Friday, 28 June 2013

Back in the Day!

Welcome back, everyone!

Why is it that when bad things occur in our lives, family and friends come together, forgetting trivial differences which have kept them apart, and join together as a close knit support unit for another? It's because we are all connected in many ways. Family is connected from birth and this bond is unbreakable! I am not just talking about our immediate family, but about our extended family...aunts, uncles, cousins, and your closest friends. Life has gotten in the way of simple things like visiting a loved one or just picking up the phone to ask someone how their day went. When bad things occur, nothing else matters. We drop everything and become a 'shoulder to cry on' or the 'wind beneath someone's wings'...that's just what families do!

Back in the day, life was simple and the best part of it was summer vacation! I remember sitting for hours with friends and family under our big Maple tree in front of our house. Many memories were made here...unfortunately our 'Giving Tree' fell over recently. It was hit by lightning years ago, and despite its' weakened roots managed to stay upright for many years, until it fell over last year. It seems empty now in front of my parents' and now sister's house, though nothing can erase the memories made under this tree.

Back in the day, we were taught family values, we were given a smack if we spoke in a disrespectful way to our elders, and most of all, we didn't have a care in the world. Summer vacation seemed to pass slowly. Our parents were not bringing us to soccer or baseball tournaments. We were spending our time around the picnic table surrounded by family and friends, sharing stories of the 'good old days.' I miss those days...

So, "Don't just sit there like a sea potato!" (as we often say in my classroom), it's never too late to pick up the phone and call a family member, maybe your uncle or a long lost friend, and reconnect, share a story of the 'good old days', or just to say, "I miss you."

Back in the day can be today! It's up to you to continue on your family traditions and pass them onto your children so that one day when they share stories with your grandchildren, they will say, "Back in the day when I was your age...



Friday, 21 June 2013

Following the Right Path or Not?

Hello Everyone!

Hope everyone got past the ups and downs of the week. Don't some weeks feel like there are more downs than ups, or you have one bad thing happen after another, and you feel like your life is spiraling out of control? We've all had this happen to us many times throughout our lives. How about having one good day after another, or feeling like your life is heading in the right direction? How do you know when you are following the right path? Sometimes we just know and other times we don't find out until it's too late...

Following the right path can involve a chain of events resulting in decisions in our lives that take us on a new path, usually uncertain, but once on this path, we realize that 'things do happen for a reason.' and we happily follow this path in anticipation of what is to follow...

I am presently on this path in my life. I've had a series of events occur over the past year that have sometimes made me feel like I was spinning out of control, and it wasn't until recently that I realized that each event had to occur in order for the next one to begin. Ask yourself this, "Is the cup half full or empty?" Most of us will say it is half empty when life seems unfair. What a great feeling when we see the cup as 'half full' ! We need to change our frame of mind to see the cup as 'half full' all the time!

Following the wrong path occurs the same way and we usually learn a lesson at the end of the path. It might seem like an unnecessary lesson at the time, and it's not until we are back on the right path that we realize the learned lesson was necessary.

I have taken many paths in my life that have led me in the wrong direction, but in the end, have brought me back to the path I was destined to follow.

How do you know you are on the right path? It's that feeling you get just know...

Twists, turns, ups and downs, winding uncertain roads, the light at the end of the tunnel...

We have arrived at the end...finally a new chapter has begun...

Pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine, now drink it. It is 'half full', isn't it?

Life is what you make it! So, make it a good one!



Friday, 14 June 2013

Things Really Do Happen For a Reason!

Hello Everyone!

Hope you are making it a good one with your family and friends. This post is dedicated to my family, to my closest friends who are my family, and to my friends who are my second family.

Do things really happen for a reason? I ask myself this question often. I strongly feel that people enter and leave your life for a reason, when you need them the most and when your life is heading towards the right path and someone is there to ensure you remain on that path. What about the people in your life who are always there for you no matter's that unwritten rule you have with them...I am lucky to have many! Thanks for your support!

My mom told me the other day that my grandmother used to tell her when she was young that life is not a straight road all the time. It has turns and twists and obstacles and bumps along the way, but in the end, we end up back on the right path. My grandmother was a wise woman, full of love, compassion, courage, and encouraging words. She always had something positive to tell me even when all hope was gone. When she left my life, I felt like my heart was broken into a million pieces. I thought it would never mend, but it did with time. Bits of my heart was filled with the children I taught, years later my heart was filled with the birth of my children. I knew then that my grandmother left my life for a send me two angels from above!

Obstacles are part of life and I've had many, like I'm sure you've had. There were so many times that I wondered why things were happening to me. I didn't know at the time that I was meant to follow this path which led me here...

Did you know that we have pathways in our brain that have been created from childhood and determine how we process things, good and bad. Did you also know that you can create new pathways that will eventually replace the old ones, and eventually change the way you look at life?  CBT! Cognitive Behavoir Therapy! It works and I am living proof of it. Thanks to one of the most important people in my life today...Dr. Arnold Ein. I would have never believed it last Fall when he told me. Thanks Doc for believing in me!

Today, my thoughts are no longer filled with anger, regret, and sadness, but they are filled with thoughts for my next post, what I will bake this weekend, when I will run next,
and thoughts of what and who will inspire me next!

Twists, turns, bumps, goals in mind, new paths to discover, new friends and old, not certain of what's to follow, hesitant...take and deep breath and smile at the endless are on your way!



Saturday, 8 June 2013

Setting Goals and Not Sweating the Small Stuff!

Hello everyone! Hope you had a good week!

Have you figured out what inspires you, what puts a smile on your face? Maybe, watching a movie like "Big Miracle." Doesn't this make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Doesn't a movie like this give you that feeling like you can be "the best possible person you can be...that you can truly make a difference, even if it's small?
   It can be as easy as setting a goal, passing on a new family tradition, or just doing something for someone without expecting anything but a thank you. I experienced this the other day at school when I expressed a wish to the kids that it would be nice one day if someone would bring the garbage to the lunch room without being asked. Guess what? Someone did? I was amazed that someone was listening to my words and felt compelled to perform this action! It wasn't the action itself that amazed me but the look in this child's eyes as I acknowledged his 'good deed' and how he was beaming from 'eye to ear'  as I congratulated him in front of his friends! He did the same thing the next day! Wow! It's moments like these that remind me why I became a teacher.
   I have many goals I want to accomplish. Small goals like cleaning the storage room and organizing my closest, challenging goals like running the 1/2 marathon next year and continuing this blog, and rewarding goals like creating this family book that will be passed on from my children to theirs.
    Be realistic when you set a goal. I find that if you set realistic goals, there is more of a chance to attain them, and less of a chance to be disappointed in yourself if you fail. Remember, this is for yourself! Don't worry if you didn't clean out the garage this weekend because it was too nice to stay inside, so you decided to go for a walk to the lake with your kids and teach them to skip rocks. That reminds me when I took the kids to the marsh one day and asked them if they knew how to skip rocks. Do you believe that most kids never skipped a rock in their life! Well, this was my opportunity to teach them this wonderful past time.
   I realized recently that I have so many things I still want to do, like volunteer at a retirement home and visit with the elderly and listen to their stories. They have so much wisdom to share and nobody to share it with. I guess growing up I was always surrounded by older people like my grandparents, or working at my dad's hair salon throughout high school and university. I remember being so touched by their stories, listening to their stories about being captives during the war. And yet, these wonderful people, with all the horror they endured still had something positive and encouraging to say to me. I remember the last time I saw the look in my grandmother's eyes before she passed away, she was telling me to have faith, to never give up hope, and that she will always be with me. I carry her strength, courage and passion for life with me.
   Whatever goals you set out to accomplish, 'give yourself a pat on the back', you took the first step to a better you.
   Since I started this blog, I realized how difficult it is to write creatively, and to figure out what to write about next week. My mind is now filled with ideas of future posts. I am not sure where this blog is going, but I hope my words inspire you in some way!
   Stay tuned for updates on our family book. I will post pictures of our progress, maybe I will share some family recipes with you, that can become favorites in your family.
   Remember, don't sweat the small stuff! Tomorrow is a new day, a new way to look at life, to inspire and become inspired, and to 'wake up and smell the petunias for the first time!
Thank you for all the views!



Saturday, 1 June 2013

Grandparents Are Our Link to the Past and the Future!

Welcome back , everyone! Hope you had a great weekend with your family!

When I look at myself in the mirror, do you know what I see? Besides the wrinkles and gray hair , I see a little bit of my grandparents.. my grandfather's nose , my grandmother's rosy complexion , the love of dipping Italian bread in homemade tomato sauce from my grandfather, and the warm smile, bright eyes, and strength from my grandmother! "Coraggio e sangue freddo!" as she always said...these are words I tell myself often when life throws me those curve balls and I feel like giving up! Being raised from grandparents is a blessing! Count your blessings if you are lucky like me!

Italian donuts
Family values are disappearing quickly. Like I said in my first post, we need to keep family traditions alive. I can still remember Christmas when I was a child. My grandmother would make these potato and flour donuts fried in oil..."Cudraridri" is what we call them in Calabria, Italy. They are sooo good and sooo bad for you but...Life is too short! My mom learned how to make these yummy donuts from my grandmother and this Christmas was the first time my mom showed me how to make them and I have to say for my first attempt...they were like my grandmother's!

Whatever your family tradition. old and new, it is necessary to keep them in our family for generations to come.

Ask yourself a question? What has changed since your were a child?...yes I get it! We have to drive our kids to every sports tournament and ballet recital...but what have we lost along the way doing this? The most important thing of all...we have forgotten what really's the simple things in stopping to "smell the petunias", listening to an elderly person's stories and taking a deep breath on that first Spring day and telling yourself that you're grateful at all you have...When was the last time you did something like this with your children?

Instead we complain, resent, envy, one another and always look at getting the latest electronic gadget for us and our kids...don't get me wrong I am one of you! I've done the same thing...but when does it stop?

I will tell you...when you wake up one morning and realize that the last 20 years have passed and you feel empty...Is it too late? Of course, not...Life may be short but this is our only chance to live it to the fullest and to be the "best possible person we can be". We already know that random acts of kindness are contagious, right? So, why not open a door for someone, smile at the grocery cashier and tell her to have a nice day...whatever it it and don't forget to pass these values onto your children! Children learn from example!

I always told myself that I would never be like my parents...I would be cool in my kids' eyes...guess what? I am my parents! When I preach to my kids, do you know what I hear? All my dad's words, all his life lessons, and  the importance of school and saving for a rainy day and I also hear my mom's complaining to pick up my clothes and clean my room! Thank you Pa and Ma...I was listening after all! Thank you for being my rock when the boys were born! I never realized a parents' love for their child until that day!

I am not cool in my kids' eyes! Do I care? My kids don't need me to be their best friend...they need me to teach them how to be respectful to others, to be trustworthy and reliable, and to take pride in everything they do! They need me to pass on our family traditions because this is their foundation that will shape them into the adult they will become.

Grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren...the past and the future all together at the dinner table! Precious moments... many tears shed here...happy and sad...worth every moment!

This is your life, make it worthwhile!