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April 2013

Currently

At this moment I am …

drinking  the last of my leftover white chocolate peppermint soy mocha from yesterday.

appreciating Sunday morning.

watching Matt try to get a car unstuck for Jake for the 100th time.

laughing at the memories I’m pulling out of my “polaroids” box."*

eating too much sugar lately.

willing us to have the kind of Sunday that is restorative instead of rushed.

waiting to see what my hard drive search shows up for my finished short stories.

prepping for spring cleaning.

opening to new possibilities.

sleeping in new pajamas.

remembering so much I’d forgotten as I look through these pictures and scraps.

brainstorming new chapters to round out Kickin’ it with Ralph.

wearing the aforementioned new p.j’s.

considering where to start working out again. At this point feeling like I’m so out of shape no effort will help. So changing that thinking is probably a great place to start!

making cheese and carob chip pancakes for breakfast, per Sam’s request. I’ll have the eggs. Which reminds me, I need to boil a bunch for dying.

feeling like I need to take the asthma and pre-diabetes thing seriously.

getting nervous about the issues above.

loving the morning I had yesterday with Jakey, just the two of us.

listening to an old Beach Boys soundtrack, Matt’s choice, which I prefer to NPR first thing on a Sunday morning.

acknowledging my “to do” list for today is too ambitious and I’ll have a better day if I revise that this morning instead of by default at bedtime.

flipping through so many awesome memories as I create my library of memories system.

enjoying being back in the swing of writing my books … I can’t help it parts of the third one are coming together faster than the first two but I’m happy to be getting it all down.

thankful for all the bits and scraps I’ve kept over the years especially now that I’m pulling together an easy way to retrieve, and an attractive way to store, them!

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A box containing scraps of overheard conversations, quotes from people I love and random stories on napkins, coasters and index cards. Written polaroids … inspired by Anne Lamott.

Thank you to Ali Edwards and Elsie Blaha who inspired this list of reflections in my life right now.

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Geeking out

Big Picture Classes

“Really? You’re taking a class on how to organize your pictures?” Asked the imaginary voices in my head when I consider what The Random Others might think.

Mmmhmmm. And I am loving every minute of it. Of course, it’s not even about how to organize pictures, instead it’s about the stories behind them, stories I want to share with  my family and friends.

If I get swallowed by a sinkhole today, I would have piles of pictures and boxes of memorabilia that mean everything to me, but nothing but a mess to clean up behind me for everyone else.

Unless I act on my best intentions and find away to live with my pictures and scraps of life in a way that is enjoyable instead of embarrassing … or guilt-inducing as in “I should really get those in an album.”

“ I should really put people we know in that frame!”

“What pile is that picture I need right now in?”

Enter Stacy Julian and her method of Finding Photo Freedom … it was love at first sight for me. She had me at “library of memories.”

Libraries and memories being two of my favorite things, and all.

Total detour: For a few months I’ve been conflicted about this blog, it’s direction, what I should – and shouldn’t - write about.

Partly because of my new job, and partly because I have such a varied readership – some of you want more about crafty,creative stuff, some ask for more of the writing in real life stuff while others consider it emotional TMI, then others want more journaling, some about writing, some about parenting, but most not all of the above.

Mostly, I am thankful that anyone wants to read this stuff, much less comment on what they like to see, but in an effort to create balance, I went underground completely.

Turns out that isn’t what anybody wanted, including of course, me!

(What’s that expression about not being able to please everyone? I’m still in people-pleaser recovery over here.)

In the spirit of posting something that matters to me instead of the little I’ve been doing recently, here’s the scoop on my current happy crack project:

I am taking Stacy’s class through Big Picture Classes (yes, the same place I’m so excited to be teaching my Art of Self-Preservation journaling class).

 

I started a DIY version of her system years ago after reading her book The Big Picture. *

But it was more like a “start it yourself, then stop” version, really.

This time, things are falling into place and I want to convert everyone into trying something like this because it is really that awesome.

So, here’s the books for each of the following categories:

Things we do |People we love

 Places we go | All about us

The orange binders are Project Life books from 2012 … not finished, FYI.

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Here’s the start of my category lists just brainstorming the different things we do/people we love, etc. Just the start of the list, if you  know I love you and you’re not on that list, I might already have your tab made!

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The tools I tweaked to help me keep the rating and sorting of photos going so I can do it in five minute chunks. (It’s working!)

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Photo triage in action … so fun to go through these and find unexpected connections.

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These will eventually become four category drawers that I’m working on this week.

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The first connection I made for a class assignment, me jumping in the pool circa 1980, my son jumping in the pool in 2011 … We have so many water-related pictures I’m thinking of making “Splash” one of my category tabs in the Things we do drawer.

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More later on this and many other things connected and otherwise; I just wanted to share these little bits for now.

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* As an Amazon Affiliate, earning my pennies where I can, I included the link to Amazon if anyone is interested in buying the book, or anything else on Amazon, I get a few cents for transactions, so I appreciate you getting to Amazon through my site!

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Beware the bully label

MAR 5, 2013 | LOCAL NEWS

The other day as we were driving home, apropos of nothing, my 5-year-old son said, “Mama, when you yell at me, or use your mean voice, it doesn’t show me that you love me.”

That statement made me grateful I hadn’t ever received one of those proverbial mother-of-the-year awards, because it would no doubt have been revoked in some awkward fashion.

He kept looking out the window, so it was hard to read his face in the rearview mirror.

“What makes you say that?” I asked, taking a deep breath to avoid trying to justify myself or dismissing his feelings just because they made me feel like a jerk.

“I don’t want you to be a bully,” he said.

I took another deep breath, then asked him to tell me what he thought a bully was.

“When someone is mean, or when they don’t want to play with you, or when you say I can’t play a game on your phone,” he said.

“Yeah, dat is mean,” piped up my 3-year-old from his side of the backseat.

I’ve been bullied myself, and I mean the kind involving spitting, name-calling and clothes-ripping attacks triggering nightmares. I actually tried to kill myself because of it in seventh grade, so I’m all for calling out bullies.

However, in order to best combat bullying, we have to define it clearly. We must guard against watering down our definition to the point it is meaningless.

Bullying is the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. Often habitual, it may be facilitated by an imbalance in social or physical power.

Setting limits on screen time doesn’t fit the bill. Not by a long shot.

I took the opportunity to tell the boys that if someone is making them feel bad, they need to look at the situation and see what they can do differently.

I know some people would call that blaming the victim. But as an advocate for victims of domestic violence, I don’t buy that.

Blaming the victim is asking a rape victim what she was wearing. Asking my son to consider his own role in his suffering is essential to his ability to change it, though that’s not something I understood myself at the time.

Even after my family moved, enabling me to leave the worst of the bullying behind me, I’d still face situations that sent me home in tears. And each time, my dad would ask me what I did to contribute to the problem.

“You never take my side!” I would cry. “You don’t love me!”

But the opposite was true, I realize now. He loved me enough to teach me that in every encounter, we play a role. If we can look back and learn from exchanges we don’t like, we can handle them differently next time.

So I think, as important as it is to have conversations about bullying, we need to be aiming to raise resilient children capable of sticking up for themselves and for each other.

I know the damage bullying can do. I still hear the echoes of young voices taunting me. But I now have the perspective of distance to know what I could have been done differently in dealing with those encounters.

Those are lessons I’d like to leave with my boys, who, by the way, seem to have forgiven me for the aforementioned yelling.

Sam, who appears to do his best thinking in the car, described an interaction he had with another boy. “You tell me to look at other people to see how they are feeling,” he said, but this boy “didn’t even notice I was making a face to show I was mad.”

“Not everyone has learned to watch other people for cues about feelings,” I said. “Well, I wish everyone had you for a mom,” Sam responded.

Who knows? Maybe I’m still in the running for that coveted award after all.