Posts Tagged With: inspiration

real life closet porn

A guy called Carlos showed up at our house Monday last.
His mission?
To trick out our closet.
He worked tirelessly over two full days.
And when he finished, we got a system as functional as it is beautiful.


(this is my wall)


(YBW’s wall, but my drawers and shelves at the end)


(YBW’s wall with comfy seat storage bench, he gets dressed here each morning)

Wednesday last I came home from school early (only had one tutoring session) and spent the entire afternoon in the closet.
The result?
Absolutely glorious closet porn!

I’m so excited I can hardly stand it!
It’s beautiful and perfect and I love going in there.
We’ve discussed a rug and new lighting fixtures, but I’m in no hurry…I want to live with it for a while and see what’s really important.
This was the last ‘big thing’ we had to do to make this house our home and we knocked it out of the park, y’all!

(a note about the wallpaper: it’s blue cherry blossoms and we put it up before Carlos came)

Categories: around the house | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

inspiration or toxic positivity

This picture is hanging in every single one of the faculty restrooms at my school.

I don’t know who put them up.
Was it the PTO?
Was it the admins?
Was it the school counselors?
I understand what whoever put them up was trying to do.
Trying to encourage all the adults in the building to embrace what’s good. Look on the bright side.
(my brain has literally become the end of Life of Brian with Eric Idle singing and whistling. “Cheer up you old bugger.” forgive me, I digress…)

As I was saying…
In concept I understand the good intention.
In reality this photo pisses me off.
I mean truly makes me seethe every single time I see it.
This is the most disrespectful bunch of toxic positivity crammed in the faces of women and men who are doing the absolute best under some pretty complex circumstances.

First and foremost how dare you?
Secondly, nobody wants to be a teacher unless they’re a teacher. And to be perfectly fucking honest, sometimes not even then! Such a thankless day to day existence. We are doing the best we can in an absolute crap situation. Every single one of us is here for the kids. And the fact that someone has the audacity to suggest our underappreciated-crap-pay-micromanaged-by-non-educators-government-mandated-in-such-a-way-as-to-take-the-joy-out-of-it-at-every-turn employment is somehow being dreamed about?
And don’t even get me started on the one about a smile and depression.
Fuck you, dude.

“Beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from negativity. Find something to be grateful for”
Imma say it again for good measure.
Fuck you, dude.
This toxic positivity disgusts me!

Here’s a simple definition if you’re unfamiliar with the term.

This assumption that no matter what’s going on in one’s life, ‘other people have it worse’.
If that’s not toxic I don’t know what is.
One assumes that ‘others have it worse’ because they only see one aspect of someone’s life.
One says ‘distance from negativity’ makes everything better because one assumes expression of self is comparison or complaint…?

I’m over here like, beautiful things happen every day. No matter your proximity to negativity. Or positivity for that matter.
How about: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
(even though it’s attributed to Roosevelt, I couldn’t find supporting evidence he actually coined the term)
And being told to ‘find something to be grateful for’?
Y’all know I’m all about gratitude. Celebrating when I find it in unlikely places. Noticing it in the every day.
But to be ordered to find it?
After being told beautiful things are away from all things negative?
Once more for the cheap seats in the back.
Fuck you, dude.

I’m all for inspiration, but this doesn’t land for me. It lacks true compassion.
Am I looking at it askew?
What do y’all think?
Is this inspiring or does it encourage self gaslighting?
Is this positivity helpful or toxic?
Please oh please discuss!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

who’s on your list?

I just read this book called The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle.
On the eve of her thirtieth birthday, Sabrina is late to meet her closest friend for dinner. When she arrives at the restaurant, she finds not only her friend Jessica, but, her deceased father, favorite college professor, estranged boyfriend, and Audrey Hepburn.
These guests from the list she wrote at the insistence of her friend when they were nineteen and in their first year of college.
Let’s just say that while wackiness ensues, there is a great deal of love at that dinner table.

Haven’t we all considered the question:
What five people, living or dead, real or imagined, would you invite to dinner?

But how do you really answer it if you know it’s never going to be an actual thing?
Do you just choose randomly?
Does your curiosity drive your list?
Do you create your list based upon unfinished business?
Do you consider things such as, desire to interact with these particular people, but not how they might interact with one another?

I’ve been thinking about how I would create this top five guests list, and I’m noticing it changes with my mood.
For instance, I’ve always wanted Grandaddy to know Thing 1 and Thing 2. I’ve also wanted him to know YBW. But that’s four out of my five guests.
And honestly, I know and love these people so much, it doesn’t really matter if they know each other. Three of them know each other and all of them know/knew me. Perhaps that’s enough.

As I consider this dinner list, I have to ask myself, what’s my motivation?

Perhaps I choose a straight literary guest dinner?
Or film industry folks?
Or musicians?
I mean, picking Billy Wilder’s brain at dinner sounds absolutely wonderful…but do I plan an entire dinner party around that?

What if I choose at random?
Just five humans I’m curious about, you know?
What kind of dinner party does that actually create? That goes back to how my guests would interact with one another. And let’s get real for a moment, that’s an important part of planning a successful dinner party.

So, what if I create a guest list at random? I invite people that fascinate me.
That list could look like this:
Ben Bradlee
Mark Twain
Erin Van Vuren
Rick Bragg’s mama
Grace Kelly

I mean, WTF kind of dinner party is this?
Would these guests get on together?
What would I actually serve these people?
I’d be fangirling about three of them to the point I might actually pee my pants!
Or would I?
Perhaps I’d be lovely and gracious and we could all learn wonderful things from and with each other.

Ha! Let’s get real!
I’d be worried I’m not smart enough to be in the same room with Mark Twain.
Not informed enough to be in the same room with Ben Bradlee.
Not clever enough to be in the same room Erin Van Vuren. Though honestly, I feel like she’s the safest bet.
Not graceful enough to be in the same room with Grace Kelly!
And while I suspect I’m down to earth enough for Rick Bragg’s mama, I feel like she’d judge the food, and that would break my heart.

No, I don’t think I’d enjoy myself at that dinner.
I don’t feel like it would meet my expectations of ‘The List’.
A dinner party should be enjoyable for the hostess as well as the guests.

That’s why I considered it from a different perspective.
Who would I like to talk with and enjoy spending the evening with in a way that suits who I am as a person?
Who might actually enjoy spending time with me, and each other?
Who do I want to connect with on a deeper level than fascination or fangirling?
With whom do I want to drink cocktails and/or wine?

After some serious thought, I present my dinner list:
Alan Cumming
Carol Burnett
Dominique Browning
Nick Drake
Richard Burton

For me, this dinner is an ideal combination of playful, serious, humor, kindness, and darkness.
A dinner party to really sink my teeth into.
I mean, sure, there are people I ‘like’ more, or am a bigger ‘fan’ of, and whatnot, but, this group of people feels at once comfortable and challenging. And I love that!

I’m curious what y’all think of my list.
I’d love to know who’s on your list, and how did you decide?
Is it harder than you expected it to be?

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Soundtracking my Saturday

Soundtracking my Saturday.
It was a struggle to choose music that inspired me to tackle getting the house back together after the chaos of construction.
(In addition to the tree falling on the house which finally finished construction the last week of August, our main waterline from the meter to the house was leaking. Homeownership is NOT for the weak of heart…or stomach.) Moving the shelves of tools to make access for them to jackhammer out a place in the floor where the water comes into the house and now completely reorganizing the utility room.
We also moved Thing G into his brother’s old room. (the one damaged by the tree and rain in the house) Now we must disassemble Thing G’s old room.
Purging. So much purging.
Decorating for Autumn because I must honor the beginning of meteorological fall!
This is my life today and I’m cool with that.
But, I was slow moving and couldn’t land on a playlist that worked for me. Turns out, the wonderful thing about my madly eclectic music collection is how quickly it can surprise and delight me!
A song from Thing 2’s Cool Boy, Real Cool mix came on and fired me right up!
I’m inspired to accomplish great things. Let’s see how long I can keep up the momentum.

This is Brick + Mortar with Terrible Things.
Please listen responsibly.

Categories: around the house | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

mizpah

There is a Hebrew word I absolutely adore.
Mizpah.
It means watchtower.
The biblical example comes from the story of Jacob and Laban, after a bit of drama, the men come to an agreement with God as their only witness. They create a tower of stones to symbolize it.
It was also called Mizpah, because he said, May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.
Genesis 31:49 NIV

Of course, mizpah has a more commonly understood meaning.

The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.
Think about that for a moment.
Let it fill you completely.

Mizpah.
A magnificent and sacred blessing. An ancient word of inspiration and protection. A word that goes beyond the boundaries of social and cultural norms, and of faith. A spiritual symbol of hope and love and peace.

Many of the people I love most live far away from me.
Two of them are my babies. Grown ass women, but always my babies.
Time and distance are irrelevant because of mizpah. We are blessed with the knowledge that we are safe and connected when we are apart because of the strength of our love.
Mizpah gives us the opportunity to actively love without constraints of time and distance, and keeps us all anchored in that love until we are fortunate enough to be in the same physical space.

Those of you whom I love so dearly and deeply, this word is my gift to you. The promise that our love will be safe when we’re apart, and the light to guide us back to one another.
Mizpah.

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

mental self five

I keep thinking about the war between desire and effort and the more I consider the whole situation, the more I need to clarify for myself, y’all just reap the benefits of the process.

YBW and I do most things together. As a matter of fact, outside of the people we work with, we spend the most time with each other. We do our normal daily routine things together because we live in the same physical space. But we also go out in the world together and do things. Some times things he likes, some times things I like, often times things we both like, or like to do together.
That said, there are some days when YBW doesn’t want to leave the house and I’m itching to get out. Even if it’s simple errand running to Target or whatever. Some days I’ll go alone, other’s I’ll choose to stay put because I don’t feel like going by myself.
There are some times when YBW wants to be in front of his computer in his jammies to play video games all day long. And though I’m cool with that, me spending time alone in this house is something I do most days so I don’t always love it.
My husband loves to game. I don’t. He should be able to do what he loves even if I want to do something else. And y’all, that man will often times do what I want instead of gaming. It’s not always fair to him.

The obvious solution when it comes to one of us wanting to do something the other does not is to be social with friends.
Here’s what’s tricky about that. Most of the people I’m closest to live far far away from me.
When I was in SC, I had many friends to go and do things with. I also had my girls to go and do things with.

The local people I’m friends with mostly have young children.
Because I’m passionate about education and young children, that’s how I spend my time. I don’t really see people that aren’t either moms of young children, or educators of young children.
I have a couple of friends that have grown kids, but they have established friend groups. This means we can sometimes get together, but those friendship bonds are different than those of established relationships.
Even some of the teachers at school that I’m friendly with have children that aren’t old enough to be left alone.
So, unless we’re doing a kid friendly activity, most of my local friends don’t have the freedom of movement I have. That leaves me to fend for myself, or YBW and I do things as a couple.

As I read what I’m writing, it may sound as though I’m making excuses. I’m actually not. These are simply the facts of my life.
Since making new friends is not as easy as it sounds, I’m going to consider how to best spend time with the friends I have.
I’m also going to continue to spend time with YBW.
But, I’m also going to continue to do things on my own.

I want to learn to rock climb, and there’s a great indoor place three miles from home called Vertical Rock. I’ve been considering this for some time and finally decided I’m going to investigate what it takes to learn. YBW is anxious about heights. This is something he would not remotely enjoy doing with me. I’m not sure I know anyone (local) that would like to learn to climb with me and that’s OK, because I just discovered that Vertical Rock has it’s own meet up group! Can’t wait to share that with my therapist!

However I consider any of these things, this is my life.
The question is: Does if fulfill me?
The answer is: Yes…for the most part.

Follow up question: How can I be more fulfilled in my life?
Answer here is keep going and growing.
I’m enthusiastic about learning. I’m enthusiastic about life.
I’m hearing ‘ephphatha‘ in my head: be opened.
I am open to new and different things. To new and different ways of doing old things.
I am ready to be opened up to the world around me.
I have a keen sense of adventure!
It is time for my desire to outweigh my effort.

Who knows?
Stepping out of my comfort zone may be the beginning of something wonderful.
It may blow up in my face.
Doesn’t matter, because I’m up for it.

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the war between desire and effort

Had an interesting conversation with my therapist on Monday about life satisfaction.
I’ve been thinking for a few days, perhaps even a week now about how my life is a quiet, sort of prosaic suburban existence, and I’m not sure how satisfied I am with that. We specifically focused on things I like to do but am disinclined to do alone.
She and I tossed around the whys and wherefores of this.
We examined whether it was fear or laziness. (my vote was lazy and we both laughed)
Using my hands as a scale I talked about weighing my desire against my effort.
Specifically, did I want to go by myself to a Sylvia Plath exhibit at the NPG.
Would I enjoy the exhibit?
Absolutely.
Do I want to physically get myself into the district?
Not so much.
(It’s not as much that I dislike driving in DC, it’s more that I hate parking in DC. And just so we’re clear, I hate the Metro even more.)

How much effort am I willing to put forth to do the things I want to do?
Depends on how badly I want to do them.
Ah ha!
There’s the rub.
Too much weight on ‘not putting forth the effort’ side of the scale and ‘doing things’ side of the scale will never find balance.
In theory, well, my theory. Well, more like I sorta-kinda-had-part-of-a-thought-a-couple-days-ago…this all comes down to stepping outside of my comfort zone.

I’m completely capable of stepping outside my comfort zone, I just don’t like to.
I mean seriously, do you see how comfy it is in here? What’s out there that’s so freaking great?

Lucille feels me.

I love the idea of being adaptable. And y’all, however much of a tightly wound control freak I am, for the love of all things holy, I am adaptable.
But I’m only adaptable when I must be. I’m less inclined to adapt when it’s not absolutely necessary.
I’ve got a great big sense of adventure. I love to consider all kinds of adventures! I also am willing to go on all kinds of adventures. And I’m even willing to go on all kinds of adventures by myself.
But I have a really hard time with going on adventures by myself because I feel as though I’m not actively sharing that experience. I love to be able to talk about experiences as they’re happening. I love making special moments and memories with other people, it seems that somehow makes them stronger or reinforces them because I can experience them from more points of view.
When sharing this with my therapist, she suggested an app called meet up.
That gave me pause.

I’m over here like:

Of course, I’m teasing…mostly.
We discussed the pros and cons of meeting up with strangers to do thing we like to do. For the most part, the pros outweighed the cons. She was quick to point out how this was not the building of relationships, but just like minded folks looking to do things together. For me the biggest con is that even when I’m acting somewhat normal, I’m kind of a big spazz.
Out of context, I’m just plain weird.
(Hmmm…little bit of social anxiety there. wonder if my girls know they get it from me.)

In reality, I’m relatively confident.
I act like a fully functioning adult most days and I can interact with a wide variety of people.
It’s the idea of ‘being on display’ without any one I know and trust to deflect attention from me. It’s funny, I think we all feel like folks are watching us even though we realize nobody is watching anybody else because we’re all too busy being on our best behavior.
It occurs to me as I write this that I may be using this whole ‘I’m weird, but also normal, but kind of spazzy, but capable’ thought process as an excuse.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve really developed this attitude:

And if I look at it from that point of view I should just bust out and do whatever the hell I want and everyone else be damned.
Which brings us back to the whys and wherefores.
I’m making excuses.
Is it fear? Is it laziness?
It doesn’t matter!
With every excuse, I’m actually reducing the size of my comfort zone.
And that is just ridiculous!

There is magic in the world, but I know there is magic down deep in me.

No more boring!
I’ll stay in my comfort zone when I want to, because let’s face it, I love being comfy. But I’ll be working on making it grow, letting a little of the magic in me mix it up more with the magic out in the world.
This will be a process. One which I will journal about to really understand, but I’ll also be actively leaving my comfort zone to experience a different sort of existence. Learning to better balance my effort and desire. I remember being able to do it rather well. I just let my comfort zone shrink.

The best part about all of this is I’m aware.
I realize I’m not satisfied with the status quo.
I’m being mindful about how I feel and how I might best go about changing it.
However I end up moving forward, I can only do it by acknowledging where I am and working on where I’d like to be.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

feeling inspired

screenshot_2017-01-17-09-17-15-copy

Inspiration sometimes comes from the most surprising places. Thing 2 shared this old photo on facebook this morning. She has been uberpositive of late and it moves me greatly!

I took a screenshot to share.
It got me thinking:
Love the you that you are!
And love the you that you were. Sure, those you(s) need work…so do the work! But always love yourself unconditionally while you do the work.
Treat yourself with kindness!
You deserve to be treated with kindness. That starts in you, be kind to yourself. How else will others know to treat you with kindness?
Share your inspiration!
Stories of ‘failures’ are just as powerful as stories of ‘success’. We all “wore Crocs” at some point in our lives. That is both a good and perhaps a not so good thing. Embrace it. Let it be a source of hope and inspiration!

And in the words of my daughter: “Just freaking worship yourselves, okay?”
You deserve it!

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

live well and longer

img_0126

I adore everything about this!
It’s all true.
It’s simple enough to do every day.
If you’re not already doing it, doing it will change your life.
If you’re already doing it, you know how wonderful it really is.

I already love without measure. That’s just who I am.
I sort of eat half…
I walk between two and three miles a day at the elementary school.
I never ever laugh enough! Must laugh more!!
So, while there’s obviously room for improvement, it looks like I’m already on my way to living well and longer!
I say, Go me!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

the trick is knowing how to look for it

4502d460fe37700b465bb3c65c8d591a.jpg
I came across this Jac Vanek quote on Pinterest (I think? Maybe?) and I kind of dug it.
It sounds like me. It pretty much encapsulates the way I think and feel about life. We are the sum of our experiences, but I believe it’s how we choose to incorporate them into who we are that really counts.

ferris-life-moves-pretty-fast

Inspiration is all around us.
The trick is knowing how to look for it.

And remember, even Hannah Montana sang,

“Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock!”

(You may be having a pretty big WTF? moment right now. Asking yourself why I’m quoting Hannah Montana. Well, the girls were the right age to watch Disney channel shows when they were still fairly decent. The moment I began this post, this song came into my head. Just be glad I didn’t post the video.)

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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