Week One/Day One-Audition for a play

Today what makes me happy is my acting class!  I have been off for winter break and I’m seriously going through withdrawal!  So I decided to try out for the spring performances.  One is Julius Caesar- Shakespeare, and the other is Rumors- Neil Simon.  I took a look at the Shakespeare script and got frightened silly.  Huge monologues and the language is out of this world.  I really, really, wanted to try for the other play which seemed more do-able for me.  On the way to the college auditions, I decided I would read for Shakespeare.  So many factors played into this decision.  It was the most exciting and terrifying thing for me.  I was “excitified”!  This is my new word and I think it will sum up this whole next year.  This is the best feeling in the world and I want to try to achieve this feeling as often as I can.

So why don’t you check out your community college or local theater?  The auditions for those shows are open to the public.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  The experience will be unbeatable and you may even meet some new people along the way.

What did you do today that “excitified” you and made you out of this world happy?

Please share your day with me 🙂

 

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Loving yourself- Week One

We are going to begin by doing things that make us happy! 

This is soo easy to initiate.  Who doesn’t want to do this?  It’s so motivating and rewarding.  It can be difficult though, if we are moms, business women, or people pleasers.  I urge you to join me in doing something wonderful for yourself every day.

Every day, I will post the things I have done that bring me joy.  Please share your daily happy moments with us!  It would be great to get extra ideas and inspiration from others.

For some, it may be that you filled your schedule up to be surrounded by friends and positive activities or experiences.  However, this act may have caused exhaustion and feelings of being overwhelmed by all of life’s other responsibilities and duties.  We feel like we have to do it all and squeezing in “me” time has to fit in somewhere.  I think we may find that reducing some of those personal activities for some quiet relaxation and alone time recharges us so that we are able to enjoy our preferred activities more, without running ourselves into the ground.   For others, it’s realizing that we are doing too much for everyone else and actually NOT doing anything for ourselves.  Make sure to jot down all the activities and responsibilities we have and how much “me” activities we have.  Is there an even balance? If not- CHANGE IT- THIS WEEK!

Choose activities that you really care about and that mean something to you.  Having a good life is making sure that you do something daily that moves you and makes you feel alive.  Having a fulfilling life is a decision that you make! Make sure it’s a good one!  By taking care of yourself and doing things that you love and move you, you are completely loving yourself in every way that God had planned for you.  There is nothing selfish about loving and taking care of yourself!!!

“We can’t give what we don’t have.  You have to experience life on your own terms before you can be life-giving to others”, Tess Marshall.

Loving me- Loving you,

Anita

New Year’s Revelation

I am not late for this New Year’s Resolution thing, as you may think.  I will have you know that I took a lot of time figuring this out and choosing one that I would not fail at.  Well, that’s not really true either.  To tell you the truth, my mind goes completely blank when I try to think of something I can work on for the year.  In all honesty, there is no way I can choose just one.  I have a thousand things that I should improve but when I think about them I realize I’m not kidding anyone.  There is no way I would be able to focus on one thing for an entire year.  That’s just not how I work.  I get very bored easily and tend to have new revelations every other week.  So instead of a New Year’s Resolution.. I give you a New Years Revelation!!

Last year was devoted solely to kindness, it was the ever so popular “kindness challenge”.  I had planned on blogging about that, but realized everyone on the internet was doing this.  My, oh so original plan, was anything but!!  Either way, I knew that being kind was the one trendy thing worth doing. I have nothing life changing or miraculous to report but I am very proud of all the genuinely kind things I had done.  I really wanted to focus on more spiritual kindness and stay away from monetary kindness, which in my opinion, is great but not lasting and in some respects too easy.  The giving of things to help people financially included: weekly and monthly donations to various charities, gift bags for homeless people that we may see as we drive or work around our community, cards to those who are sick or struggling, and donations of clothing and toys to those in need. The more spiritual kindness included: consciously complimenting people daily, thanking people for everything from big to small things, calling people in my family who were elderly and alone, volunteering to help at the local homeless shelter, and volunteering to help pack food at Feed My Starving Children.  These things were wonderful and such a great beginning to what I’m hoping will be my life’s purpose.

This brings me to this year’s revelation.  I want to focus on love this year. I have heard it said before that in order to love other’s you must love yourself.  I can’t comprehend this statement because I have a very hard time “loving” myself.  I spent all of 2015 trying to be kind essentially hoping it would teach me how to love and, yes, it helped me love strangers and those in need.  However, I did not see any great change in loving myself and for that matter, family, friends, and acquaintances.    I am very aware that God loves me with all his heart.  I am just really confused about how not loving myself fully, actually makes me imperfect at loving others.  So I really want to focus on loving this year, and I hope by the end of this year the answer to that question will be revealed.

Please join me on this “love journey”!  Every week I plan to challenge myself with something that will open my heart to what love truly is.  Please comment and let me know how you’re journey is going.  I’d like to start a forum where we can all post our struggles and accomplishments on the way.  I can’t wait to begin and I can’t wait to see who I’ll find along the way!

Love you all with my big- kind- heart

Anita

The Elf Has Won!

So I am finally breaking down and succumbing to peer pressure.  The Elf will be entering our home and our Christmas traditions on Dec. 6.  He will come on St. Nicholas’ day with a letter.  I have been asked many times over the years if I would like one for the kids and I’ve always responded with out hesitation- ABSOLUTELY NOT!  I do not want one more fad or commercial thing to take away from the true spirit and meaning behind Christmas.  After all we place much more of an emphasis on Santa than Jesus! Our children get the message loud and clear what we value.

Christmas was always such a magical time of year for me growing up.  Santa was a big part of it but it wasn’t everything.  Yes, the anticipation of something magical was so exciting.  The thought that there was this ever loving man who would reward you for trying your hardest and being a good person gave me such a warm and wonderful feeling.  It made me feel loved.  In much the same way that I feel about God, now as an adult.  Christmas was also about the cookies, cards that had wonderful pictures that reminded us of Jesus and the “reason for the season”,  Christmas decoration and lights, and family.  Yes, as a child getting together with family was the best thing about Christmas.  We didn’t get tons of toys and we didn’t go see Santa at the mall.  We were excited to see our Grandparents and get all the hugs and love from them.  We couldn’t wait to eat the special food that we generally only ate on that evening.  Most importantly we couldn’t wait to all be together, stay up late, play with our cousins, and hear the laughter, shouting (which was actually how my family talked), and Christmas music.  You see as a child it wasn’t painful getting together with relatives.  There were no power struggles or offensive comments.  There was just Joy.  Sheer and utter Joy.  I’m so afraid with the thousands of expensive presents that we throw at our children and all the trying to make Santa a reality “Santa experiences” that my children will grow up to be self-centered and materialistic.  I realize now that getting an Elf on the Shelf will in no way have this result if I continue to emphasize the meaning of Christmas through my actions.  By this I mean, doing a “good deed” advent calendar, being kind to my family during this stressful month, and reading stories about Jesus with my children.

I was also afraid to let the Elf enter our home because my Christmas memories also involved a frantic, edgy mother trying to make everything in the house perfect.  It involved a lot of fighting with my sisters when we were decorating the tree and rushing, rushing, rushing.  I admit my weakness and realize that I do not have a high tolerance for stress.  Adding this Elf to my holiday to do list is something that absolutely terrifies me.  It takes a lot for me to remain cheerful, peaceful, and kind during the month of December.  We have work parties, school shows, and family birthdays.  It’s overwhelming and gives me a lot of anxiety.  This shelf is just a straw on the camels back.  What if I just absolutely lose it!

My boys were only minimally interested in the Elf so it was easy for me to brush the idea off, but my daughter is different. She keeps asking me why we don’t have one and continues pressing the topic.  I decided to look at the big picture.  She’s the last one and this Elf may only be in our lives for five more years.  I think I can handle it! Plus, I do not have to keep up with the Jones’ and do crazy things every day.  It’s only as stressful as I choose to make it.  I wouldn’t dare take Santa out of Christmas so what’s the big deal to add his elf to the picture.

So hear we go!!! Bring on the ELF!!! He is no match for me! I can take him!

Elf Conqueror,

Anita

Let Go… Let God… And Let Your Child Travel Without You (Part two)

HAVE FAITH!

Yes, I have many fears but I also have courage and faith, which are stronger.   Here’s what I will do to prepare my heart for this challenge life has placed in front of me.  Continued from earlier this week….

So now what???  Doing something makes me feel better so I have to come up with a plan to cope.  With the help of the internet I have come up with some actions that will help keep me sane.

1. First and most importantly, remind yourself that our children are not our own.  They do not belong to us.  They were given to us on loan from our Father.  This is a very difficult concept for some but I truly believe this to be so.  Once you can come to terms with this much, of your anxiety will be lifted up off your shoulders.

Psalm 139:13-16-  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.                

Children are given to us as a gift from God.  It is our job to train their hearts and prepare them for Heaven.  God has a plan and we can trust him so there is no need to be anxious or worried.  We can cast our burdens and fears on Him and he will carry them.

Isaiah 41:10- So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand

By letting your children go you are providing them with an opportunity to feel proud and confident:  If we shelter our children and live in fear for them we can never let them fly.  They will stay by our side and miss out on the many experiences in life.  They will not grow or be curious.  This will cause a lack of self-confidence.  This fear will make them believe that they are incapable of doing things on their own.  That they do not possess the wisdom and ingenuity to face any of life’s challenges.  Children need to be brave and courageous and if she pass our fears on to them this is impossible.

When teaching my daughter- who is also my last of three children- to ride her bike I was getting frustrated because it was taking her so long to get it.  I had to keep holding on to the back of the bike and I was starting to take it out on her.   I threatened that I would have to start letting go because she was never going to learn.  I was displacing my anger on her because I didn’t want to let her go.  I was afraid that she would fall and hurt herself.  I stopped right there in my tracks and asked for forgiveness.  I also realized that I needed to trust that she would be taken care of.  I needed to place her in His hands where she belonged.  Right then and there I made a conscious decision to do this.  The rest of the way home was probably our happiest moment together.  We laughed harder than ever before.  She lost her balance a few times but never her humor.   I trailed behind giggling hysterically, shouting words of praise and clapping enthusiastically.  “You got this Sofia!” Her eyes beamed with pride.  Thinking to herself, “I totally got this!”

2. Teach your child emergency strategies:  Have a discussion with your child about making sure to never be alone.  This will avoid any opportunities for getting lost or separated from the group.  Your child needs to be aware of the adults and where they are at all times.  They need to understand the importance of staying with someone.  If for some reason, they do become lost they have to know how to find help.  They should be given a cell phone if possible so that they can call 911 or the adults in their group.  The phone must be charged and they are in charge of keeping track of it.  If a cell phone is not an option, then give them a map with directions to the nearest hospital and/or police department, as well as, a list of emergency contacts.   They should also always carry cash on them in case of an emergency.  Finally, they should be aware of the people around them and only seek help from police authorities.  They should never get into a vehicle with a stranger.

3. Set up a communication plan:  Explain to your child how often and when you will be checking in.  Set this up with the adults in charge or just plan to call your child’s cell phone if that’s an option.  Letting your child know that you are thinking of them and that you are always there for them can relieve them of any anxieties and also help keep them grounded.  Be cautious about telling your child that you miss them.  This may add to anxieties or difficulties with separation.  Instead try just expressing your excitement for them on this new adventure.

4.  Write a letter and put it in their bag:  I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay connected to your child.  They will enter the world and be distracted by many things.  They may lose their way.   If you can stay connected it will help keep them grounded.  Well, ultimately it is in God’s hands but reminders are helpful.

5.  Prepare their hearts: You are doing a lot of planning for their physical safety but it’s most important to protect their spiritual safety.  Open their hearts with prayer.  Remind them to check in with God daily- who is always there to guide and protect.  Pray with them and ask God for courage and strength.  He always  provides for us.

Deuteronomy 31:6- Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Make a list of prayers and pray every day.   Do not underestimate the power of prayer.  It works!!  Yes, God has a plan and he is always there but when we pray we are connecting with our child and God simultaneously.  We can protect our children’s hearts through prayer.

God, Please watch over Antonio and his entire team while they travel.  May Antonio always know that you are in his heart and that your love is unconditional.  I pray that he loves you openly with all his heart, body, mind, and soul.  I pray that he will treat others respectfully and kindly.  That he will serve others, protect the weak,  and live a life with integrity and courage.  I entrust you with his life and soul to protect and guide to salvation.

How To Let Go… Let God… And Let Your Child Travel Without You (Part one)

bus picMy son Antonio is ten years old and will be taking a trip with his soccer team.  This is going to be a 10 hour bus ride out of the country, from the US to Toronto for a four day tournament.  We have never let our children sleep over at anyone’s house other than grandparents and aunts.   Words can not begin to express how terrified I am for this.  I will admit that I am neurotic and over-protective when it comes to this.

My husband and son are so extremely excited and apparently prepared for this next step in his soccer life but I am NOT on the same page.  I am very anxious and can’t stop thinking about it.  So the best thing to do is get advice from sane, calm, rational people on-line.  It was actually difficult for me to find help in this area which made me think it is definitely something I need to write about.  When I get anxious or stressed out I ALWAYS have to figure out how to solve my problem or eliminate my fears.  I have had such great success doing this through inspirational people and books I have found on-line.  So I did this again and have come up with some wonderful tips that I think are going to help me prepare for this big event and bring me some peace at the same time.

First, I need to acknowledge my fears.  I need to add a disclaimer right now!  They are irrational and extremely insane and I know this but still they are stuck in my brain and I can’t rationalize them out quite yet.

  • Routines and Hygiene: My son has an extremely difficult time completing routines.  As far as hygiene goes let’s just say he doesn’t quite see it’s importance right now!  He has gone to great lengths in finding maneuvers to trick me.  The running the toothbrush under the water no longer works!  I catch on quickly- but none the less he is not a quitter and he tries something new!
  • Physical safety: He carries an epi-pen because of nut allergies.  I hope that he is responsible enough to watch what he eats and has it near him at all times.  The other big piece of physical safety I realize deals with very irrational fears.  I am terrified of the stories I have heard in the media regarding kids being killed or sexually assaulted in the bathrooms while parents were only feet away.  My rational brain tells me the odds of this occurring are very slim, however, I continue to tell myself that I will not let this happen to our family.  I will not let him go to the washroom unattended until he is old enough to fight an attacker.  I will protect myself and him from this horrible tragedy in any way that I can.   After all, that’s my job as his parent and if I don’t do this I have failed miserably.
  • Emotional and spiritual safety: My son does not have a smart phone and our computer is in an open communal room in our house.  I am trying to shield him from images and words that he is not ready for.  I want to protect his innocence and his childhood.  I want to keep him in a bubble at least until he’s 12 or 14.  I haven’t quite decided yet when a good time to “pop the bubble” will be.  What if another team mate shows him a picture or video that is inappropriate.  All my work in protecting him will have been for nothing with just a 3 second video or image.

So now what???  Doing something makes me feel better so I have to come up with a plan to cope.  With the help of the internet I have come up with some actions that will help keep me sane.  Find out this week what those strategies are….

Actors needed!

star

I’ve done it again!  This is definitely a pattern for me.   Some might say I’m a dreamer, an optimist, but I know that’s not true.  I’m the most pessimistic, unconfident person out there.  OK fine, I’ll agree with dreamer but nothing ever comes of my dreams.  So here I go again.  What am I doing on a community college campus?  What in the world did I get myself into?  Is this a mid-life crisis or something?  I had this great idea to take an acting class while my daughter is in kindergarten.  As I get out of my car, I realize it seemed like a much better idea in theory.  I start to feel a bit warm in my cheeks and try to not look around.  I just begin to smile and laugh.  I can’t believe I’m doing this.  I can’t believe I’m actually here.  I wish someone I knew could see or hear me now.  I hear music blaring from a car passing by and kids that look like they are not actually old enough to drive with their backpacks slung over one shoulder are on all sides of.  One student seriously whizzes by on a hands free segway (the invention claiming to be the hoverboard).  I find the building my class is in and after about 10 minutes going up and down the same staircases and back tracking down the same hallways I find my room.  That was a feat in itself!  This might have been the second sign from above that this was not a good idea- I think the man upstairs was telling me to get back in my car and go the hell home.  The first sign was the four parking lots and 15 minutes of driving around before I could actually park my car.  Some might say, “What ambition”, “What drive”, or “What perseverance”, but I know the reality is that I”m just dumb, crazy, and stubborn.  So…. in I go to an almost empty classroom with only chairs- no desks to hide in.  I smile and sit myself down hoping I might blend in, but who am I kidding I’m almost 40 and these kids I quite possibly could have babysat when I was in the eighth grade.

It’s in this class that I have to for the first time since I was a freshman in high school act out a scene from a play.  That was over 24 years ago!!!  Plus, I was only on the drama club for one year and I never actually performed in any real plays or musicals.  All I could think about was what an idiot I was.  Thoughts raced through my mind-none of them positive.  You’re shy! You’re socially awkward! You are quite and not much of a talker!  The only drama you express is in the comfort of your own home in front of your family.  Let’s not forget that you have no confidence, and that you are essentially a very boring and uninteresting person!  Plus, I think I might just lack emotion or affect in my voice.  I have a horribly monotone whining voice.  How the hell did I think taking an acting class was going to be a great idea!  It’s like a bad audition for American Idol.  Why doesn’t someone tell that person they suck!!!  None the less, I do it and I survive.  I think there were worse people than me but then again there’s no video to prove it.

So what’s the point here? What will I do now?  Well, in reality I really don’t know.  This is how most of my life goes.  I never really truly know what I’m going to do, but for now I will continue on.  I’ll finish this class even if it’s the most humiliating thing I ever do.  Maybe it will give me confidence, make me more exciting to talk to at parties, or who knows maybe it’s something that can actually be learned even at an old age.  I guess If there’s anything that I know about myself it’s that I’m not a quitter.  I want to see this through-give it a real shot.  It’s something I always regretted not pursuing.   Maybe it’s a bucket list thing, maybe it’s a mid-life crisis- but damn it- I’m gonna see this thing through.  I may be a complete and utter failure but I definitely am not a quitter.  So guess what?  The majority of people in this world are mediocre and average.  There are only a small percentage of people who are great and phenomenal.  These are only a select few.  So stop quitting just because you can’t be that dynamic 10% of the population.  What about the rest of us?  Join the masses but don’t be like everyone else.  Find your path, even if it’s a scary one and even if you might fail.  You might learn something along the way.  It might lead you to your true path, your purpose or your God given talent.  The point is you’ll never know if you sit in your house and do the same thing everyday.  Challenge yourself, get out of your comfort zone.  God does not want us to waste this life.  Keep trying to discover yourself.  Never give up!!  This is what makes life worth living.

Get out there and find your part.  I’ll let you know how mine pans out.