Archive for April, 2010

One of the most growth-enhancing periods of my life was just a few years ago.  Many things happened during that time period – many changes and miracles and blessings.  My life hardly even looks the same as it did before then.  But amid all of the changes to our circumstances, I attribute the majority of my personal growth to the fact that I kept a journal during that time.

The older I get, the more I can’t remember even the most simple things.  Before Jason’s car accident I could remember everything.  I didn’t need a planner because I could always keep track of what I needed to do, where I needed to go and details rarely escaped me.  After his car accident, I shut down.  I was in survival mode.  I only stored the information that was absolutely necessary and relied on lists and post-it notes to remember the rest.

I assumed that once Jason was in a better place physically that I would regain my ability to remember things but it seems like it has become a lost art to me.  I have never been as good at remembering as I was before his accident.  I still find myself standing in the middle of the next room wondering why I had gone in there in the first place.  Age does this, I know, but I think that it was also a survival mechanism in dealing with Jason’s accident that will forever be a part of me.

I’m convinced that this is why that journal became so significant.  As we were working toward many goals and our lives were in a constant state of change, I wrote about my feelings and experiences and the things that I was learning.  I know that it helped me to better process the things that were happening.  Writing gave me direction and purpose.  Recording my experiences amplified them so that I was able to more maximize the learning and growth that happened because of my circumstances.

You have probably noticed that I am not “a venter.”  I admit that I have an aversion to the very word.  To me, venting is synonymous with complaining so I try to avoid both altogether.  Therefore, the journal that I created was not a venting journal – although it was entirely honest.  It contains true feelings – hopes and fears, heartaches and joys.  There’s a difference between being honest and simply complaining.  My children could read my journal and hopefully find strength from knowing that their mother had hard days and feelings of discouragement but she was able to learn from them and they did not consume who she was becoming.

I am different because of my experiences.  We all are.  But I believe that the fact that I kept a journal magnified who I became during that particular time.  And I am convinced that it all came down to allowing myself to remember.

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The Help

I am currently reading and thoroughly enjoying The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  It is nothing like I thought it was and so even though I had heard good things about it, I have been resisting picking it up from my pile of books at my bedside.  I assumed it was going to be heavy and dark, oppressive both in style and subject matter.  I didn’t realize that it was, in fact, funny and triumphant, light but also meaningful and poignant.  That is a hard feat to master as a storyteller.

My own preconceived ideas were nothing like the reality.

Why do we do that?  Sometimes we make up our minds about things that we don’t really know anything about, closing the option of discovering something worth spending time on.  I like to think that I am fairly open-minded but then things like this happen and I realize that I have a ways to go.

Some people are more adventurous than others.  It’s simply in their nature to be so.  Some of us are adventurous in certain areas of our lives while we tend to be more cautious in others.  Although I like to think I’m open-minded, I don’t consider myself a risk-taker.  I enjoy traveling only when I have someone with me that knows where they are going.  I have to work hard at meeting new people because I get nervous and can’t think of what to say.  I definitely wouldn’t say that I love diving into things without careful analysis beforehand.  Yet, I married a quadriplegic, have started my own business and I got my masters degree in the middle of caring for my husband during his rehabilitation.  Those are all “risky” things to many people.

So although it is not my nature to take jump in and do those things, I have done them because of one simple fact.  I believe that it is in our power to tweak, adjust, improve and yes, even change our natures.  We can become something better than what might naturally be our first instinct to be.  Our own preconceived ideas of who we are can sometimes limit our possibilities in life but it’s our choice to change that.

  • “I’m just not that way.”
  • “My personality makes me do that.”
  • “That’s just how I am.”

Each of these statements, although true, are not necessarily the end of the story.  By adding the simple word, “…but…” we can become something even better than we start with.

  • “I’m just not that way but I’m working on improving that skill.”
  • “My personality makes me do that but I want to change that about myself.”
  • “That’s just how I am but I’m trying to become better at not letting it overpower me.”

Do we have our own traits and personalities that are just a part of us by nature?  Absolutely.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t magnify the best parts and work on changing the not so good stuff.  We have the power to become who we want to be, in spite of who we are, or possibly because of who we are.  Our own nature does not have to dictate our reality but we can choose to let it enhance it instead of diminish it.

Let’s go back to my current book-of-choice.  As I read The Help, not only am I enjoying every page, but I find myself continually reminded of the joy and treasure that can be discovered when we give something a chance – including the chance to become our best selves.

What are you willing to take a chance on?

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Kissing Cousins

I don’t think I need to even comment on this photo since it speaks louder than words about Cole’s willingness to give free kisses and his cousin, Mackenzie who pretends to not like it when she asks for one.  And don’t forget Grandma Coleman’s lipstick mark on Cole’s cheek that stayed with him all afternoon.

Love from every angle this week.

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Jason and I recently went to the Michael Buble’ concert and loved every second of it except the 45 minutes it took to get off the freeway.  However, in spite of the gridlock and honking and trying to get more than one car through the green light each time, he was actually able to pull off the seemingly impossible combination of old-time crooner sounding contemporary.

I always think of his song, “Everything” as being Cole’s song because it is the first track on the DVD slideshow I made of all of Cole’s photos from his first year of life.  He knows that when he hears that song that his movie is on and heads over to the television to watch it.

Listening to MB perform it made me want to create a label for Download Day.  It can be used as a tag or on a card or just cut it out and place it in between the keys on someone’s computer keyboard, attach it to their mirror or tuck it in their briefcase.  “Everything” is a message that can be used everywhere and for anyone that you want to pass a smile on to.

Enjoy a little bit of “Everything” today.

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Here’s to Family

Wondering where I have been?  Lucky us – we have had my parents in town from the Dominican Republic and I have done virtually nothing but be at their beck-and-call.  I assumed I would still blog and work and things like that, but who was I kidding?  So I am coming clean and letting you know that I am enjoying my family – soaking up everything that makes getting together as siblings and cousins and aunts and uncles fabulous.

Here’s to fun and food, jokes and laughter, hanging out and catching up on life.  Here’s to having 16 out of 17 grandchildren all in the same place at the same time.

Here’s to family.

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