Sunday, May 30, 2010

Forgiveness and the Search for Quan

It's hard to believe that a week has passed. It's been a crazy week here with almost everyone in my house sick. Seasonal asthma sucks.

Last weekend my husband and I had an argument, all over the mulch if you can believe that. No, I guess it wasn't really over the mulch but rather our communication skills with one another. In the course of the argument, things came up - on both sides - from our past together.

I realized then that these events from our past - while I had put the hurt of these past incidents on the back burner, I had neither forgotten or forgiven them. To be sure, these were large events in our lives, but they did happen almost 4 years ago or more. Why was I holding on to that hurt? And how did it impact our relationship together?

Holding on to past hurts is like a festering wound, and this one was in my heart. I never took the splinter out to let the wound heal but rather, nursed the pain and resentment that the pain had caused. Sure, it was buried good and deep and on most days, no one would even know it was there but it was there.... infecting all the positives in my life and even impacting my ability to connect with my husband on a deeply emotional level. Why, you ask ? Because I didn't trust him not to do it again. So I waited, nursing the pain and the hurt, licking my wounds in the dark where I thought no one could see.

Here's the thing though, that anger and resentment - it's like a cancer and the person that it hurts the most is you. I realized that to truly move on in my relationship, I had to decide if I could really forgive those past hurts and truly put them in the past where they belonged. Ultimately, I believe that I can do that and that I have done that. Sometimes arguments are healthy in a relationship as long as you aren't doing it all the time and as long as what needs to be aired is actually being aired.

I trust that my husband wouldn't hurt me for anything in the world, sometimes he just isn't an effective communicator and he doesn't know any better, but I can honestly say he is trying. As for me, I pulled the splinter out of my heart because I want my heart to be whole and healthy so that I can truly share it with my family and friends.

I honestly believe that in order to be truly happy, you have to be willing to risk your heart and forgive those that may have hurt you. You even have to forgive yourself. It's a process, but it's definitely worth it.

Love suffers long and is kind: love does not envy; love does not parade itself; it is not puffed up; does not behave rudely,does ont seek it's own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in injury but rejoices in the truth,bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. True love never dies.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sunday Feature - The Search for Quan

Did you see that movie Jerry McGuire? I love that movie. I hate Tom Cruise, but I still love that movie. The idea of Quan comes from there - it is an idea espoused by Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character that means a complete happiness. Perfection. A friend of mine started doing a weekly feature on her blog about cooking and that gave me an idea. I am going to do a weekly feature too. The Sunday search for Quan. Who's with me? I want to be my own ambassador of Quan.

I started a month ago with my World According to Snowflake, though I just didn't know then that I was on a larger quest. What makes me happy? This is going to be a weekly query and maybe, just maybe, some of the things that work for me will also work for you.

One thing I know is true - happiness is a state of mind. Things can not give it to you ( though they can make life easier) Money can't buy it, no matter how much money you have ( though like the above statement, having enough money for necessities also makes life easier.) Finally, and I think this is most important, no one else can make you happy. You have to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else.

The most simplistic advice I have is that happiness is a decision. We all have a choice every day. My mother always told me to find the joy in everyday. I really try to do that. Today spending one on one time with my oldest daughter brought me joy. The sense of purpose that going to school or working with the children at the school gives me is something that has also enhanced my daily joy factor. I love the way my blanket smells just out of the wash and these are just a few things that bring me joy - small, every day things.

The biggest thing that I have done in my life lately that I know has increased my happiness factor? I have limited how much news that I watch. It's never good news. The world is coming to an end every night, or some baby was killed by their mother, it's always something tragic. I remember when I was watching the news, I would step out of my house, look up at the sky and expect to see it falling. I always wondered why it wasn't? I do stay informed. I read the news - online for a large variety of sources, but I don't watch the news anymore and it has definitely been a change for the better as far as my state of mind is concerned.

Turn in next weekend to join me in my continued search for Quan.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say - What A Novel Concept.

It seems like such a simple concept- saying what you mean and meaning what you say - and yet, it is one that is put into everyday practice so rarely. Think about it, businesses, politicians, every day people - how often do you hear them saying one thing and doing exactly the opposite? It's exasperating.

My father was a man of his word. He could be counted on to do exactly what he said he was going to. For example, when he and my mother got divorced, he told my mother that he would give her some established sum of money for the rest of his life. He did. Every month. Before he passed, he expressed to my sisters and myself that it was his wish that action would continue even after his death. Not many people are like that today, which brings me to the point of today's post...

Three weeks ago, I purchased a new washer and dryer from Best Buy. I had purchased two machines from them 11 years ago and had been extremely satisfied. Now, when it was time to replace those machines, I naturally returned to their store. My buying experience was spectacular - great customer service and more. They delivered exactly when they said they were going to deliver and everything was wonderful.

Fast forward until this last Sunday when my new washing machine, which I absolutely adore, starting pouring water out of the soap dispenser of all places! I immediately called the Geek Squad ( yes, I know what you are thinking but they do handle appliance repairs too...) to set up an appointment to repair my machine. I had, after all, spent $400 extra to get the extended five year warranty on BOTH machines. I had a great experience, they expedited my service and scheduled the repair appointment for Tuesday, which was yesterday. They told me that I would receive a call on Tuesday letting me know what time they would be here. So I waited....

9 o'clock came and went, so I called them to find out what time I needed to be back from school to be here for the repairman. They had absolutely no idea what I was talking about and worse, they had no intention of coming out yesterday. Now, I have a family of four and one dog, and I don't know about you, but I just can't go that long without my washing machine. I informed them that wasn't going to work for me that they needed to abide by what they originally told me. Long story short, after much excuses and apologizing they didn't mean what they said. They failed absolutely and completely to keep their service contract with me.

I didn't stop there though, oh no. Now I was pissed. So I called the store manager where I bought the machine. I told him the whole scenario- positive experience with purchase and delivery - abject failure on service contract. So I told him that unless something was done, I was going to cart the washer and dryer off to the curb of my house with a BIG sign that said, " I bought these lemons at Best Buy, if you want to purchase appliances from a company that stands by their promises, don't go there." I told him I would take pictures and post it all over my blog, facebook, the local newspaper, EVERYWHERE. Further, I'm a Navy wife and we all know, bad news spreads like wildfire. Needless to say, he found me a new machine and it will be exchanged for the one I have now, to be delivered later today...

I still don't know what time today but if you hear of seismic activity here in CT, well..... you'll know what happened. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This year, as I celebrate another Mother's Day, I celebrate the greatest gift I have ever been given - my precious children. Being a mother has always been something that was incredibly important to me. My own mother was such an inspiration in my life that I wanted to share that love with my own children. There was only one problem....

When I was 17, my gynecologist found precancerous cysts in my uterus. They did experimental (then) laser surgery. I was told that it was highly unlikely that I would ever have children. I was devastated.

Several years passed, I moved on with my life. I was in college, in love and almost everything in my life was perfect. Except... I couldn't get rid of my period. I bled for months on end and then finally.... it stopped. My boyfriend (then) and I were getting ready to graduate from college and not only did my period stop, but it left completely. I went to the doctor and took a pregnancy test - negative. So they gave me some pills to bring on my period and told me it was probably the stress of graduation. I didn't give it another thought. Another month passed. No period. The doctor was concerned that I may have cysts in my uterus again, so he gave me an ultrasound. What he found was not a cyst... but a miracle. What he found was my now 11 year old daughter....

My boyfriend and I, already planning on spending our life together, were thrilled about the baby. We got married and my family lived in new bliss. It lasted for three years and then, on another mother's day..... I lost a second baby. Miscarriage - on Mother's Day. I was devastated. I had been trying to get pregnant for over a year with no success. I was starting to think it would never happen again. God had blessed me with such a beautiful child, I felt bad about asking for more, but somehow, my family just didn't seem complete. My husband deployed and when he came home, he gave me a wonderful Christmas present.... My now six year old daughter.

Motherhood has been a joy, a challenge, a life altering experience. It's impossible to imagine loving another being so completely until... you do. My daughters are the greatest gift - Mother's day or otherwise - that I have ever been given. They make me whole and give my life a true purpose. None of this would be possible though without the amazing man that I am lucky enough to call my husband. For loving me and for our beautiful daughters, I am eternally grateful. No matter what life may bring, I will love you if for no other reason than a part of you is a part of them. Thank you my darling Robert.... thank you.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I started working on my Masters Degree in Education three weeks ago. It's exhilirating to have so many ideas dancing around my head. It's exciting to be talking about theories and situational activities that I may someday be using in my own classroom. Wow, what an awesome responsibility.
I work 7 -10 hours at my children's school. I absolutely love working with the children, which is part of the reason why I chose to get my degree in Education in the first place. But, just like with any other job, some days are better than others.
I was in the first grade class yesterday morning. My job was to help the children who didn't understand a Math worksheet by assisting them with the more difficult components that they didn't understand allowing them to complete it. Most of the children are happy for help. They want to do what is necessary and they recognize that sometimes they need a little personalized guidance. I have one student though who really doesn't respond well to teacher intervention. I'll call him Andrew.
Andrew is very bright, but he has some behavioral issues and family problems. Some days with Andrew are better than others. On a good day, he is eager to tell me what is going on with his life, look at his work and provide insight and instruction. Yesterday was not a good day.
Andrew was having trouble with his math sheet and it was a rather complex worksheet for first graders. They were working on reading a graph, but in this case, the symbols on the graph represented more than one, so they children had to read the directions accurately and then count by the appropriate number. (2,3,or 5) Andrew had the right answers if the computation would have been 1. He doesn't handle correction well and when I asked him if he would like some help, he just shut down. He wouldn't look at me, make eye contact, talk to me... it was terrible. The only saving grace was that he was like that for his regular teacher and her full time aid as well.
I know that there are children like Andrew and it will be my job to help them. I wonder how I will meet that challenge when I can't help one little boy with his math problems? He did hug me when I left, but that doesn't help him read the graph.