Friday, August 30, 2013

Organ Donation Conflict

A women wrote in to the opinion section of the newspaper that I read and talked about organ donation. She mentioned that lots of parents are excited and nervous this time of year for their kids going back to school. But she knows some parents who are only sending one child to school this year instead of two because their daughter was not able to receive a donated heart and so she died.

I feel a lot of sympathy and pain for these parents, especially since I've lost a child myself and am missing sending that child to preschool soon. But my conflict is that someone would have to die for that poor little girl to get a heart. Someone else would be grieving their loved one for the girl to live, and I would feel sad for that family too.

It's a big catch-22 for me. People are understandably concerned that they are waiting for an organ donation, but at the same time, each donated organ comes at the unspeakable price of a life. 

I am enrolled as an organ donor, and I know people really need organ donations, but at the same time I want to keep all my organs for a long time, I want to live. Each organ donor death helps someone else live. One family is devastated at the loss while the other rejoices in new life with much thanksgiving. An circle of life pattern.

It reminds me of a cute chick-flick that also brings up an interesting thought- Return to Me. David Duchovny and Minnie Driver make a cute love story, but at the expense of his first wife. His first wife's heart returns to him in a new woman. He was able to find a new love, but at the same time, he lost his first love. It's romantic yet heartbreaking.

With full support for organ donation, I also understand there's a lot of conflicting emotion wrapped up in each donation. As all life lessons teach, there's a need to be sensitive on both sides of the issue.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Choices, Choices, Choices

I was crocheting some dish scrubbies (I made the one in the picture!) and watching Ted Talks. I watched two videos in a row that seemed to almost contradict each other, but not quite.

Malcolm Gladwell tells the story of Howard Moskowitz and how Howard revolutionized the food industry starting with spaghetti sauce- click here to watch the video. Howard found out that there was not one perfect spaghetti sauce, there were actually several perfect spaghetti sauces, including chunky. The spaghetti sauce people had been doing surveys trying to find out what people wanted in a sauce, but nobody quite knew how to word it. Howard's taste tests revealed that lots of people preferred chunky but didn't even realize it. So they rolled out a bunch of chunky spaghetti sauce and it was a big hit!

Barry Schwartz talks about how people think they want lots and lots of choices, but actually having a plethora of choices doesn't make them happy -click here to watch the video.

I've read several times that when dealing with toddlers, give them two choices and they will be happy because they get to pick, and you will be happy because you set limits. Ask them, do you want pancakes or waffles? They pick one and you make it. Ask them, what do you want for breakfast? They'll probably say they don't know or say they want breakfast burritos, but you don't want to make breakfast burritos.

So people want choices, but they want limited choices, and a choice that they want. Ask a kid if he wants eggs or waffles, and if he doesn't like either he won't be happy. Give people what they want in small variety and you will have happy people. Be specific because people know what they want even if they can't find the words to express their thoughts.

A few simple and good choices will make everyone happy!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dying To Be Together

There's a story going around about a couple that was married for sixty-five years, and they died within eleven hours of each other.

If my husband and I can't die in our sleep at the same time, then eleven hours apart would work for me. I pray for long, happy, healthy lives with my husband and daughter and any other kids we may have. It's my dearest wish.

Live long and prosper!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Honk If You...

Have you ever been driving and saw someone you knew so you honked to get their attention to wave hello? And then the person in front of you flips you off in the mirror because they think you're mad at them?

There's a simple solution in my mind. All cars should have two horn sounds.

There should be a horn sound that means, "Hey, you make a bad driving decision and endangered my life- stop it!"

And there should be a horn sound that means, "Hey, I know you! You're my friend so turn and wave at me!" or "I'm truly not mad, I'm just don't think you saw the light turned green." or for honking if you love minions and the above cab drives by you!

People would be less confused and there would be a lot more friendly interaction between people in cars.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ten Minute Walk

Taking a ten minute walk gets you moving physically, increasing oxygen to your brain and body. You get outside in the sun and breathe some fresh air. You also get ten minutes to yourself to relax and work out some thoughts. It's an all around win-win!

I know when I first had my baby I would sometimes get overwhelmed. I would just stick her in her stroller and go for a walk, luckily it was spring turning into summer, so not too hot or cold. Going out the door I would be about to cry, but by the time I got home I would have regained my composure and be ready to take care of our unexpected bundle of cuteness. My walks were my sanity savers.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Passion On Fire


Like the saying says, 'If your job is one you love, you never work a day in your life.' If you can figure out what you're truly passionate about, not just what you like a lot, but what you love, you've found your passion, and you've found what you're good at.

I'm kind of a jack-of-all trades, trying a little of lots of things. But doing this helps me find what I'm passionate about, what I'm willing to put lots of time and effort into. What I want to do for me not for someone else.

One thing I love doing is writing this blog. I had a friend ask me how I found time to write so many posts. I told her that I do it when my daughter naps and sometimes write multiple posts in one day. She was still impressed. A deeper answer would really be that I make it a priority. I want to do it, and I do it for me. Yes, I'm really glad you're reading this and I hope you enjoy it, but if I was only doing it for the readership and not because I liked it, this blog wouldn't last. I love writing this blog. I love you reading this blog. I love your comments and likes on this blog. Thanks for enjoying the journey with me!

I know people who are passionate about certain things whether they be political, religious, physical, mental, or relationships. Everyone knows they feel strongly about it and that they act on it. They can be tools for enlightenment, appreciation, and change.

Find your passion, and you'll find what you're good at, and you'll be on fire in enjoying your passion.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Food, Glorious Food!

I like to cook, bake, and create in the kitchen. It's satisfying to me to make a really good tasting meal, especially when it's also healthy. It's even better when the people I'm feeding, usually my husband and daughter, really enjoy it also and want seconds.

I didn't make the food in the pictures above, but I've made food that is just like them. Cooking is an art and a science. Some recipes do need to be followed exactly with just the right ingredients, temperature and baking time. Most recipes though can be fiddled around with, which is what I mostly do.

I learned to cook from my mom. I remember many evenings sitting on a stool by the counter talking with my mom while she cooked and I helped. I watched what she did, and she showed me certain techniques, and her tutelage has paid off.

I really appreciate all she taught me, especially the importance of cooking meals at home, mostly from scratch, and eating together as a family. I enjoy cooking, and I know if I wait long enough, my husband will do the dishes!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Full Of Holes and Bruises

My friend, KP said, "It's funny to me how we all live in these 'boxes' and can only see out of a small hole right in front and as we 'experience' life more holes open up. I feel full of holes but I'm sure there's many more to come. But I'm always surprised when someone who must not have very many says something that is insensitive and thoughtless."

I'm not sure what the thoughtless comment was, but I know I've received thoughtless comments before. Sadly, I've probably unintentionally said some as well, I apologize. 

We all have different weak spots, bruises, that hurt a lot when they're pushed. Some people know your weak spots already and push them on purpose- avoid those people or situations if you can. Pick your battles. Most of the time, you can't see the weak spots on other people, so they get hit by mistake.

Recently my husband had a run in with someone when he jokingly said something and the person had an instant rage reaction, almost slapped my husband. Luckily the person barely pulled it together in time, but it was a little scary. There was no way my husband could have known how bruised the person was. But they were bruised and reacted out of anger. It wasn't a pleasant situation.

It's really a catch-22 regarding holes and bruises. People with bruises need to realize when something hurtful was said intentionally or unintentionally and react appropriately. Either way, they need to be able to let it go so it doesn't hurt them more. 

On the flip side, people without a lot of holes need to learn quickly to poke more holes in their box, which usually happens by accidentally poking someone's bruise or by getting bruised themselves.

Learn to watch what you say, think before you speak, and be sensitive of others. And learn to let dirty water flow under the bridge so you bruise doesn't get worse.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday Laughs

A little kid went to his first football game. They had great seats right behind their team's bench. After the game, his Dad asked him how he liked it.

 "Oh, I really liked it," he replied, "but I just couldn’t understand why they were killing each other over 25 cents."

Dumbfounded, his Dad asked, "What do you mean?"

"Well, they flipped a coin, one team got it and then for the rest of the game, all they kept screaming was...

'Get the quarterback! Get the quarterback!' "

Friday, August 16, 2013

Beautiful Inspiration

I think deep down we all have this desire, or at least most of us that are trying to live. We all want to be noticed and recognized for the good we do, for the amazing people we are. You are noticed, you are watched, you are inspiring, but most people don't tell you that. You make a difference in the world every day. The difference you make is choosing good over bad, choosing right over wrong. People see you and they appreciate you. Sadly, they don't tell you, or not often enough, but they love you.

I wrote a poem: 
Beautiful People

There go the beautiful people. 
Beautiful in success, beautiful in looks,
beautiful in wealth, in love, in life.

You speak to them with
False overtones of friendship,
Saying words of praise that
Never let them know they are beautiful.

Feeling that true words of praise,
Would raise them above you.
Thinking their beauty
Takes away from you own.
If their light shines bright,
Does it make yours dim? No.

And so you go on through life
Amongst the beautiful people,
Feeling competition but never winning.
Never realizing that to someone
You are a beautiful person.
Never realizing that truly
We are all beautiful people.

What can you do that will make people truly inspired by you, that will leave you in their memories wreathed in love? Let them know they are beautiful, and you will be beautiful. Appreciate them and they will appreciate you, you will inspire them to be beautiful like yourself.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pick The Similarities

Do you ever feel like the red apple in a barrel of green apples? Just remember you are all still apples.

 To an orange, it doesn't matter if you are red or green, you're still an apple.

To vegetables, it doesn't matter if you're an apple or an orange, you're all fruit. But where does the tomato go? Fruit or veggie- the debate is still out.

 To the bread, rice, and cereal, the grains, even though the fruits and veggies are in different boxes, they still think of them all as produce. The chickens, pigs, cows, and peanuts all feel so different, but aren't they all just the protein group?

Think a green apple is so different from a red apple from a carrot from a cow? Try toys verses food! These are all so different, so what makes them the same?

They are all good things for growing little kiddies! You wouldn't give your kids just red apples, just the same as you wouldn't give them only veggies and no toys. Little kids need all these things, and they are all important in a child's life.

But are adults, grandparents, and parents that much different than kids? We lump them in different groups all the time, we think of them as different people almost. They all contribute differently to society. We feel more comfortable with certain people than with other people, different races, different ages, different sizes, different personalities, different likes and dislikes, different thoughts- different people.

But if it was a different human verses an alien, the human would win. If aliens were attacking, the completely different humans would feel a strong connection to each other and band together regardless of wars and differences. Deep down we are all humans, we are all the same. We all want and need love, family and friends, toys (fun activities), and food, whether it be a red apple or green. Pick the similarities.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Brain Filters

Five people experience the same event. They all write down what happened and now there are five versions, all different, of the exact same event. Five people watch the same video. They all write down what the video was about and now there are five versions, all different, of the exact same video. Even if I go through the exact same thing as you, we will never have the same experience. If I hear the exact same speech as you, we will both interpret it differently.

That is why we can never say we know exactly how someone else feels, because though our experiences may be very similar, there is always something in someone's brain that alters their experience differently from our own.

That is why we can learn from other's mistakes but ultimately have to make our own mistakes anyways. That is why we all grieve differently. That is why children from the same family end up with drastically different views on life.

That is also why we should share ideas with each other, share our stories, share our viewpoints with each other because we all have different viewpoints that can help enlarge other people's thinking.

Many times in my life, someone has said something that changed how I thought of a concept or experience. Their viewpoint was one my brain couldn't/didn't think of by itself, but when I heard it, my brain applied it to my life and I was enriched.

In my writing class, a man told a story of how he was transporting tigers from one state to the next for a zoo. He had stopped at a gas station and a little boy had seen the tigers in the back of the van. He ran to tell his mom that he saw tigers in the car next to his, but his mother wouldn't believe him. She couldn't conceive the idea of there being tigers in the vehicle next to theirs at a gas station so she refused to believe him though he was telling the truth. The man said he is now careful with himself when listening to his kid's stories to try to understand when they are telling the truth though it may not seem like it.

Our teacher then asked, "Is it possible to see things that aren't really there?" We said that it probably was. So the teacher then asked, "So anytime a child says they saw something, then to them, they probably did see it, right?"

Children have amazing imaginations. They see knights in shining armor, fire breathing dragons, and a beautifully dressed princess in an empty field while they play. If a child tells you he talks with his dog and his dog answers, then to him, the dog probably does answer- it's real to him.

As much as you think you know someone, you can never know them completely. The phrase live and let live comes to mind. As long as a person is not hurting you, then why can't they live their own life? If they are hurting you, get help and put some distance between yourselves.

If we could understand each other's points of view, there would be more sympathy, more kindness, more appreciation, more understanding, and more generosity. Let's live in that world, even if it's only in our own minds.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mmm, Delicious

There's an expression, "You can't trust a skinny chef! "I do a lot of cooking at home, does that make me a chef? Does that give me license to have a little extra weight? I wish!

I have a little extra weight, as do most people. Mine is mostly due to being pregnant twice. It really takes a toll on the body. Even if I were to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight, my body still has stretch marks that probably won't ever fully fade away. Women's bodies go through such an extreme change during pregnancy that to go back to a flat stomach is very unrealistic. We all know women who have had a couple kids and still look like they are teenagers, but that's not the usual case.

I told my husband, if I ever gain a lot of weight, at least I'll be more comfortable to lean against! He just laughed.

Everybody's body shapes are different, so it's not just about being at a certain weight, it's about living a healthy and happy lifestyle.

I don't think eating pizza is bad, but eating only pizza every day for every meal would be bad. I don't think eating broccoli is bad, but eating only broccoli every day for every meal would be bad. Life's all about balance, especially as far as being healthy is concerned.

It's okay to eat chips and cookies and pizza, as long as it's in moderation. Would it be better to never eat those foods, probably, but it's also unrealistic and undesirable to ban them from your life.

The food pyramid, which has changed slightly over time, and now the plate portions are good guides to eating a balanced diet, the second pyramid adding exercise also.

It's all a personal choice. It's also about what you offer to your family. If all that's in the pantry is chips, cookies, candy, and soda pop, then that's all your family will eat. If there's a bag of chips behind the wheat crackers, then there's better variety and choice.

I've always been a big water drinker. When my husband and I first started dating, I ordered water with my meal at the restaurants per usual. About our third date, he said, "You can order a drink, it's okay." He wasn't sure if I really liked water that much or was worried about adding the price of a drink to the meal. I really like water that much. I had a roommate tell me, "I didn't think it was possible to actually drink eight glasses of water a day, but now I know you can because you do it!" I keep a cup handy in the kitchen, next to the fridge that I use all day to drink water.

A couple other things I'm doing to be more healthy is to try and have a fruit with breakfast and for a snack. It helps that my daughter loves fruit, so we share it together. Also, I'm trying to make sure and have a vegetable with lunch and dinner. It seems like it should be easy, but sometimes I get dinner all ready and forget to add a vegetable until we are putting the food on the table. Cooking vegetables into the main dish is the easiest way to add veggies to a meal.

I've also been buying pasta made with veggies or whole wheat pasta. If you have a nice sauce, you don't notice the whole wheat pasta as much. We also buy whole wheat bread about half the time. There are just some thing that taste better with white bread like garlic bread and French toast. But we've still used whole wheat bread for those and it works fine. I also buy whole wheat tortillas for me, and white tortillas for my husband or when I use them to make a big dish like enchiladas.

Being healthy is a work in progress, and it's a lifestyle. It's a lifestyle that my husband and I want to have along with the pizza and cookies. We want a mix of everything, a nice balance, and we're working together to achieve that.

Friday, August 9, 2013

An Open Heart


Sometimes we try too hard to make certain people a part of our lives that really don't want to be there. It takes a lot of effort on our part without positive results. As hard as it is, sometime it's better to let the person go and move on with our lives. It will hurt, but the pain will lessen, and hopefully someone else will help fill the gap you've been trying to fill with the wrong person.

I think this happens a lot- we expect more from others because we would be willing to do that much for them. Unequal relationships lead to bitterness and anger. Taking the time to talk with someone about your expectations and their expectations can help clear up misunderstandings. If both are willing to compromise and work out a new solution, it can open up a path for a beautiful relationship.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Who Cares? Not Me

 I braved the heat and took my daughter for a walk yesterday morning. It's cool enough before the sun comes up, but once the sun peeks over the mountain, the sweat starts pouring.

I pushed her in the stroller around the neighborhood and actually attempted a little bit of jogging. I also, hesitantly at first, did some arm exercises while I was walking, one hand pushing the stroller, the other waving in the air. I almost stopped after the first arm curl ups but then decided that it doesn't matter if people saw me looking crazy with my arms flailing around. (It did look better than flailing, but still funny looking.) I was obviously dressed in exercise clothes and out taking a walk, so adding in a little jogging, walking lunges, and arm exercises made sense. I figured that if people thought I looked funny, well, who cares? I was out exercising and they weren't, so I win!

Then in my creative writing class this week, a group of university students taking a communications class visited our writing class for their group project. They told us a story about themselves, and our writing exercise was to act as a psychologist taking notes and then read it back to them for their critique. It was a little intimidating at first to be asked to analyze someone then tell my findings to their face. But after a couple seconds I figure that chances are I would never see these people again, so what did it matter what I said?

Life is much easier when I can let go of my inhibitions and feel free to be myself around people. Oddly, it can be easier to do that around strangers, rather than people I know. Probably because with strangers there will be no accountability later. But if I can be true to myself and let me be me, then it will make life less stressful and more fun.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Extra Kids In A Cleaner House

 I started watching two little girls for just an hour every day, the overlapping hour between their parent's work schedule. It's felt like this:

That's probably because I don't want other kids playing with my daughter's toys, so I pick them all up, and anything else I don't want touched, then I shut all the doors and pull out our guest toy box. It's all the toys we don't like as much, so we don't mind if all the kids play with them.

Our house isn't dirty, more cluttered- toys strewn all over the floor, piles of mail and coupons on the counter, dishes overflowing the sink. But once I pick them all up, it looks quite nice. Most of the time our house looks pretty good, but it's been looking extra good in the living room since the babysitting started last week.

Before sometimes it felt like this:

And I would say something like this:

It's so easy to get sucked into the world of the internet with blogs, pinterest, facebook, google searches, online shopping/window shopping, games, and everything else. It's worth it to make a concerted effort to do this:

More doing: house cleaning, exercising, playing, enjoying nature, reading a physical book or magazine, and interacting with people. More doing, less viewing!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Put Your Worries Aside

 My mom pulled these thoughts from an article: that are worth sharing. Everybody has worries, and these tricks can help keep those worries under control.

FOR WORRY WARTS-- Set aside a time for worrying. Your worries relate to real and practical problems in your life, so you cannot rid yourself of them altogether, but you can learn to control when you think about them. Fyodor Dostoyevsky famously commanded his brother not to think of a white bear, and we know from the experiment on thought suppression which followed that, given that instruction, you can think of nothing but a white bear. … Likewise, telling people not to think of their worries isn’t going to work. Instead Kerkhof recommends the opposite. Set aside 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening to do nothing but worry about the future. Sit at a table, make a list of all your problems and then think about them. But as soon as the time is up you must stop worrying, and whenever those worries come back into your head remind yourself that you can’t contemplate them again until your next worry time. You have given yourself permission to postpone your worrying until the time of your choice. Remarkably, it can work. It puts you in control.

If you find yourself awake in the middle of night worrying, with thoughts whirling round repeatedly in your head, he has several strategies you can try. This is where imagery comes in useful again. Imagine there’s a box under your bed. This is your worry box. As soon as you spot thoughts that are worries, imagine taking those individual worries, putting them into the box and closing the lid. They are then to remain in the box under the bed until you decide to get them out again. If the worries recur, remind yourself that they are in the box and won’t be attended to until later on. An alternative is to choose a colour and then picture a cloud of that color. Put your worries into the cloud and let it swirl backwards and forwards above your head. Then watch it slowly float up and away, taking the worrying thoughts with it.

Having a back up happy thought to replace your worries will help too. I like food, so I'll think of my favorite foods, or I'll think of a happy memory with my family. Also, songs are great distractors; start singing your favorite song in your head, and it will cheer you up and take your mind off your worries. Hakuna Matata!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Jack Of All Trades

Sometimes I feel like a jack of all trades. There are many things I would really like to do and even more I would regular like to try.

When I was in elementary school I thought it would be fun to be a teacher when I grew up, then through the schooling years I was also interested in being a school counselor, a writer, a musician, a librarian, a psychologist/therapist, and a couple other things. In addition to all those, I've also been interested in graphic design, drawing, painting, crafting, cooking, and blogging.

I think it would be fun to start a small business with crafts, games, blogging, or a small restaurant, or be an author, song writer/musician, or motivational speaker.

Right now I'm taking a creative writing class, and in the past I've taken drawing classes, music classes, stained glass class, Spanish classes, and cooking classes.

I've got lots of ideas for songs and books, and I've got many of them written down here and there and even more in my head.

There's a lot I want to do, and I want to try all of it, but I have to narrow my focus to be successful. Maybe I'll never be extremely successful in one area, but I will have had my hand in a lot of areas and had fun with it, and to me that is success.