totally made it with just minutes to spare! Something so simple totally made my day. As I drove alone and carefree in the car, with the music blaring, belting my favorite songs, I took note of all the beauty around me. I realized, yet again, how often I get caught up in how much I have going on that I miss out on the beauty around me.

I listened to a sermon this week in which one line stood out to me. The pastor was talking about rest (imagine that) and read the following passage:

28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

I mean, let’s be real! I need to write this passage on my forehead, on my mirror, in my car. In fact, maybe I should make a blanket out of it so I see it when I get in bed. It shouldn’t be this hard! Why must I make it so challenging? Anyway, his comment was “If we’re burned out, it’s not God’s yoke.” I struggle because I do what I do to ultimately bring glory to God. My involvement makes me a better person and gives me more opportunities to reach others. My motives are right, yet my life is out of control.

Lately, my physical ailment has been bothering me. The pain is getting worse and I am feeling weak. I get discouraged because there really is no cure. Research is showing that, unlike musculoskeletal diseases, Fibromyalgia is neurological. It totally makes sense, but how do we fix it? I mean, I’m 21 years old. Most people don’t get diagnosed with things like this until the latter part of their life. I worry about what I will encounter then if I am already struggling this much now. And look, I’m already worrying a paragraph later…this is not going to be easy. But honestly, it would be much easier to rest if my head was not throbbing and I wasn’t feeling piercing pain all over my body. But then I tell myself that it could be so much worse…it could be deadly. When I think about it as a manageable ailment that has not landed me in a hospitable bed, I am grateful. I have so many blessings for which I am thankful! Not to worry, my coffee is ready! That in itself is the highlight of my day! The aroma brings a smile to my face…I totally identify with the Folger’s commercial now!

Yes, I do get overwhelmed A LOT these days; however, I am enjoying life. I am reminded daily of how precious life really is and how quickly circumstances change. I came to Dallas this weekend to get away from all the things on my to-do list. When I arrived at my aunt’s house, my two-year-old cousin came outside in her diaper and a pink monkey shirt. She pointed at me and said, “Aimee!” I think the reason my passion is children is because they constantly remind me how precious life is. They love us so tenderly regardless of our wrongs. Today I am making a new list, and at the top is to enjoy every moment and take a mental snapshot of every smile on Claire Bear’s face! No worry, no stress, no frustration. This day was made for me, and in it I will rejoice.