Saturday, April 18, 2015

A to Z - "P" is for Pay It Forward,

Pay It Forward Redux

I posted previously on teaching my kids to pay it forward. I also made this one of my New Year's Resolutions.

So how have I done?

Not very well..

Admittedly, I have not gone out of my way to try doing something new that is nice for others. I've been busy working in my special needs classroom, tutoring special needs and 'regular' kids 3 days a week, raising my boys so that they do their homework and clean up the house, and joining my husband for trivia one night a week. I type up blog posts and do research in my spare time and still get to garden (haven't bought plants yet), and watch TV on Hulu or Netflix when my brain is fried of an evening.

But that's no excuse!

While I still do the things on the list from the previous post that I mentioned earlier, so I can give myself points that don't matter (like on Who's Line Is It Anyway?) for those tasks, I'm missing the imaginary bonus points for doing something new. I'm missing the good feelings of pride in myself for being kind to others.

Right now my focus is on throwing my graduating students a fabulous party. I will miss them, but I know they are going on to bigger and better things.

But surely I can think of something else to do, something small, but impactful.

 Thursday, April 30th is the official Pay It Forward Day. I have 2 weeks to plan!

Pay It Forward Foundation

Really Good article on the Science of Paying It Forward: Bad Behavior Gets Paid Forward More Than Good.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

A to Z - "O" is for Organize!!

Oh how I love it when I feel organized!

The first step for me is to get a planner.

I can spend hours filling in all the things I need to do; from lesson plans, to appointments, to writing dates with my laptop. My planner is my brain!

Organization for me can also mean simplifying and de-cluttering my life. My planner says it's Spring Cleaning Time! If you haven't done a Spring Cleaning yet, you should.

 Here are 10 questions to help you de-clutter:

Start with one room and dump everything you can into one space. Yeah, it's messy, but you are getting ready to clean it up. Ask yourself -
 1. Is this something I use every day?
I like to think of de-cluttering as packing up as if to move. What do you NEED to take with you?

2. If not, is it something I love?
What do you HAVE to take with you?

Put these items in their place in your home.

Now come the hard questions. Look at everything you have left.

3. Am I keeping this out of obligation?
4. Am I holding onto this because I think I should love it?
5. Am I saving this 'just in case'?
6. How many of these do I need?
7. Can something else I already own do the same job, maybe even better?
8. Is this broken and I want to fix it one day?
9. Is this worth the time I spend cleaning/fixing it?
10. Could I use this space for something else?

I kind of think the last question should be your motivation if you have big plans. Let's say you really want to park your car in the garage... yeah, you see what I mean?

If you have to be cutthroat, set yourself a number of items to get rid of from each room.

But Spring Cleaning is way more than just de-cluttering. When you pull all that stuff out, dust, spray, wipe, and disinfect that space!

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

A to Z - "N" is for New

One of my New Year's Resolutions from last year that I kept for this year was to Try New Things.

How did I do?

Well, let's see.. I tried some new foods, like hummus and red bell peppers and popcorn shrimp.

I tried a new restaurant, which involved more new foods; a hibachi grill.

I started using an elliptical and a punching bag in my workouts; not that I workout nearly as much as I should.

The hubby and I started going to Trivia Night at a local bar with some of his friends. It's the one 'adult' thing we do where we can talk about non-work-related things and feel human and normal. It's also kind of like a date night.

Perhaps I need to up my game.

After searching for 'new things to try', I looked up lists of suggested things. Most of them are things that people wish they had time to do and things I have already done.

  • bake a cake or cookies for someone else
  • make your own greeting cards
  • go hiking
  • go on a picnic
  • roller skate
  • shop at a farmer's market
  • play a board game
  • donate to charity
  • take your camera out for a day
  • attend a food tasting festival
  • start a daily journal
  • plant a garden or a flower bed
But there are a few things I still could do:
  • volunteer at a shelter
  • visit a museum or art gallery (with the boys)
  • visit a new town (i'd take my camera, too)
  • join a community class
  • have a major de-clutter and donate to charity
  • try a new water activity
  • take a road trip
  • try a new look, hair or wardrobe
  • re-read an old favorite book

Perhaps I shall get out my notebook and jot these down.. :)

What other things can you think of that I could try?

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A to Z - "M" is Money

Why are our lives so controlled by money?!?

Honestly, it would be so much easier to live in some kind of utopian cult where we all use our talents to balance each other and support and aid each other without needing to beg, borrow, steal, and trade or barter with printed paper dollars to afford the comforts we desire.

You can't argue with money, though. I suppose back the days of the barter system it was much easier to hurt people's feelings in dealings. Asking for more eggs or an extra lamb in exchange for the new dress you are to make was sure to put a wrinkle in someone's brow. Price tags don't haggle.

Sometimes I get so caught up in this cycle right here that I wonder why I bother doing it. But, as all cycles, there is no easy way to get out of it. I just have to make the best of it. No use complaining.

Is having more money worth it? Most people would say yes, because they feel they would spend it on the fun things they dream of doing and items they dream of owning. What happens when you get a windfall or a raise?

When you get a windfall, say a large tax return, or a sudden inheritance, you don't often pay off your debts, or even pay down your debts. You might put some of it towards the debt, but then some part of you says "I could still pay on that debt and take the rest of this chunk of change and buy something nice for myself." Or you look at that thing, that one thing you have been wanting for so long, and you buy it. Could be new windows or something practical, so you feel it is justified, but in the end, you still have the same debts and the same income amount coming in. Did you really make headway?

When you get a raise, you often re-acclimate your spending to include the extra money. Now you get used to one extra night a month of eating out, going to the movies, or buying the more expensive snacks. You figure you can affort to charge one more outfit, or that new cell phone, because you can afford to pay it off.

Money takes an extremely huge amount of willpower to save. Unless you have it taken out of your paycheck before you even see it and get to use it, you probably will spend it.

Check out a lifetime annuity. Seriously. That is the way to save for your future, your children's future, and your grandchildren's future. Then put money into it before you even see it.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A to Z - "L" is for Love

I've wanted to write a book about Love for a while. I don't yet know my angle. Will I write about the forms love can take? How about the love that withstands the test of time? I've used this tag many times. Love is very important. I don't think one can truly live without Love. It's a festering, dark, miserable existence.

I've researched some of the forms of Love. Here is what I have found:

Eros: This is a hot, passionate, rip-each-other’s-clothes-off, intense sort of love. The focus here is passion. The Greeks viewed it as a dangerous, fiery, and irrational form of love that could take hold of you and possess you. 
Ludus: This type of love is playful and revolves around fun, laughter, shared connections. Practical jokes are totally welcome. We've all had a taste of it in the flirting and teasing in the early stages of a relationship. But we also live out our ludus when we sit around in a bar bantering and laughing with friends, or when we go out dancing.
Storge: Originating from friendship, this is the sort of love that develops slowly and is based on support and affection. We're talking about 10 years from now. This also is a familial love between relatives.
Pragma: Practical, collaborative, partnership—couples with this kind of love are a united front, driven by the same goals. If your relationship were a business, one of you would be the CEO, the other the president. Pragma is about making compromises to help the relationship work over time, and showing patience and tolerance. 
Mania: Dramatic, this sort of love is punctuated by highs and lows and intense emotion. Hello, roller coaster!
Philautia - or self-love. The Greeks realized there were two types. One was an unhealthy variety associated with narcissism, where you became self-obsessed and focused on personal fame and fortune. A healthier version enhanced your wider capacity to love. The idea was that if you like yourself and feel secure in yourself, you will have plenty of love to give others.

Agape: Selfless, supportive—this type of love is all about focusing on the other’s needs, often at the expense of personal needs. 
Agape was later translated into Latin as caritas, which is the origin of our word "charity."
Sources: Yes Magazine and (because I liked these articles)

Maybe I will get to writing this one day. 

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