Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

Always Three Seasons Ahead!

I get it. I understand that retailers need to promote holidays months ahead of time to try to make their nut during the season. But I feel as if putting out Christmas decorations before the end of September is a little extreme. Life moves fast enough without us wishing it away by trying to move faster!

 

Santa Claus vs. The Great Pumpkin

No, I am not suggesting the next great MMA match-up on pay-per-view.

santaI am actually lamenting the demise of autumn holidays in the United States. I know I have some readers outside the US and I would love to know if they see the same trends in their countries.

We see it every year – the holiday ads start earlier and earlier, the decorations that actually came down last January go up sooner and sooner. We spend so much time jumping on the planning for the next holiday, that we don’t even enjoy the one we should be celebrating. Sadly, this makes me dread my favorite time of year.

I have always loved autumn. Back to school season (which is like a holiday to us nerd-girls!) starts the trend of cooler days, crisper air, and changing leaves. While the earth starts to slow its growth and go to seed, I see a season of beginning. New semesters and school supplies have always done that to me! I long for a class to take, a skill to learn, (another book to write?) 🙂

Shortly after, we are in October – the season of the witch, the days of haunting and candy.  Trick-or-treating, costumes, carving pumpkins, caramel apples, hayrides, bonfires, scary stories… who can resist. Some believe that Halloween has its origins in Welsh or Celtic pagan tradition, while others see it as a Christian holiday. While scholars may disagree on the origins of this holiday, we can all agree that however you enjoy it, it is a festive time.

Before you know it, Thanksgiving is around the corner. Ah, turkey day. A time to give thanks for the harvest and the year past. A time to gather with friends and family and stuff ourselves with the bounty of the table! Another holiday that everyone wants to claim a part of , it is linked directly to the American colonists in Plymouth celebrating a fine harvest. However, it has also been linked to the Protestant Reformation and various harvest festivals, including Sukkot, a Jewish celebration, and the pagan traditions. Which ever was the start of it, don’t forget to save room for pie! 🙂

And then, there’s Christmas with all the decorations – both classy and campy, Santa Claus and his reindeer, brown paper packages tied up with strings, and with any luck at all some white frosty flakes to paint the landscape. What is not to love!? This holiday is steeped in Christian and pagan traditions. There is something for everyone from religious to secular.

Believe me, I am one of those people who hums Christmas carols in the grocery store and play them on the stereo at work. I love everything that goes along with the holiday. And even though we are typically pretty sparse on the decorations due to the crazy cat kids, I enjoy seeing them everywhere I go.

BUT

I don’t want to see Christmas ads and decorations in October any more than I still want to be seeing the neighbors blinking lights up in March.

We live in a hustle and bustle world. Very few people can truly say they stop to smell the roses, or play in piles of leaves, or make snow angels, depending on the season. Once we reach adulthood, we are expected to keep up with the Joneses, climb the corporate ladder, run right along with all the other rats in the race.

I get it.

But I don’t have to like it, and I don’t have to play the game.

And I don’t feel that the holidays should fall victim to this constant race to pass time quickly.

I want to savor every moment of every month and enjoy each holiday as its own. I don’t want to just have a happy holiday season and let that encompass a quarter of a year. I think the Great Pumpkin deserves his own time, as does Tom the Turkey. Santa and his elves need to back off a little and wait their turn.

So let’s make a pact, right here, right now.

Repeat after me.

I vow to enjoy Halloween and autumn in October.
I vow to enjoy Thanksgiving and the reflective month of November.
I vow to enjoy Christmas in December where it belongs.
Despite all the ads and press, I will not do my holiday shopping and gift wrapping until at least 12/1.

🙂

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

I Love School Supplies!

I admit it. I love school supplies and since the beginning of August I have walked through stores and fondled notebooks and pens, folders and crayons. I need a support group!

But September and the back-to-school season has always been my favorite time of year. A time to dive deep and start something new, a time to learn new things and open our minds.

Ah, September… Brings Out the Nerd in Me!

13fe461683f56d6823ee5f2787ff56f2What is it about the idea of September that turns me into a total nerd? More so than usual, that is? Is it the turning of the leaves, the crispness in the air, the new angle of the sun? Perhaps it is the sight of golden buses carrying youngsters to the hallowed halls to learn new things.

Whatever is to blame, I get an itch come September. It starts with the burning desire to buy school supplies though I have been out of academia for 24 years. I spoke of this affliction here. But the itch goes deeper than a Ticonderoga #2 could possible scratch! I love school – always have and always will.

I am a firm believer that anything can be learned either in a class, one-on-one, in a book, even on YouTube! Different methods for different students and I say go for whatever works.

My problem is focus. Here I am caught in the swirl of self-publishing angst, and all I want to do is learn to draw. Or make homemade pasta. Or use that beautiful Nikon camera we have sitting in a cupboard. Or play piano. Or _____________ (you name it and it has probably crossed my lips!). There is definitely not enough hours in my lifetime to learn everything that interests me.

passion2

A friend of mine has always urged me to do whatever blows my skirt up. What a great phrase! And it is perfectly apt. One person’s passion is the source of another’s boredom. If I were to discuss in detail all the things I want to quilt, I am sure your eyes would glaze over. Talk to me about sports, and you will have me for only as long as polite conversation deems necessary. (I do pay attention when my husband explains baseball and I actually ask questions, but honestly, the explanations go right out of my head within a few days.) Yet, I would never begrudge you your love of sports, or basket weaving, or fishing, or coin collecting. Those things have never called me with their siren songs, but if it kicks up your skirt, go for it!

Life is too full of must dos and have tos. We all need a little more passion and creativity in our lives. It is good for our mental and physical health! So as we start a new school year, give it some thought. What have you always wanted to learn? What did you love when you were young and had fewer responsibilities? What would you do with your free time (if you have any) that has nothing to do with your day job, chores, obligations? Find it. Go do that. Even if you can only manage an hour per week. Do it. It will make you feel alive.

passion

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

If your plate is full…

Four years ago, I talked about how full my plate already was and why I just keep adding to it. Well here I am – another year and more stuff on the plate. In addition to the day job and trying to squeeze in some time and energy for writing, I have been working on some textbook revisions for a publisher and have just agreed to help another instructor out with some classes. This week brought a phone call from a regional business school asking if I would be interested in teaching a new class next year. And I said, why not!?

I have learned that if you think your plate is too full, all you need to do is get a bigger plate! Somehow we manage to accommodate and meet new challenges. And after all, I am in a phase in my life where I am learning to say yes to things outside my comfort zone! 🙂

From 2013 –

If your plate is full, get a bigger plate!

I haven’t been around WordPress as much as I would like and I apologize for some slow blogging on my end.  Not only have I been trying to get over the loss of my two cats, and introducing some new kittens into the fold, but  it seems I may actually be crazy after all, which is something I always suspected. 🙂

After much consideration, I have decided to pursue Practice Management Certification (for my day job). There are some steps along this road that I need or want to accomplish before the big one though, beginning with Medical Coding Certification. Class starts tonight! Some people may think that taking on extra work and stress when it won’t affect my job title is a bit crazy, but I have always been a geek when it comes to school and classes and learning new things.

Now most of you know my love of back to school and all the pens and notebooks that it brings. And this morning was no different. I was downright giddy as I packed my new books into my new backpack and opened up packages of pens and highlighters. (It’s an addiction, I know.)

Upon hearing that I am about to embark on an 80 hour journey, some people have asked, “how do you have time for that?”

I think it is the same as with my writing. If something is important to you, you make the time. You juggle your other responsibilities and shift some priorities around temporarily and you just do it. I am not naive enough to believe that I can pull off this class AND NaNoWriMo this year. So sadly, that will have to wait for 2014. I also know that I will need to focus on this class and my board exam before I can focus on the self-publishing journey again.

But the beauty of having a lot of goals and dreams is that one does not necessarily preclude the other. There is no rule written in some ancient stone somewhere that says you can’t chase many dreams. Isn’t there a saying that says if you want something done, ask a busy person? Or, how about objects in motion stay in motion? 🙂

A friend and fellow blogger, Bee, said to me in an email that her day job grounds her in her writing. I have given this a lot of thought since she wrote it and I have come to understand that I agree with her.

As artsy as it is to moan about my day job cutting into my writing time, or keeping me too busy and brain-dead by the end of the day to even think about sitting down to play the violin, I like my job. It not only challenges me and gives me the opportunity to work with some great people, but it pays the bills and helps me really appreciate the time I can set aside for creative endeavors.

I know me. If I had 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to write, not a lot of writing would get done. I would find a lot of mindless tasks to fill my days. My day job keeps me pretty structured. I like the fact that I don’t have to travel for it, and for the most part, I can leave it at the office when I close the door at 530pm. That leaves me time to focus on other pursuits.

But I have also realized that after 20 years in the medical industry, I need to continue to challenge myself, and certification is a great way to do that. (And I can’t begin to tell you how old that just made me feel — 20 years? Seems like yesterday I was working retail fresh out of college!)

Anyhoo…

I will still be here – posting once or twice a week. I won’t be writing outside of here or working on my book again until after my class ends in late December. Wish me luck!! 🙂

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

YES is a Gift!

I think I have known for many years that saying yes to myself is important. Growing up we hear “no” so much that we learn to say it to our hearts. Too often, when we are adults, in the midst of our adult responsibilities, we say it to ourselves more than anyone around us.

Yes is our choice. Yes is a gift to ourselves.

Saying Yes

Today, I would like to talk about one of the most overused words in the English language -or probably any language.  That word is “no.”

Don’t get me wrong. “No” certainly has its place.  As children, we must learn that word to protect us from dangers we are too young to understand – hot stoves, strangers, crossing streets.  As teens, we have to learn that if we stay up to late, we will never make it through school the next day, and if we go to a party before we write that paper, we can kiss the A goodbye.  Parents must use the word no to help mold their children into job-keeping, tax-paying citizens.

But, too often, as we grow up and live our adult lives, we are hearing “no” when what we should hear is “give it a try.”  How often did guidance counselors tell you that your major in the creative arts was unrealistic and you should change to something more practical?  How many times did a family member tell you an idea was stupid – either because it was or because they didn’t want to see you fail or succeed?  How many times did a friend tell you that you shouldn’t do something a little crazy because people would laugh at you?  So you didn’t do it and in the process, you learned to say “no” to yourself.

After hearing “no,” and letting it guide our decisions for so many years, it is no wonder that so many adults find themselves living their lives with regret.  So often you hear people say if only, if only I had done this, or I should have done that, but now it is too late.  Well, I say they couldn’t be more wrong!

Maybe you said no to something small – not a life changing dream – but a hobby, something you were always drawn to but never pursued.  Did you want to paint, or rollerskate?  Did you dream of climbing mountains, or scuba diving?  Did you want to play the piano, the harmonica, the dijeridoo?  Maybe you wanted to build a rocking chair or sculpt an eagle out of soap.

Maybe the things you have regret over are bigger than that.  Did you let the love of your life drift away?  Did you settle for a safe career where you would have health insurance and a 401(k) when what you really wanted was to join the Peace Corp and help build schools in third world countries? Maybe you moved to a big city to pursue a job in stock trading, but you have always dreamed of living in the country.  Maybe you have always wanted to travel and have never left your hometown.

You have probably made up a lot of great excuses as to why you chose a different path, why you played it safe, and why you could never try these things now.  I don’t know how; I am too fat; I am not in good enough shape; I don’t have the money; I don’t know how to start; I will look like a fool; People will laugh at me; People will see me; I’ll fail; I won’t be any good at it; It’s too late.  We all have a list of excuses like this that we run through when we are trying to convince ourselves that we are better off staying right where we are and not dipping a toe in the water.

Bottomline? You never did any of these things because you have been saying “no” to yourself and to the universe.  And if you say it loud enough and often enough, the universe stops asking  you to come out to play.

Everyone is going to get a little homework now!  I want you to think of something that you have said “no” to and do one thing today that says “yes.”  You don’t have to shout it from the rooftops.  Though if you feel like jumping into the deep end, by all means, be my guest.  Even if it is just a whisper – say “yes.”

Google your dream.  I will guarantee you will find sites about it, whatever it may be.  Learn something about the topic.  Find an online forum and lurk where others are talking about it.  Find a teacher or a mentor. Check a book out of the library about your dream.  (As my husband will attest, I firmly believe you can find a book about anything. :)) Sign up for a class, subscribe to a magazine, get out  a notebook and just start brainstorming ways to bring this dream into your life.

Once you begin to say “yes” to your dream, the universe will toss opportunities into your path.  The universe LOVES “Yes.”

What have you been saying “no” to?  What would happen if you started to say “yes?” How will you start to say “yes” today?

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