Monday, February 28, 2011

Preparing for Joy - Joy in Preparing

I have been teaching for about 9 years now. You would think after that much time I would not need to prepare for my classes very much - but in fact I do. Sometimes I spend several hours preparing for a one hour class. I love the challenge of coming up with a good playlist and exciting choreography - it makes it that much more enjoyable to deliver a good class when I know I worked hard at it. The same goes for almost anything else in life. We usually spend MORE time preparing than actually enjoying the final event. A nice meal. A wedding. A vacation. A party. A purchase. Have you ever planned a home improvement project? The fun is actually in the planning and doing. Sure it is nice when you are done but you usually don't think about it again - you move onto something else. I think it makes a big difference in the outcome when you put that extra effort in the preparation. I could easily throw together a class or a meal with very little effort but every time I have the end result isn't as sweet. If you are going to do something I think it is usually worth doing well and you might as well enjoy every part of it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Childlike love

I had forgotten what it was like to love something as much as a person or pet or God. Little kids absolutely love their blankets, stuffed animals and toys. Julia just found a small Caterpillar in our yard yesterday. She named it Marfallow. She has been concerned about it all of the time. Does it have enough to eat etc. It was the first thing she checked on this morning and again when she got home from school. She was angry with me for not checking on it during the day....(what exactly was I supposed to check???). She sings and reads books to our pet rabbit and assures me that he knows what she is saying. She knows her 3 fishes personality. She stops on our walks to look at different kinds of flowers and notices their tiny detail. I can't remember the last time I paid that much attention to something like that. When do we lose that ability to see the world in wonder? I want to get it back. I want to appreciate everything. I guess I just need a 10 year old to teach me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I am SO selfish. I fight it on a daily basis. I love to have new clothes. I love to shop for things I know I don't need. I love getting the approval of others. I love doing things on my own. Someone asked the question the other day "are you willing to be uncomfortable to make someone else comfortable?". Sometimes I am but most of the time I am not. Most of the time I try and find ways we can both be comfortable. I need to learn how to sacrifice more - give more - help more - and love more. I need to be reminded every single day - what is important. The more I grow the more I realize how much further I need to go. It is a LONG way with many lessons. I am so grateful that God is so forgiving - otherwise I would be in big trouble.

Monday, February 21, 2011


It is hard for me to imagine a world without music. It invokes so much emotion and can be so incredibly powerful. I think that is one of the biggest reasons I love teaching so much - our classes have such incredible music. I was listening to one of my favorite soundtracks the other day. One of the songs reminded me of a time when John and I were watching a sunset - listening to that song. We both became so overwhelmed by the beauty of not only the sunset but the music as well. It is amazing how music can have a completely relaxing effect or an energizing effect. I have seen people walk into class bouncing off of the walls and when a soothing song comes on I can see them breathe and settle down. I have also seen people walk in looking like they need a nap and within 20 seconds of hearing a good beat the get going. I love to have music on in the house that matches how I am feeling or what I am doing.

I found out over a year ago that I have hearing loss. I apparently was born with a defect in both of my ears that has caused low frequency hearing loss. This is opposite of what most people experience with hearing loss. I have a hard time hearing male voices sometimes (that is why I had it checked in the first place). We don't know how much hearing loss I will have but I have learned to appreciate everything that I can hear. I love to get "lost" in music or the sound of the ocean. My children's voices or my husbands laugh.

It is so easy to take advantage of all of the blessing we have until one gets taken away. Count your blessings and turn on your favorite tunes. See what it does for your day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Look for the Love

So many people hate Valentine's Day. Maybe they are just too focused on what they don't have. I get overwhelmed by the love that surrounds us. God's love is so apparent - the beauty of every flower, the color of the sky, the warm sun - His amazing mercy. A lot has happened in our life this past year. I was just as overwhelmed then as I am now. Love is everywhere - we just have to open our eyes to it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Please & Thank you

I am not sure what is going on in our society but these little things seem to be disappearing. It is amazing how much a "please" and "thank you" will do. In a world that is often "mine, mine, mine" it is easy for most of us to overlook manners sometimes. We are usually in a hurry and it is just one extra little step - but I think it is a VERY important one. I am not Emily Post but the lack of respect I see sometimes really bothers me. We are all just human - regardless of our profession, status, or gender. It is just as important to genuinely thank your boss as it is the bus boy filling up your water glass.

Picture yourself, after a very long and challenging day, walking into a coffee shop for a little pick me up. The person behind the counter looks you in the eye, smiles, and genuinely asks how your day was. You reply with a grumble but the way that person cares makes you feel a bit better - like getting a hug. You thank that person - not only for the coffee but also for the "pick me up". You feel better because someone cares and that person feels better because they can tell they made a difference. Now imagine walking into that same coffee shop and getting a grumbling person behind the counter with an attitude and acts like he/she is being really put out by having to do something for you. What does that do to your day? What does it do to that persons day? It is the little things that can turn your day around and influence the people around you.

So, next time, let that stranger go in front of you in line. Open a door. Say "thank you" and mean it. Make it a goal to make someone else's day better - every day.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Baby Steps

Good things come to those who wait.... There is a big difference between just waiting for things to happen to you and making small direct moves to reach a goal. I have several friends doing Weight Watchers right now. The idea behind WW is to change your eating habits for good - this just takes time. The weight does not just fall off but it does come off.... slowly. A pound a week doesn't sound like much when you are reading the headlines at the supermarket ("I lost 122 lbs!") but in one year that is over 50 pounds. Overnight success stories are so rare and usually short lived. I think if we have small, medium, and large goals in our lives and we can make daily small strides to reach them we eventually will. Even if it is only 5 minutes a day. What big dreams do you have that you are waiting around for? How can you break that down into smaller goals to reach that dream? What can you do today to start getting there?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Music to my ears

Sitting here in my kitchen listening to my children make music together in one of their rooms. Jack is playing the guitar and Julia is singing..... and they actually sound good. They are loving every minute of it and it brings tears to my eyes that they love each other so much. It's the little things.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I like ______ about myself.....

I think most of the time we spend thinking about ourselves is done so with criticism. We concentrate on all of the things we do wrong or feel are wrong. Our weaknesses. Our deficits. This condition, to think critically of ourselves then spills out onto others. I was reminded of this this morning in a group of women I meet with. It is important to look at what we like about ourselves - then we can see it more easily in others. It is impossible to give to others when our own self esteem prevents it. God made us perfect in His light - it is our job to acknowledge it. Not liking ourselves is, in a way, selfish. In order to be selfless we need to start liking ourselves and get over it. Good time to make that list of all of your attributes and treasures :)