Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Too often, my word turned out to be not much more effective than my New Year's resolutions. For a while, it stayed on my mind and, for a while, I diligently pursued the goal.
Then Life would intervene and I would go off-road, but with every intention to swing back onto course just as soon as everything leveled out. The funny thing about Life though is that our idea of "leveling" isn't always how it happens. In fact, almost never.
At some point there came a NYE when I didn't have a word picked out. I found that this "unplanned" year was not all that different in nature from the ones where I had meticulously plotted how my word would aid my journey from January through December; how I was practically destined to accomplish all the goals I set my mind too simply because I had the mind set to do so. Yet, (there's that word again:) as the days turned into weeks, and then the weeks into months - with still no word - I realized the power must not lie there because I still experienced the very same ebb and flow of Life that I always had.
Plenty of "ups," complete with achievements, meeting goals, and getting that one overlooked closet cleaned out, and then followed by a fair amount of sub-par performances, LOTS of dropped balls, and a closet once again in need of a cleaning after one futile attempt to locate a missing sweater.
So when the word "grace" began to play around in my mind this past summer, I didn't recognize it for what it was for the longest. I don't know if you are like me or not, but I tend to talk to myself; no, not necessarily out loud (although that HAS happened:) but definitely in my head. I found the stresses of this past summer were really working on me, and not in a good way.
Frustration, bitterness, disappointment - anger even, were just a few of the emotions that fought for top billing in my heart. My soul - usually so easily inspired and uplifted - felt bogged with the weight of the circumstances surrounding me. While the issues weren't directly related TO me or mine, they WERE very close. Too close to ignore. Too close to pretend they weren't happening.
I caught myself more than once saying, "Grant them grace." Even though it was a mere thought, it was a reminder for me to take a minute, breathe deeply, and allow the people around me to make mistakes without judgement. To realize that everybody is doing the very best they can, and that sometimes even the "best" just isn't going to be enough. Blame isn't going to do anyone any good. Yet Grace allows for a break, for a realization that - though NOW this person or this situation isn't as it should be - who is to say that they (or it) will not rise to the occasion tomorrow, or next week, or even next year or the years to come?
In late July, after this had been going on for quite a few weeks, I made the decision to leave the English classroom, and come back closer to home, to where I am needed most. The coincidence of being invited to teach culinary within my old district was a surprise and something that could only be a "God-thing." To combine what Mike and I do on the daily - hospitality - with my passion (teaching) seemed almost too good to be true. While I knew there would be a learning curve, I have to admit that I approached the new school year full of confidence and very few fears or trepidations.
The first week went swimmingly.
Then began The Learning Curve, SO much steeper and hillier than I had ever imagined. Transitioning my "home cook" experience into that of a chef trainer in an industrial kitchen, learning the ins and outs (re: do's and don't's) of PO's, activity funds, and requisitions, planning menus for board meetings, alumni luncheons, and football games, all the while teaching four classes I had never taught before turned out to be more than my so-called confidence was prepared for!
Last weekend, as I was driving alone, I mulled it all over in my head. Realistic Staci began to lecture Perfectionist Staci and - in the course of their conversation - I heard myself say out loud, "Give yourself some grace."
Give yourself some grace.
There was that five-letter word again. G-R-A-C-E. So simple, yet so very full of meaning. Life-changing, really. It was time for me to take a minute, breathe deeply, and allow myself to make mistakes without judgement. To realize that I am doing the very best that I can and that, even so, on some days my best just won't be quite enough.
And that is okay.
Fast forward to yesterday's staff meeting, where our amazing principal held up a piece of paper with a single word written on it. "Take some time and think about what YOUR word for this year will be." He challenged us to join the student body, who are all doing this as well, and put our word down on paper, decorate it, and let it join all the others on the cafeteria wall.
I didn't have to think about it.
I knew my word instantly.
It wasn't my word at New Year's.
Instead, just like Life and just like God, the giver of this Life, it raised its voice and spoke truth to me at just the right time.
"Life is measured in love and positive contributions and moments of grace." - Carly Fiorina
Monday, September 3, 2018
Sunday, September 2, 2018
Friday, August 31, 2018
Since May, our family has experienced one change after another. Some have been good ones and right on schedule - a celebratory part of our family's story. Others have been completely unexpected - unwanted.
Both types have shaken and stirred this season like a fast-moving storm to the sea, and - more than once - I've felt sea-sick and felt myself hanging over the proverbial rail of the ship.
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Monday, August 27, 2018
I saw today where someone posted "If two wrongs don't make a right, then how come two negatives make a positive?" In math and science, this may be true, but - when it comes to people - I can promise you only one thing:
If you put two negative people together for any length of time, I am POSITIVE the outcome will be negative!
We know that snap judgments are bad for the world at large, but people rarely discuss how destructive being judgmental is for the person who is doing it. Women are the WORST at this! No joke, being judgmental of other women causes us to live in hateful chaos, and we have to consciously rise above it if we ever hope to live peacefully in our bodies.
Just to be clear: I don’t think you should judge anyone. But women tend to judge other women the harshest, and our bodies, outfits, and appearances get hit the most consistently and aggressively, because they’re easily accessible. I know some people call this on-going judgment of other women a “guilty pleasure,” because it gives you a private little hit of satisfaction. When you sum up another woman in a split second, and find something wrong with her, you get to enjoy a momentary jolt of superiority.
Not only does your habit of judging other women shrink your life down into an ongoing list of do’s and don’ts, but keeping company with that nasty little voice in your head 24/7 makes you, understandably, kind of paranoid and defensive.
It’s like how you always end up feeling really crappy about yourself after you spend time with that one friend who gossips about all your other friends. She might claim you’re exempt from her mean gossip, but you can’t help but wonder what she says about you when you’re not there. This endless, cluttered, negative ocean of fear and judgment clouds your mind and poisons your heart. It make you feel insecure, stressed, unhappy, anxious, paranoid, obsessive, and completely unable to let go and be present. With that as your baseline, it becomes near impossible to look at yourself, or your body, and say “Yup, this is perfect.”
Walk (no, RUN!) away from the negative influences in your life. It's easy to say that we may be able to "help them be more positive" if we keep hold of our own positive outlook and views on things. And it probably is possible, in small doses. The reality though is that most chronically negative people pretty much enjoy right where they are. Walk away from these and surround yourself with folks who "get" you. It doesn't mean they agree with your every thought. They may not get behind all of your big ideas, and they may even find it necessary to tell you why at times. The difference is they do it all in love. There is no question that they have YOU and YOUR best interests at heart with every word, every action.
Those people are harder to find than the negative ones, but they're out there. Find them, surround yourself with them, and love them right back.
Two positives ALWAYS create a positive!