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Showing posts from April, 2013

Zipping things up...

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Today is the last day of the A to Z Challenge, a month long writing challenge where every day's topic starts with the next letter of the alphabet, ending with today, April 30. This has been an incredible run. Today marks my 113th day in a row blogging...over 3 months, one-quarter of the year. Choosing to blog has been therapeutic and inspirational. I have met other bloggers, sorted out my thoughts, and shared with others.

Today I am zipping April up but not zipping up the thoughts or feelings that I have felt or shared during this month. Today also marks thirty days until the end of the school year. This year that I have talked of often, a year where trials and tribulations have been far more present than experiences of joy. This year, my 21st year, I hope has been one that is a tipping point, that rapid change can occur. I want an epidemic of change, positive powerful instances where change is present and frothing to the top.

Today, this 113th day of writing, is the beginning of…

Yesterday's Troubles...

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One of the most difficult things about life, in general, is trying not to dwell on yesterday. We, as humans, have a tendency to perseverate on things of the past rather than look forward into our future. We cannot change the past, it happened, yet we are constantly looking back, expecting something different.  It is important to learn life lessons, but we must not reside in the place of the past..

Moving forward to a new chapter is healthy...building new life, new dreams, new hopes. Living backwards means that there is not room for new growth...we are looking inward instead of beyond.
Waking every day with a hope and plan of life anew allows for refreshing and renewing of relationships, for beginnings rather than ends. Life is about constructing from the ground up...once the solid foundation is built, we can move on, look beyond. Revisiting the foundation over and over stagnates our personal growth and our ability to grow with others.
At the beginning the growth is small, like a tiny …

SuperPowers...

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There are areas of our lives where we are helpless and there are areas where we have SuperPowers...I am a mother of four and a teacher, guess where I use my powers?

Being a mother requires many skills, some of which I performed well and others, well, I must say that I could have done a better job. I guess as a parent, we can all say that there are times when we could have done a better. I can think of many, but know that I did the best job that I could do at the time.

Being a teacher? Now that's a job that requires SuperPowers...Sometimes when I think of the magnitude of the job, it is more than overwhelming. I am educating the future...teaching those who will be leaders, CEO's, visionaries, inventors, teachers. I am helping to shape the minds of those who will be shaping the minds of others. It can sometimes be both a daunting and overwhelming task. I realize the profound impact that I have to potential to make.

Each of my teacher friends carry this same burden...we are build…

X Chromosome...

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The x-chromosome...it's strange to think how this one piece of genetic DNA, which determines my gender, would become an area of such controversy in my life.

When my sweetest boy was born, there was clearly an issue. I have talked about this before...if you don't know about my sweetest boy, you might read the The MD of Me..., which gives some much needed background! Anyway, when the sweetest boy was diagnosed with Myotubular Myopathy at age 2, I knew we were in the right place, but since then there have been varying degrees of questioning and agony...after all, I gave him this disease...it is X-linked, from me, his mother.

For years, I have joked that my brother was our mother's favorite because she gave him the good X. I have struggled, wondering if I had given my daughter the bad X. It seems that the last nine years has been all about the X. The X-chromosome, it holds mysteries beyond belief...color-blindness, hemophilia, Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy...and MTM. I hav…

Wonderland...

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When Alice was entering Wonderland, she had to decide to drink or eat. Once she drank out of the bottle, she shrank so small she couldn't open the wonderful door, but when she ate the cake, she grew too big. Once she entered Wonderland, she was met by a variety of creatures...was it a dream? Was it real?

I am in Wonderland...wondering do I drink or eat?  What would happen? Would I become so small if I drink that I would be powerless and unable to do anything? If I eat and grown so large will I become an obstacle to change? Would I get in the way of movement? I want to be part of the change...part of the next step. I want to be small enough to hide, not get in the way...but big enough where my voice is heard, where I am part of the solution.

The creatures I encounter have varying personalities, some try to sway my mind, some try to show a world that is fiction, while others are walking beside me, seeking the way...as I walk around Wonderland, I look around...wondering who it is tha…

Vision...

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Thirty-three days...That is how many more days of school remain in the 2012 -2013 school year. Thirty-three days to finish strong, sweep the frustration under the carpet, rule the school. Verily we go along...I believe that the final thirty-three days can be the best thirty-three days of the year...why do I believe this? Because I must! We must be unyielding, in a place where we want to look forward to building something better. Faith in each other and trust in our abilities, people feeling respected and valued. Building our house on collaboration and strength. Together, we can do great things, divided we can do nothing.

Common vision is crucial to success. Our school needs to be a learning environment that is built on support and respect. Every person crucial to the functioning, a building block required to make our school a powerful place.

When I close my eyes and imagine what it could be like...I see a school where students are learning, positive, respectful, engaged. Students are…

Unbelievable...

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Sometimes you get what you ask for and that can seem pretty unbelievable. Two things make me think this today...one is that I am getting a gift for my husband that he has wanted for as long as I have known him. I will share tomorrow the exciting reveal, but for tonight, just say, "Unbelievable!" I also said today, "I just wish I could get a longer night sleep" and the littlest boy  is asleep early so I can sleep as soon as I am done writing and that, my friends,  is pretty unbelievable! So tonight I make it short so I can go and experience the joy of slumber...but my heart is full as I say with surprise, "Unbelievable!"

The Doctor...

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For the last while, I have been borderline obsessed with Doctor Who. I have made it through four seasons so far and have begun Season 5. There is something about the show that, not only brings me back to my childhood, but makes me dream a bit.

During my childhood, when I was at my grandparent house, I would watch Star Trek with my Uncle. Since he was (is) just 11 years older than me, he was often more like an older brother than an uncle. We would watch Star Trek, then go play basketball, rinse and repeat. My love from Science Fiction grew from being around him. Then came my love for Star Wars (OMG...I cant even begin on that one!), but somehow I missed out on Doctor Who. I am not sure why or how, but I seem to have missed the memo.

So, here I am, revisiting my childhood with my nerdy, Sci-Fi self, and am watching Doctor Who. I plop myself down in front of the computer every night, watching The Doctor. I imagine myself as the Doctor's companion, visiting worlds from afar. Imagining…

Six secrets...

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Today I received a post on Facebook from on of my dear friends whose son has Myotubular Myopathy, which is the same disease my youngest son has. This post was a link to Special Needs Mom's blog and the Six Secrets a Special Needs Mom never tells you...I loved it and decided that I would take her idea and put my own twist on it! I have never, before today, really thought about these things...not enough to speak them aloud. After all, these are the private thoughts of a mother with a child with special needs, thoughts that so many are afraid or ashamed to admit.

So here they are 6 secrets...I am sure there are more, but these are the one's I will address tonight.

1) Special Needs Mothers are lonely...
If you know me, you know that I am outgoing. I was raised by a mother that was outgoing and, frankly, if I had been a wallflower, I wouldn't have survived. Being a strong woman was a necessity, but strong is often equated with outgoing. My family thinks I have many friends, th…

The A to Zen life...

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I have been participating in the A to Z Challenge this month. Each day, my blog topic starts with the next letter of the alphabet. Every day I write, except Sunday is my free day! Today, as I was perusing through my ever growing list of blogs that I check up on, I came across this post from the Inspirational Results blog. This week has been a bit of looking inward for me, so this blog post hit home. It inspired me to do a bit more research on the A to Zen Life. I hope these thoughts touch you as deeply as they touched me...to building our own A to Zen life!


A to Zen of Life~ Dalai Lama Avoid negative sources, people, places, and habits Believe in yourself Consider things from every angle Don’t give up and don’t give in Everything you are looking for lies behind the mask you wear Family and friends are hidden treasures, seek them and enjoy their riches Give more than you planned to Hang on to your dreams If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door Judge your success by what you had to give up in …

Really? Powdered Peanut Butter?

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Tonight for my A to Z Challenge blog, I had planned to write something nice about being restful and thankful, but tonight while shopping for ice cream at our local New Season's Grocery Store, I discovered this...

POWDERED PEANUT BUTTER!! (It comes in Chocolate too if you order PB2 on Amazon.com) Yes, I have since discovered that this is neither a new product or unique to Portland, Oregon. After all, Portland is known for being weird. After all, we even have a bumper sticker...

So, for tonight, there will be no sentiments, no thought provoking ideas, now words for the wise, just the idea that for future days, you can think of me as I am making small servings of 45 calorie, 1.5g of fat of peanut butter. 
Can you believe it? Just add water!!
#AtoZChallenge #blogboost #UPB13

Quietness of mind...

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I grew up attending the Quaker church. I guess I would say that I am Quakerish. I love looking into other faiths like Buddhism and Islam, asking about the good things that are within their belief system. One thing that I love about Quakerism is that there is a sense of quietness, looking within. Meditation is a way to achieve peace.

Tranquility within one's mind is often difficult...mind running into the evening and night. Quietness does not come easily. Mind often running even when sleeping, sometimes it is never still.

How does one achieve a sense of serenity? The stillness that eases your soul when the chatter won't stop...

Looking within and finding the peaceful place can help...speaking words of calm repose.

Om tare tutare ture soha...liberate my mind from discontent and fear


Pain...

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Pain is our body's way of warning us that something is going on. It is a signal that we have overextended, overdone, or need to stop doing something that is the cause of the pain. Pain helps us plan for the future...why continue something that is causing pain?

I used to get chronic migraines and, it seems, that although I have managed them for the last few years, this month I am "lucky" enough to get three in three weeks. It is literally a pain!

The world we live in is a body and, right
now, it is in pain. Bombings that occurred at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the explosion at the Texas Fertilizer Plant, District Attorney killings in Texas, shootings tonight at MIT, bird flu spreading in China, Migrant worker shootings in Greece, North Korea threatening to use a missile. This week our world is in pain...parts broken.

To heal, we must change what we are doing. We cannot continue going in the same direction expecting a different result. We must come together, l…

Opinion...

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Opinion: a personal view

I am a woman of opinion...

I was raised by a strong, opinionated woman who believed that it is important that a woman is strong. I realized that being strong and opinionated can sometimes go awry, but I would rather work within my strength than be meek and run over. If I hurt your feelings...I apologize...that is not my intent...never my intent.

I am willing to work within the boundaries, but I also feel that having heated discussions where opinions are given, disagreements can be had, agree to disagree and still be friends at the end are also important. It is how ideas are vetted, ideas are put into motion.

I think about a time when I was training for the Portland Marathon with one of my closest friends and we would spend our walking time, walking and talking (and these were long, long walks!). She is fairly conservative and we rarely agree on anything, so although we spent most of our time "arguing." We have long ago agreed to disagree. The beauty …

Neverland...

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Neverland...where childhood never ends...a place where rules don't matter because it's a place ruled by children.

Peter Pan, a special boy who can fly, makes a life of tormenting Captain Hook and Smee. He is a prankster and lover of life. His faithful companion, Tinkerbell, is a mischievous fairy, who is always encouraging Peter to be brave but never grow up. The Lost Boys, a squirrelly group of boys, adore Peter and follow him blindly as they engage in play and hijinks's.

There are times in my life, like now, that I have felt that I live in Neverland...directionless. A boat without a sail, floating aimlessly. The adult in me wants to know what's next, know who's in charge. The child in me wants to run and play. I am willing to engage, willing to be a part of the team, but there is no one who wants to stand at the beginning of the line and lead.

So I am stuck in Neverland.

Neverland is run by children...Neverland is a land of no responsibilities...Neverland is a …

Meaningless...

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Meaningless: Having no purpose or reason

One of the apps I have on my iPhone is CNN. Today as I was sitting at school, I kept getting updates from CNN.com regarding the situation in Boston. Normally, I don't pay attention to updates...I try not to look at my phone during school hours as to not set a bad example, but they kept coming in on my home screen, where I can see them without using my password...more and more updates.

I finally had to look and find out what was going on. Two explosions at the finish line at the Boston Marathon. "Wow!"...was all I could think. I have walked a marathon (or two) and after a long 27.2 miles, you are exhausted, yet elated that you are almost there. I can't imagine being yards from the finish line and a deafening, street rocking explosion occurring. Why? Then a mere 12 seconds later another explosion...chaos, screaming, why? Why did this occur? What was the meaning? If someone wanted to make a point, stand for a cause, whatever...it…

Training to be Champions...

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Have you ever thought about your place of employment as a team of people training for the Big Game...the Epic Win? In the beginning it is pretty clumsy, no one seems to know each others strengths and weaknesses, errors are made, but after awhile, things begin to fall into place....you become a team.

In order for a team to function, there needs to be trust and the expectation that the other members are going to do their job. If you are constantly worrying that the other members are doing their jobs, how can you fully do yours?

I used to play soccer all the time. When I play on an all women's team, I play in the goal. It is a pretty demanding position, considering you are literally the last line of defense. I took my job seriously. I am a competitor and I don't like to lose! Anyway, being in the goal requires a lot of trust...first you have to trust the midfielders are going to follow their men and fight for the ball and then you have to trust that the defenders are going to kee…

Like...

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Remember when the word "like" described how you felt about someone? "I like you...a lot!" It was the word we used before the other L word...love.

Now the word "like" is used in different ways, not necessarily ones that express an emotion of feeling. For instance, as a pause phrase in a sentence:

"I, like, watched him walk away. It was, like, painful!"

Describing a situation:

"He looked like he was gonna barf. He was green."

And most commonly on Facebook...the land of "Likes"


"Status Update: I ate a ham sandwich for lunch."
All of the sudden we see...



Why is it so important that we are "liked" on Facebook. Why do we crave this feedback from others. It is so we have a Sally Field moment winning the Oscar, "You like me...you really, really like me!" Are we so shallow that we rely on the input of others, making sure that we are "liked."

I mean, really, it feels good to be liked. Having those…

Kisses....

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Have you ever really thought about the act of kissing? Two pairs of soft lips pressed together, emotion being transmitted from one pair to the other. Kissing is one of the most intimate acts we can engage in with another person. Most people think that sex is the most intimate, but if you really think about it...kissing tops the list.

Kissing is that first foray into a relationship, the first step in opening ourselves up to another. Relationships are complicated, both those of the romantic nature and those of the platonic. Deciding if you want to take a relationship to the "next level" can be heart wrenching. Opening your heart and soul to another is intimate, exciting, and frightening.

When we are young, we anxiously await our first kiss, that first connection with another human that we aren't related to. Often these first connections are found behind shrubs, buildings, nooks and crannies hidden away for these private meetings.

Our first real relationship, where you beg…

Just Stop....

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Note: This might be more of my opinion than you like...I am sorry if you don't agree. I am comfortable agreeing to disagree...Just my thoughts today!


Today I had another migraine...I am over it. Two awful headaches in two weeks requiring medication...Ugh! Sometimes I want to tell my body...stop, JUST STOP!!! Stop hurting, stop! I have had enough...

There are so many times this year I want to say: Just Stop!

To my students:Just Stop! I know that you think that you know what it's going to be like in high school, but you don't. I really have knowledge here and I want to help you...Trust me!

To the Parents:Just Stop! Stop blaming others and help us help your student. Know that your vote matters. We want to support your student...we love them too, but we can't without money and volunteer time. Come to events, let us help you, help them...

To my district:Just Stop! I know that the OAKS test is important (our state assessment), but we need to focus on teaching our students to th…

I is for Insanity...

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Insanity...

My youth was filled with it. I grew up with a mother that was (probably) certifiable (if that was something that would happen in that time...)

Sometimes I think of those times of my youth which was a bit like a life-like cartoon...a crazy woman raising two children. Mood swings of an alcoholic and drug user caused much of my youth to blur. She was also an artist and in her times of clarity taught me how to Batik and Macrame...

She was a strong woman, an individual, crippled by her insecurities. A competing woman in her household, me as a young girl, was almost a war cry at times. She wanted me to be strong, as long as my strength didn't outdo hers..

Incredibly beautiful, men were drawn to her like moths to a flame, only to be eaten like a Black Widow consuming her mate. When I was young I remember looking to her, drawn in by her personality, her laugh, her smile, then as I got older, I realized that it was all a facade. By the time I left home at 14, I was wounded. I w…

H is for Halcyon Days...

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Tonight while searching for H words that celebrated how I feel today, I came across Halcyon, meaning peaceful. This word sums up my last two days. In a year that has been frenzied and chaotic, I have had two beautiful, calm days at work. Teaching 8th grade math can be crazy...frenzied and chaotic pretty much rule the school, which is why these Halcyon Days...peaceful have been such a 180 that it is noticeable!

This year has made me question whether I am a good teacher, even an adequate one. It has challenged my strength of character, my final nerve...I have been teaching for a long time and, although I get tired and worn, have not questioned to the degree I have this year, whether or not I am in the right career. This is not really a good thing since I just finished a second masters degree last year as a final punctuation on my commitment to teaching math, but this year has been rough!

So, you might ask, what is different? I am not really sure. After fighting with the apathy of my cur…

G is for Gratitude...

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Today was one of those good days...It seems that there have been so few truly good days this school year (I mean the whole day was good...every class period!) that, as I was driving home, I was almost giddy. I talked with my students about really ending the year strong, making goals and committing to working on them. Students were receptive, listened, and (most of them), worked quietly throughout each period. It was pretty awesome!

I am grateful for days like today. They remind me why I do what I do...to teach children math. This is their last nine weeks before they go to high school and I feel that they have so much to learn, not necessarily just math content, but rather math confidence. I have just nine weeks to convince them that they can be successful during their next four years of school and their next three years of math.

It is overwhelming...usually I feel that I have done so much more groundwork by now and this year has been such a challenge that I feel my groundwork has not …

It's a Party!!!

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As part of my introduction to daily blogging, I have joined a variety of challenges to "get me going." First I joined the Slice of Life Challenge in the month of March. That went well. I managed to make it to my 80th consecutive day blogging (it was soooo exciting to reach that milestone).  So the challenge ended and I sought out the next challenge.

I found not one, not two, but three challenges to enter for the month of April. The first was The A to Z Challenge where every day's blog post starts with the next letter of the alphabet. Well, every day except Sunday. You can read my A to F posts below this one! I also entered the The Ultimate Blog Challenge...you may or not see the results of this one...it is for me to help improve my blog and the traffic coming through. I also entered the GBE #2 (My girlfriend Rosemarie and I just named it Great Blog Experience), which has a weekly prompt. I must admit that I didn't finish last week's topic yet, but will integrat…

Food, Friendship, and Family...

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I come from a family where gatherings involve food. Every celebration, loss, or gathering involves some type of meal....small nibbles or large sit down...food is involved.

Food is representative of gathering in many cultures. Coming together to share a meal is a way to open your heart and hearth to another. World leaders meet over food, even the poorest of us often dine together. There is a sense of community in the sharing of food.

Sadly, not everyone has experienced this kind of fellowship, where joining of generations over morsels, allows for sharing of thoughts and spirited conversation. Although these times in my own family may sometimes be uncomfortable, they are tradition, of sort.

Coming together lays the foundation for connectedness, bonding, opening the mind to ideas of others. I love the idea of "working lunches," "parties with snacks," togetherness.

I think that is where the greatest ideas come from..After all, as Julia Child says, "People who love…

E is for Elephant...

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Elephant, not the grey wrinkly kind, but rather the orange-brown spotted kind, with the long neck, came home with my best girlfriend's son today. Elephant is the "class pet" and her nine year old son was delighted that it is his turn to spend the weekend with Elephant. Carrying him around in his backpack and watching TV, the two of them enjoyed their Friday night together, looking forward to a fun-filled, baseball-filled weekend in the Oregon rain.

Boy and giraffe, spending time, doing what boys do...video games, wrestling with the brothers...so many options.

What is special about this weekend is that Elephant represents community and our desire to belong. Everyone in the class gets their time with Elephant, and his weekend has finally arrived. The anticipation, the joy of being part of the community, he loves and savors each and every moment with Elephant.

Each and every one of us craves to be a part of a community. We seek it out, even in times that we want to "be…

Disappointed, disheartened, defeated or determined?

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Today was one of those days...One where you feel that every fiber of your being is being tested. Sometimes that is the way teaching is...some days it is because your students are pushing your buttons, sometimes it's the parents, sometimes your administrators. Regardless, it was one of those days.

I pride myself on being able to "look at the brighter side." Maybe some see me as a Pollyanna of sorts, but today I felt more like Sisyphus. Sisyphus was the god that was destined to push the boulder up the hill for eternity only to have it roll to the bottom when he neared the top (rinse and repeat!). That was today.

This year has been a challenging one. My students drag their feet and barely muster enough energy to try. Most days I feel like I am dragging a herd of horses up a hill. Today I felt like I drug them, then they stampeded me on the way down.

I felt defeated. A simple announcement at the beginning of the day destroyed my mojo. Damage control all day long. It was exha…

C is for Can...

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Can...Can I? Can I do this? Can I complete the task? Can I? Can I?

Every day, we ask ourselves this question...Can I?

Throughout my life, I have asked myself whether or not I can do things?

Can I have the strength to protect my brother through the early years?

Can I leave my mother because I know it is best, even though it means leaving my brother?

Can I hold my jealousy and anger in check?

Can I be successful in school?

Can I follow my heart and leave?

Can I raise this child alone?

Can I trust my feelings for this man?

Can I fight for the life of my son against all odds?

Can I help raise these two boys as my own?

Can I make a life I am proud of?

Can I impact the lives of the children I teach?

Can I look beyond the shortcomings of others?

Can I look beyond my own?

I struggle with each and every decision in my life. We all struggle to make a choice we can stand by...be proud of. When you come across these choices when you ask yourself, Can I? The answer is Actually, I can!


B is for bed

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Now, you might be thinking that this is a strange topic, but after an entire day spent in bed with a screaming migraine, this seemed like the appropriate topic for the day.

Have you really thought about the importance of your bed? It is the place that sets your body up for the following day. A poor nights sleep can affect your ability to function. Feeling tired can be a major destructor in our life.

I have always had issues with quality sleep. Insomnia has been the name of my game. About a month ago, I fell asleep on the couch while having a "camp-out" with my niece. It was one of the best nights sleep I had in a long time. This told me that my mattress was not conducive to good sleep. Let's just say that since then, a lot of sleeping has happened on the couch.

According to studies, sleep keeps your heart healthy, reduces the incidences of cancer and stress, sleep bolsters your memory, may help you lost weight, reduces depression, and helps the body make repairs. All of…

A is for Authentic

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What does it mean to be authentic? According to Webster's Dictionary, Authentic means a) worthy of acceptance or belief b) not false or imitation, c) true to one's own personality, spirit, or character. Being authentic means that you are true to your word, that your word means something...being authentic means you are accessible, open, and true.

In order to be the kind of people many would like to be, we must be authentic, the real deal...What does that mean for our daily life? It means that we must be open, we must be ready to hear others and, more importantly, to listen. We must put aside the stories that we tell ourselves, the talking in our own heads, and be receptive.

"Live authentically. Why would you continue to compromise something that's beautiful to create something that is fake."

~Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free.

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#blogboost