A blog about things that make me feel something. Do you feel it too?
Oh wait, this isn't going to be a book. It is just an attempt of mine to get my fingers typing and my brain thinking about writing again. Thanks for visiting!
|One thing about life, it is always changing. When I look back over my many years on this planet, I see the twists and turns and am always impressed by what I have enjoyed and endured. Last week, yet another twist gave me a bit of whiplash as I tried to quickly lean into the curve. I am going to be a grandmother again! I remember the first time I was informed that I would be a grandma. I was not pleased. I wasn't ready to be a grandma, I was too young (not really but didn't have the headspace to picture myself in a rocking chair with knitting on my lap). The situation wasn't ideal either but, here I am with 7 grandchildren and getting ready to welcome my 8th. Again, the situation is not ideal but I am gratified to say that I still have not been relegated to that rocking chair and I still haven't learned how to knit! Yay me! lol
Since my newest little blessing is a surprise and the situation less than ideal, I will be heading out to my home away from home in New Mexico to try to impart some calm, some hope, some joy to my daughter who has always wanted children but is definitely not ready yet to take on the joys of motherhood. I am so happy to be going back to my beloved Albuquerque. I am also grateful to COVID-19 and my wonderful boss because I can continue to work from home while I am there.
Life's twists and turns - I have learned to go with its flow and embrace the waves as they take me to my next destination.
Be safe and enjoy!
|Learning to Dance in the Rain
Here I am again. Finally, I feel like I am in a place to feel again. I have spent the last almost 3 years refusing to allow myself to succumb to my emotions. It has been a long trudge through the valley. Three years ago, I lived in a beautiful place, had a great job and was thinking about the future after long years of school and struggle. My children were grown and fairly healthy, on their own paths.
Then came the tornado that swept me and my family forcefully into the eye of the storm. As I blissfully planned my future and thought of my own hopes and dreams of the future, I received a call that one of my sweet daughters was threatening suicide and was in the psych unit in the local hospital. My peace was shattered and I immediately got on a plane to travel to where she was. What I found when I arrived crushed my heart and mind. As my dear daughter raved and wept, I was shell shocked, going through the motions of how to get her released and get her the help she desperately needed. I felt extremely guilty that I did not realize how far out on the ledge she had crawled. She put on a good front for me but shouldn't a good mother have seen beyond that? I quickly realized that my own issues were not relevant. This was all about my daughter.
This was my first experience with the realities of mental instability and what I have had to come to grips with in my mind and attitudes has rocked my world. I have spent the past 3 years learning and confronting my own biases regarding mental illness. I really wish this topic was spoken about more openly so we can all understand how we can help those we love when they are in need.
Ugh! I think that's all I can say about that now. The journey has been long, my daughter is still not well - just functioning, and there is so much more progress and learning to be done.
Feel free to comment or reach out to me. I am happy to share more in depth what I have learned and the realities of how hard it is to get the healing our loved ones who struggle need.
|This afternoon at our first seminar I asked our students to do a pre-mortem on their summer experience. Most of us have probably watched a crime show where the detectives gather around a corpse and listen to the coroner explain what killed the person. I think it is so important to evaluate ourselves with respect to a task pr life decision and give some thought to what kinds of things, whether external or internal, that could cause the 'death' (otherwise known as perceived failure) of that task or choice.
It can be hard for people to focus internally and identify, and then share, their fears. I was so proud of our students as they anonymously papered the wall with post-its covered with hastily scribbled words sharing their deepest fears as they embark on their summer projects.
Every year I am surprised and touched by the things these young people share. This year was no different. Some of the things that were shared were:
I am afraid that I am stupid, too slow to learn, will ask stupid questions.
I am afraid I have nothing to contribute.
I am afraid that my past will keep me from being successful.
I am afraid that my depression will get the best of me.
I am afraid because I am homesick.
I am afraid that I am not good enough to succeed .....
and on and on the list goes. Do any of these fears resonate with you, my reader? I know they do with me. These are all very real, very human emotions and fears. We all have them. It is part of the human condition.
My goal with this exercise is not to simply get the students to articulate their fears but also to then brainstorm together as a group to figure out how to overcome these fears. An excellent and important aspect of this exercise is when I point out that there are several obstacles that were mentioned by several different people. These students need to know that they are not the only people who have these fears. Our seminar pre-mortem was valuable and the suggestions and solutions that the students shared with each other will be helpful. Not only that, this exercise helps me to modify our time together by adding speakers, readings and activities that will help the students build their confidence muscle so that they can go forward and be successful. Not only will they be able to make the most of their summer here with us but, hopefully, these lessons will help them feel successful throughout their lives.
A post-mortem is done when their is no way to revive a life. I hope that our pre-mortem will be used by our students to build and live healthy, happy and positive lives.
I love my job!
|I met my 30 summer students last week and they are awesome! I still can't put faces to names yet but they are all fresh and excited, ready to get to work. As I stood up front sharing the program expectations and goals with them, I could see the flicker of fear in their eyes.
I recognized that flicker because I often have felt and still feel the same way, even at my age. I wonder, "can I do this?", "will I measure up or will I screw up". I have found that 'yes' is the answer to all of those questions, at least at different times in my life.
One of my goals for the program is to help the student's realize how valuable they are. They need to know that each and every one of them has a unique perspective to bring to whatever they do and that they can achieve their goals as long as they have determination. We all need to be honest with ourselves regarding our strengths, our weaknesses, our talents and our true goals. This is so valuable. After all, how would it be if everyone saw things and thought the same way.
We all grow up in society that holds us to external measures. Our parents have expectations that we often don't fulfill. The education system gives us grades which don't always measure our potential to learn and contribute. Significant others dump us. I have been dumped, disappointed my parents with my choices and even failed algebra two times. I maintain that these failures had nothing to do with my intrinsic value or my potential. All of the measures, all of the voices we hear as we grow up can lead to us believing what they say rather than what we know about ourselves.
It is good to have measures. We need them but we should never allow someone else's opinion deter us from believing in ourselves. I spent a lot of my life feeling inadequate and unimportant. It wasn't until much later in life when I became a Christian that I realized how valuable I really am. I really hope that I can impart this important fact to my students this summer.
By the way, I still stink at math but, thankfully, that did not deter me from listening to my heart and stubbornly following my own dreams.
Oh wait, this isn't going to be a book. It is just an attempt of mine to get my fingers typing and my brain thinking about writing again. What's on my mind tonight is tomorrow. Yep, I know we are supposed to live in the moment, yada yada but I can't help myself. Tomorrow, I will meet my 30 new students for the summer. I work at a University and I manage a summer biomedical research program. I look forward to this time every year.
The excitement and enthusiasm of youth is amazing. I really believe it keeps me young and, hey, it keeps me from having to drink the blood of virgins! *grin*
Seriously though, I appreciate having the blessing of mentoring and guiding young people towards achieving their goals. I wish I had had that when I was a youngun'. It is so important.
These students of mine are the lucky ones. They have had access to enough education to be able to succeed. Tonight, while I am excited about meeting and working with these bright-eyed, smart and talented achievers, I am also sad when I think of all of those young folks in our country who due to poor access to education, wretched family situations and even plain old hunger, may never have the chance to fulfill their God-given potential.
Here we are in the greatest country in the world and we don't value education enough to fund our schools or pay our teachers a decent wage. This really makes me angry. What can I do about it? Well, I vote and I have a job where I can make a difference in the lives of these young people. Oh, I wish I had a magic wand to fix things for all of the other young people who just will never even have a fighting chance.