Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It Takes A Village

Do you recall the saying 'It Takes A Village'? I may be remembering it wrong or this could just be my interpretation, but I seem to recall it being about community. Last night I attended my daughter's high school music program's end of the year banquet. We had a great time. We had a good dinner, the serving staff was attentive, the jazz band played some great music, and we were able to spend an evening with friends we've had for a while, friends we hadn't seen for a while, and make some new friends as well. It was definitely a win-win kind of night.

There always seems to be more bad than good relayed to us on the news these days ... bullying, thefts, shootings, threats - you name it. But sitting through an evening like last night restores my hope in future generations. My situation was the music banquet; but it could just as easily have been a football or soccer banquet, a senior honors night, or an end of the year celebration for the drama club, dance team, or Science Olympiad. Every group has its booster club supporters, its grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors and friends that come out and cheer at their events, games, and concerts. Letting today's youth know that we care and that we support their skills and their efforts can and will make all the difference in laying the foundation for their future.

Last night at the banquet I sat and listened to underclassmen pay tribute to the outgoing seniors. I heard about their talents, their drive, their ambitions, and their quirky and embarrassing moments. I also heard words of inspiration - from students who looked up to their mentors and from adults who support the program.

One woman (who offers a memorial scholarship each year) talked about the importance of living for today and about the responsibility the youth have to embrace their talents and gifts, but also remembering to pay it forward. As a parent I support my daughter, but it's my daughter's responsibility to support the generation that follows her. No one can do it alone. It takes family, teachers, neighbors, friends, AND a community. It takes a village.

Whether you currently have young children, your children are already grown, you have nieces or nephews or grandchildren, or there's a teenager down the street from you that actually remembers to wave hello when you drive by - show your support. That child might not have any support in their life. YOU could be that person. Just something to keep in mind.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

With Spring Comes Motivation ... Hopefully!

Nothing gives me a motivational burst more than a blue sky, warm sunshine, a mid 50ish degree morning, and a cool breeze. Today it's not quite that warm yet, but yesterday morning was perfect, at least in my opinion. I went to work early with my garden gloves and shovel in my car. I was determined to transplant some of the hearty Iris' that were growing in abundance in the back of the parking lot. I was convinced they needed a new home, a place where they could thrive in the sunshine, have space to grow, and be admired every time someone walked into the church. Isn't it great when you can make all of these life-changing decisions on behalf of a plant? lol. Fortunately my co-worker agreed with me. We instantly went into action mode ... dug up and separated stalks of plants, found other areas that we felt were more deserving, dug holes, and transplanted them. Of course then we decided that they would have a much better chance with their relocation if we put fresh mulch down around them. Lucky for us there was still a big pile of it in the parking lot leftover from the weekend's spring clean up day. To finish off the day, it rained in the afternoon ... a good steady rain that lasted long enough to give the flower beds a good soaking. Isn't it amazing how God made sure they would have just what they needed to get settled in their new home?

What things give you that little burst of motivation that you need? Is it a hobby, a walk around the block, a trip to the library (that's one of my favorites), or a cup of tea with a friend?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How far ahead do you plan?

I was having a phone conversation recently that got me to thinking, which isn't a stretch for me. I often tend to think 'too long' and 'too hard' and generally about 'too much'. I guess you could say I'm a 'thinker' and a 'planner'.

I've spent most of my life thinking ... about little things like what will I wear to work today (since I heard 3 different weather reports on 3 different stations this morning), what should I fix for dinner tonight, and what color flowers should I plant in my garden next month. There are the more serious issues ... will my daughter find the right college to go to in a year and will my son get a new teaching job now that he's graduating. Then there are the really serious topics ... will the economy improve, what will gas prices look like later this year, and will my family continue to be healthy.

There are so many things that need to be considered in life on a daily basis ... your responsibilities as a parent, perhaps as a spouse, and even as an employee (if you're lucky enough to be working). I guess my question to you is 'Do you live in the present OR are you always planning for the future?' The ironic part is that none of us possess the control that we think we have. Life is full of obstacles - things can get thrown into our path at any given moment. Do we let the obstacles obstruct our way OR do we attempt to leap right over them (sometimes succeeding and other times not)?

The reality of being consumed with planning ahead is that it is too easy to forget to live in the present. Most of my adult life I've had the urge to write ... everything from journals to business letters to resumes to blogs. I've always dreamt about writing something 'bigger'. There never seems to be the right creative location where I can close everything else out or the time that I can devote to myself. Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking for a pity party. I think we all go through this at one time or another. There are things that I'm doing right now that don't leave me time for doing other things, BUT 'I' choose to do the things that I am doing (working, band boosters, volunteering, etc.).

If you choose to put off doing something for now, then you owe it to yourself to make yourself a promise to one day make the time for you. It's a gift only you can give yourself. No one will ever hand it to you on a silver platter.

Today's question: Do you make time for yourself and what do you do with the time (a hobby, volunteering, work)? The next question is probably the harder one ... how long did you make yourself wait and what finally changed to make it happen?