Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflections of 2009

Well, like most people I am reflecting on this past year. Many say they are glad the year is almost over and I'm not immune to that sentiment. I'm actually very grateful to see this year pass for many reasons. Most too personal to publicly present here but I'm not one to present a facade so people think I live a perfect, rosy life. Certainly, I can't complain too much, but as it is, I have had my ups and downs. I will say though, with the utmost honesty, that the good times outweighed the bad. The bad were huge learning lessons for me. Ones that I'll take to learn and grow from.

This next year is already promising and I'm looking forward to an amazing 2010. All-in-all, as I am only three days away from my 38th year of life, I've learned many valuable lessons. So with that, my list of things I've learned or have been reminded of:
  • Through my first experience of losing a job this year, without it being my choice to leave, I'm reminded that a job and job title does not make me who I am. It is only an accompanyment to the real me and I'm okay with that. 
    • I vow to be a better employee, leader, teacher, mentor and boss (should that be in the stars for me this year).
  • I've learned that I am ever-so-fortunate to have ended up in the industry I work in and I am ever-so-grateful for the path I've gone down. 
    • I'm humbled by the opportunities available to me and vow not to take this for granted.  
  • I've been reminded (once again) that money does not make life perfect and happy. I've had times when the money is abundant and times when it's not. I'm blessed to be married to a man who keeps me grounded and helps to remind me of the most important things in life, which cannot be bought with money.
    • I vow to be a better wife and best friend.
  • I've also been reminded that family is important (this includes friends who are as close as family). I haven't been the best at being involved and in-touch.
    • I vow to be a better daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend.
  • I've been reminded that I must constantly work on keeping a healthy mind/body/spirit which includes a home/work-life balance. This isn't the easiest feat with the type of lifestyles we lead in the consumer-driven, capitalistic society we live in.
    • I vow to find my center and strive for balance.
  • I've also been reminded that some people come into our lives for a short season, while others remain for longer, more permanent roles in our lives. I'm okay with that and finally at the age (and EQ level) to accept that without regrets. 
    • I vow to appreciate each person I touch lives with. Hoping for mostly positive experiences, than anything else, of course.
While I still wonder the impact that social networking sites (Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, etc.) will have on our society, I am grateful for the mediums for many reasons. This year, I've used these mediums for various reason but I'm most grateful for its ability to help keep in touch with those at a distance, and even those in close proximity.

I am touched and blessed when I get a random post from individuals who at one time may have been a coworker, employee, colleague, peer or student because I now call these individuals friends. I am also grateful for the ability to keep in touch with family, especially those of my husbands family who live everywhere else but Phoenix. This year I was honored to meet the Guillen-clan who live mostly in Ecuador and happy to have found out a large majority are on Facebook. :) Ah, the benefits of technology.

I'm not one to make New Years resolutions. Quite honestly, I don't believe they least not for me. I gave that up years ago. However, I do tend to make short and long-term goals and I have a few for this coming year. I'll post those in my first 2010 blog entry, though.

Here's to the end of another year...

Happy New Year family and friends!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All over the place

As the holidays near, the media tells us we're to be happy and boisterous in celebration. Reminding us to appreciate and spend time with family and buy, buy, buy for them. But the fact is, this time of year should really be no different than any other time of the year. Shouldn't we always appreciate our family? Further, when I don't buy, buy, buy for people the rest of the year (unless it's something from my heart or needed), why would I cave into the pressure of buying so many gifts this time of year? Don't get me wrong, I'm no scrooge muttering 'bah humbug'...but I am taking a stand against the consumer driven society we live in that makes people feel they are less than worthy if they're unable to boost the economy with purchases to present to family and friends.

For the first time in many years, I'm baking, cooking and making things by hand. This is from my heart and takes much more creativity and personal investment than anything I could purchase at the store. Of course, I have to tell that to my niece and nephew who reminded me of how excited they were to open up all their gifts in a couple of days. Ah yes, programming of the young minds.

Sadly, yesterday I was reminded that no matter what time of year, people will still die (as some did in a horrible car pile-up on I-10 due to a dust storm). I imagine that they were going about their lives the same way we did yesterday. Having no clue of their fate. As sad as that is to share, I share it because it is a reminder that regardless of the time of year, we should live each day to its fullest. We just never know when this life is over.

On another note, I was also reminded of how blessed I am. I was asked to interview for a position at a college that I didn't even apply for. That, in itself, is something to feel pretty good about. As the Dean and two others asked me questions, I had no choice but to reflect on my life and how I reached where I am today. Looking back at the past 20 years (yes, it's been THAT long since I graduated from high school), I can certainly take some credit for the years and years of studying I've done but I cannot take credit for the path that was laid before me. It just happened to be one of those things that was meant to be (God's path for me, fate, etc.) and I was fortunate enough to follow it. Even if this position is not meant to be the next step in my career, the interview gave me an opportunity to reflect on all the positives in my life and how what I've been blessed with, must be given back in some way.

Life is not perfect, it never will be, but it is blessed. And I will work hard to remind myself of this on a daily basis. I realize I'm all over the place on this post, but I'm feeling rather all over the place so my writing reflects that.

Merry Christmas family and friends!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

E-books: The Read of the Future

Many of us in higher ed have been utilizing e-books in our nontraditional online classrooms for years. Some institutions, University of Phoenix (UOP) specifically, have done a fantastic job at integrating technology and learning, with e-books being a logical step in the process. Why not provide students with course materials that will be available to them at the click of a mouse? It would save time and money in the long run, while at the same time stretching the use of technology in a different direction.

I recall the transition of going from hard copy books to e-books while working as a director for the South Florida campus of University of Phoenix. If I can recall correct, this was somewhere around 2002 or 2003 (don't hold me to that, though). A small campus in comparison to many of the older, established campuses in the Western part of the country, our campus director thought it would be a good idea for the department heads to split up the groups, which met four out of five evenings per week, and do personal announcements of this very important transition. Well, let me just say that the reception was not well taken.

Overall, students were not happy with the decision the university had made. Certainly understandable when, traditionally speaking, textbooks always came in hard copy format. This change would not give them an option, without additional expense on their part. There was an uproar of disgruntled students with many valid concerns and some valid complaints. As the director over the student services department, I knew that the phone calls and emails would most likely hit my desk first. And, the phone did ring and emails did arrive. But, we got through that transition and looking back, the benefits far outweighed the valid concerns and complaints.

Although I can't say that UOP was the only school introducing e-books to their student body, I'm confident it was the largest, for-profit, nontraditional educational institution doing it at the time. As the years have passed, UOP has not only transitioned all of their courses from hard copy texts to e-books, but they have created a course materials 'package' for each course accessible to students via their student website. I must admit that after teaching for a few different schools, theirs is by far the most comprehensive, well-developed package of resources for each course. And amazingly, the cost to the student is minuscule in comparison to the cost of hard copy text books and course materials at most institutions.

These days, the big issue these days is which e-book reader to choose for personal reading. E-books are now the rage and you'll find more novels, memoirs, reference books, etc. available in this format. There are several e-book readers on the market these days and I imagine that more will pop-up as we move forward and more books become available electronically.

In the article The Future of E-books presented in The Chronicle of Higher Ed a few days ago, the author discusses the devices that are available to consumers now and what to expect. I found this article interesting because I'm in an industry that has managed to gain access to textbooks in electronic format long before these devices hit the market. This seems to be the next logical step in reading; for educational and personal purposes. What are your thoughts?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Kudos for nontraditional higher ed institutions!!!

Empowering words from a high official with the Department of Education for nontraditional higher ed institutions. Twenty years ago this would have never happened. The changes in higher education in our country are summed up by the last paragraph in this article...

"Two-thirds of the students who are underrepresented in higher education enter through community colleges and your colleges," she said. "It's time people understood that nearly half of all students in the country are already in community colleges and career colleges, and the rest are in institutions that are in many ways becoming nontraditional." (Blumenstyk, 2009, Dec. 11).

Take a moment to read the article.

Kudos to educators and administrators in nontraditional higher ed!!!

Blumenstyk, G. (2009, Dec. 11) The Chronicle of Higher Education. High Official in Education Department Has Warm Words for For-Profit Colleges. Retrieved December 11, 2009 from

Monday, December 7, 2009

What keeps you balanced?

It's barely going to be 6pm and it's already dark out. A sure sign that winter is approaching. For those who live in states where winter has been present for the past month or so, winter in the desert is nothing in comparison. Waking up to snow on the ground here in Phoenix will most likely never happen. Salt on the sidewalks to make them less slippery will never be required. And surely, a snow plow will not be used. 52 degrees, dark clouds and rain is COLD for a desert rat.

As of this writing a third cup of hot tea is being consumed - skipping coffee today for some reason - on a quest to stay warm on the inside, while the house heater works on keeping me warm on the outside. Two beautiful doggies, Lumpy and Widdle, draped on me in the office chair. Lumpy, wrapped around my shoulders like a mink shawl. Widdle curled up on my lap. Not the most ideal sitting position for me but they sure are helping in keeping me warm.

Having started the day with work, the afternoon has found me toggling back and forth between making Christmas trees out of magazines (which requires folding each page several times), writing for my Higher Ed blog, contemplating whether or not I have time to write in this blog, making dinner, feeding the dogs and cats, making mental notes of the painting technique I'll try later, and, watching national news (which has been on in the background all day). There are so many things on my "want-to-do" list that I can't seem to concentrate on one for too long before getting started on another.

My want-to-do list is one that I've just recently begun to focus on again. Having neglected many things for too long and finally feeling free and ready to tap into my creative side. I find that this focus helps to keep me mentally and emotionally healthy, which is a balance that is so important to each of us. In these busy days and lives we lead, we can so easily get lost in the daily grind that we forget to invest the time in things that we need to help keep us balanced. For some people, it's art, music, writing. For others, it's their faith, religion, spirituality. Some people prefer reading, exercising, cooking. Whatever it might be that keeps you balanced, I encourage you to squeeze time in to focus on it. Family and work are absolutely important but we can't forget taking care of our 'self'. Finding that work/life balance. What keeps you balanced?

Proposed rule changes for enrollment...

Late last week I read an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education regarding the U.S. Department of Education's proposed changes, regarded to as 'tweaked' changes, to existing regulations that will affect for-profit institutions in higher ed. The article states that many people in higher ed are calling the proposed changes as too aggresive. Not surprisingly, it is advocates and admissions offices from traditional institutions who have "urged the department to do away with the safe harbors, arguing that the exemptions, which allow colleges to pay enrollment-based commissions under certain circumstances, encourage recruiters to sign up unqualified students" (Gonzalez, 2009).

Having never been employed in an enrollment department at a college or university, I have worked directly with enrollment and the students they recruit into degree programs from the perspective of student services, academic advising and, in the past nine years, as a faculty member. I have seen and head of aggressive and unethical practices on the part of enrollment staff and as a faculty member, have worked with students who clearly are not prepared for or qualified to be a college student.

By sharing this, I'm not knocking the enrollment/admissions department of any institution. On the contrary, colleges and universities must rely on the department, referred to as the 'bread and butter' of the institution by many, to recruit, qualify and prepare individuals for their college path. In my experience, I have also worked with many ethical, selfless, education-focused and education leaders whose primary goal is to help individuals better their lives by enrolling in college. Many of my colleagues, who I worked with in their early years in enrollment, are now managers, directors and executive leaders of many higher ed institutions - for-profit and not-for-profit.

This is where I'm torn. Unfortunately, I have seen the repercussions of ineffective enrollment staff on the back-end of a students educational experience with a university. I've heard stories of credits promised, shortened time for degree completion, recommendations for mis-use of Title IV funding, etc. While not the majority of what I've witnessed and experienced, it has been enough for me to understand and know this is an issue that does need guidelines. Although I'm not sure I would trust representatives from traditional institutions to be the driving force behind the changes of the safe harbors. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

Article --> Officials of For-Profit Colleges See Department's Proposed Rule Changes as 'Aggressive'

Gonzalez, J. (2009, Dec. 1). Officials of For-Profit Colleges See Department's Proposed Rule Changes as 'Aggressive'. Retrieved December 6, 2009 at

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Back to Where it Began

Last night I taught a group of freshman level students in a classroom that I'm most certain I once sat in as a student. If not as a student, I most certainly attended a work meeting in this classroom. As I ponder this, I realize what a unique position I find myself. Not many people have the opportunity to return to where it all began.

The building where the classroom is located is also the same building that I once occupied as an employee on various floors throughout the years. On the first floor I worked as an Admissions Coordinator, on the second floor I worked as an Education Administrator, and on the seventh floor, I was an Academic Counselor and Reentry Counselor. In other positions I was housed in the four-story building across the courtyard. At the very beginning of my career with UOP, I worked at off-site, satellite campuses (for those of you who might recall, the Downtown and Northwest Campuses are where I worked, respectively). I worked in nearly every department within the Student Services department. At that time in my life (my early twenties), I had no clue that one day I would be a director over this department.

Fast forward to last night...walking into the seven-story building, up the stairs to the second floor, into classroom 204...I'm no longer that young girl starting her career. I'm the teacher, faculty, instructor, many titles for what I do these days. I'm no longer shy, insecure, inexperienced. I'm back to the same place where I started, yet, because of nontraditional higher education, I'm a completely different person. The experience I gained as an employee of the University of Phoenix went beyond the entry-level coordinator and administrator roles that I held in the early years. It took me from having a job, to having a career.

In his book, Rebel with a Cause, Dr. John Sperling states, " own aims always have been centered around social change, and about increasing opportunities for those born without the middle-class entitlements that our consumer culture seems to take for granted." It was his own aim, that changed the course of my life. Sent me down a path that may not have happened otherwise. I am well-rounded, cultured, open-minded, experienced and educated because of his goal to bring about change in higher education.

It was Dr. Sperling's firm stance on the need for nontraditional higher ed, that has allowed me to return to the place where it all began. Older, wiser, appreciative, and, with the goal of giving back. Thank you Dr. Sperling...I'll never take all you did for granted.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A product of nontraditional higher ed...

As mentioned in the “about me” section of this blog, I have spent the past 20 year, my whole career, in nontraditional higher ed. While I have dabbled in various forms of traditional higher ed, not only as a student but also as a faculty/teacher, my dedication remains true to nontraditional higher education. In many ways, I owe who I am and what I have to this industry and although I’m far from an industry expert, my time, experience and education lead me down this path.

In my professional experience I spent 16 years working full-time for the University of Phoenix, which laid the foundation for nontraditional higher ed in our country. My last full-time position with the university was as the Director of Operations and Student Services for the South Florida Campuses. Currently, I am an Adjunct Faculty member at the Phoenix Campus. I am proud to be a graduate, proponent, educator and product of the organization built by Dr. John Sperling. My detailed CV (an academic version of a resume) can be found here.

This university, run as a business and referred to as the “Company” by Dr. Sperling himself, would not only make its mark in the world of higher education and the business world, but it would also make its mark in my life. Spending the past 20 years of my life tied to this organization in a part-time, then full-time, and once again, part-time capacity, has been a dominant force in molding who I am as a person, employee and now, educator.

The purpose of this blog is to share my perspective, opinion (academically sound ones and personal ones), experiences and insight to the world of nontraditional higher ed.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Your stories awaken me

Your eyes; brown, soft, loving.
Smiling heart exudes to the surface.
Warm hands hold mine; gently rubbing.

Waking up in a strange place; unfamiliar.
Lonely; unknown surrounds.
Stories upon stories. So many, all different.

Awaken; dreams disrupted through the night.
Reminded of the familiar; true love.
Your eyes; faithful, consistent, real.

Home; waking up next to me.
Known surroundings; fulfilled.
Chapter upon chapter; building together.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Is cleanliness next to Godliness?

The pile of dirty laundry, in the room that will eventually be the office, looked daunting. Having avoided it long enough the options of clean items and such had dwindled down to one towel, very few articles of clothing and, well, the bed sheets needed to be changed. Still living in and out of boxes with about 60% left out on the back patio, which is down from a few days ago, maybe not by much but it is progress.

Separating it into appropriate piles has always been the first order of business when tackling laundry. Taking longer than expected, in the end, hills of laundry surrounded the room. Not piles; hills. 12 loads needed to be washed, dried and folded. One washer and dryer in the house was going to take hours to complete. Then the bright light went "ding" and the idea of taking all of it to a laundromat came up.

Having not been in a laundromat for years, what was to be expected? It was much cleaner than imagined. Less occupied than thought to be. More expensive than recalled. Faster than thought. So fast, the first four loads seemed to be completed through the wash cycle before the last pile was put into the washer. Drying came next and one can only wish to have those supersized dryers at home; a time saver, for sure.

Being in a laundromat was a reminder of youth. Times in the winter when the family lugged the bags and baskets of laundry to the laundromat because line-drying would be impossible; too cold to dry outside. Folding warm, Downey-fresh clothes and linen; a reminder of how much cleanliness defines. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, or so they say. If that's true, would one be disconnected from God with 12 piles of dirty laundry?

Thoughts of sleeping on clean sheets, warm and clean-smelling, brings a smile. Imagining the doggies rolling around in the clean beds and blankets. Thinking of the clothes that will be available to wear, now that the weather is turning chilly. All reasons that make this all worth it.

12 hills of laundry, finally clean. Breathing a sigh of relief and turning attention to more unpacking.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Haiku of the day...My work

Nearly halt my breath;
Reading and grading to do;
So many papers.

What did I ever do without a dishwasher?

I remember life well without a dishwasher. My mom started me young on learning the basic human principles of keeping a tidy house. Rather, she forced it on me. Mainly because I hated the duties, any and all, associated with keeping a tidy house. Especially since it seemed I never seemed to clean and tidy at the level of expectation that my mom had. I seemed to always leave steaks on the mirrors, would miss a patch of floor while sweeping and definitely didn't lift every ceramic niknak, positioned just-so, on the endless flat surfaces to dust under them. I grew up for the first 24 years of my life living in a home without a dishwasher.

It is for this reason, and only reason that I can surmise, that I have an affinity for washing hand. Yes. I'll admit, even when I have a dishwasher I seem to bypass the electrical powered wash box for the soap and suds in a sink full of warm water. I seem to prefer to get my hands wet and scrub the grease off the dishes, pots and pans, with the help of Palmolive or any other new dish soap that promises to keep my hands soft and smooth while I do the dishes (see previous entry regarding my affinity for new shampoos...this is a similar obsession).

Anyhow, it was just earlier this week that I noticed our new home doesn't have a dishwasher. While unpacking more kitchen items (I'm quite prepared for almost any dish I love to whip up...yet, I can still think of additional cooking utensils and pans that I could use), it dawned on me that the kitchen was without the electric wash box. As I thought about it further I realized that a dishwasher was not even on our list of "must have" items (such as an air conditioner) when we started looking for a new place to inhabit. For a moment I thought it odd that I didn't put that on our list. The more I thought about it I realized how unimportant having a dishwasher was to me. Even during the times I've had one, it was probably used only about 25% of the time.

Then in my usual fashion of pondering things further, I imagined all the things I actually get done in my head while I'm washing dishes. I plan out my day, think about my life, question my purpose, mentally prepare a grocery store shopping list...the list goes on. As a matter of fact, usually when I'm dealing with something stressful, cooking and washing dishes seem to be very therapeutic for me. There's nothing like chopping veggies or scrubbing pots and pans when I need to let out a little stress.

So what do I do without a dishwasher? Well, I talk to myself quite a bit and have pretty deep conversations with God. I ponder things in my life, evaluate decisions I've made, contemplate decisions I need to make, marinate on things that need my attention, question my motives, values and ethics, try to make sense of my mistakes, and well, if Palmolive isn't lying in the marketing of their product, my hands are getting moisturized at the same time.

Who needs a dishwasher? Not me!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Morning Haiku

Doggies surround me.
Sun shining through the windows.
Living room, sitting.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Paradise Cafe, Borders and my bed...what do they have in common?

On a Friday afternoon when most people are leaving their office for the lunch break, I sit in Paradise Cafe with my hubby, my MacBook and my iPhone, of course. These days my mind races a thousand miles a minute and as much as I want to slow down it feels impossible. It seems lately I have a never-ending pile of papers to grade (suddenly, teaching has become my full-time job again), two articles that I've started in hopes to get published, a survey that I've put together and need to get out to peers, oh yea,...and a dissertation to get started on. So much to do, so little time.

I don't know about most people but I self-analyze quite a bit and find that as much as I try to understand myself, it's through knowing and understanding others that I understand myself. The good, bad and ugly. For example, just a while ago I walked over to Borders to buy a new notebook for my daily 'to do' list. First, the whole point of getting a new one is that the current one I have is filled mostly with work from my last job. The last page, a list of things that were unfinished. Written down thinking I could follow-up and proceed to do my job and when that job was pulled out from under me, the list just sat there. Not looked at again until weeks later. What is funny is that the responsible employee in me made me automatically, mentally transform into the Director of Faculty Services again, and suddenly I was concerned that I had not gotten back to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. I kicked myself momentarily because I really like that Dean (actually, I liked all the Deans...they were great to work with) and I tried my best never to drop the ball on something that I said I would do or research. Then it hit me...there's not need to follow-up, that's not your job anymore. I'm not actually sad that it isn't my job any longer, I'm just sad that I didn't follow-up on what I said I would. The one thing that I've learned over the years is that I'm not defined by the job I have, the money I make or the things I have...which is why I'm still content with life regardless of where I'm at.

Anyway, while in Borders paying for my notebook, there was a young man behind the counter ringing me up being very nice to me. He made small talk with me as we waited for the computer to process my purchase. He asked me if I worked around the area, I told him no and that I was working in the cafe next door grading papers for my online groups. He then asked if I was a teacher, I said yes. He then proceeded to say that he wishes he had gone to college. And like a script in a good movie, that was my cue...

Of course, the educator in me jumped out and suddenly I was sharing with him that most of my students are adults and that it was never too late to go to college. I was ready to call one of my enrollment counselor friends at the variety of colleges and universities I am affiliated with and get him talking to someone. But I was stopped in my tracks as he shrugged and said, "Life is too hard at times. I wish I had done something sooner, now, I can't even see the light at the end of the tunnel." I wasn't sure where to go from there but of course, I did. I went back to talking about how it's never to late to go to school and how the tunnel can be deceiving to us at times. I could have gone on and on....but he was done ringing me up and the next person in line was waiting. Sigh. I just hope what I said will stick with him. This experience made me grateful for the path I've gone down. Whether chosen myself, or for me, there always seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Or maybe I've just been blessed with the opportunity to see the light and seek it out. Either way, I have rarely ever thought things to be hopeless.

This morning I woke up with my hubby laying next to me and our four little dogs snuggled around me in their respective places. There are rules, you know, in the animal kingdom. Our pack leader, Mamita, is a loner and hates for anyone to be touching her while she's sleeping, except for me. Of course, that doesn't stop her from snapping at my toes whenever I shift around and she gets startled. Widdle is happy curled up in a ball sleeping on my left next to Piggy, who sleeps in the same area. They seem to migrate towards each other a's rather cute. Lumpy, on the other hand is our goofball dog. He refuses to sleep next to anyone but me. He moves from sleeping between my calves or up on my pillow above my head. He seems to make this decision based on how I've moved in my sleep and whether or not my move has put him in the position of being touched by one of the other dogs. Sleeping with us is a luxury these days, as we've trained them to sleep on their own beds, and this last night was one of those luxury days. So anyway, my original point was that upon waking up this morning one of the first things out of my hubby's mouth was "I love you with all my heart and I know no one will love you the way I do". I looked at him and with my messy hair, naked face and morning breath, all I could do was tear up in gratitude to God for all I've been blessed with. Especially love. 

Finally, you may be wondering what the three things listed in the title of this post have in common. And to answer that...nothing. They all just happened to be a part of my day. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Contribute your thoughts and opinions...

I'm doing research for an article I'm writing about higher ed for a higher ed journal. If you would like to be a part of my article from an interview perspective, I would love to send you a short questionnaire. The questions will be open-ended, essay-style and will focus on perspectives of the changes we've seen in higher ed in the past 10 years to a future focus on what educators must do to be prepared for the changing student population entering the world of nontraditional education in the next 10 years.

Since so many of you are or have been tied to higher ed for years, it would be great to get your perspective. Shoot me an email at or send me a message via FB and we'll discuss further if you're interested.

Hope to hear from you!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fitting in isn't always possible...

Once upon a time, many, many years ago, I woke up to with butterflies in my stomach. I probably slept very little the night before, as happened most important nights before a big day. Excitement for the first day; going to get books. The summer had flown by and this day arrived sooner than expected. Nervous, scared, hesitant, shy. I wasn't alone, though; friends nearby. Those known from many years before. Some recall the pig-tails and MaryJane shoes. 

A new chapter in life was about to be written. Had no clue what would happen; no clue what the conclusion might be. The introduction was just beginning. A list of scheduled classes on the registration form was clutched by my clammy hand. Glancing at others with piles of books that, for some, would tower over their heads as they carried them.

Each of us assigned a locker. Each of us with different courses. Some of us with different lunch hours. Suddenly, we're small fish in a big pond; so many new faces. Though a core group of friends existed, as the year moved on, some friends became distant, some no longer friends but simply acquaintances, some of them disappeared never to return. Each hour a different class with different people. People who are products of parents and families from all walks of life. Coming from a youth portrayed similarly to those in one of many John Hugh's movies. Different 'groups' of people; jocks, nerds, cheerleaders, stoners, etc., were already known labels. How easily some people fell into those groups. And how interesting it is for those who don't. Those who can't.

A little fish in a big pond, on the outside looking in. Society's categorizations flying above head not always falling on the shoulders of some. Fitting in isn't always possible. Fitting in isn't always desirable. Coming into who one is can be unique, yet, confusing. The first year flew by.

Another year of classes to take. Photography, French, I.B. Algebra; never thought to be possible. A whole new world of knowledge opening up my young mind. Weekends at the library in search of books to read; in search of new lives and worlds made possible through the written word. Journals, periodicals, micro-fiche film, encyclopedia's, autobiographies...a new lexicon introduced to this soul. A world of possibilities.

Yet, amongst all the positive, conflict brews. Tortured minds, hearts and emotions; social, economic and racial differences evident. History stories of the segregated years resonate with personal experiences. Some just don't fit in. Mid-year I'm involved in a physical altercation amongst two groups of girls. All from the same side of the track; why were we fighting each other? Jealousy brews even amongst those thought to belong together. Friendships of the past begin to weaken. 'They' say the older you get the wiser you are; thought to be true in the mind of this sixteen-year old.

Summers spent differently than most when younger. Mom, just fifteen years older, struggled to hold jobs but always survived; always provided. She was the mom and sometimes the dad. She was the hand that ruled. For a few years she would clean others homes to make ends meet; struggling more than needed due to choices made. Yet, she always provided and always survived. Amazing woman, defeated by a lack of education. It didn't have to be this way but it was. "You're so smart; you read and write so well; don't take your brain for granted"...her words always.

Another year, closer to the end. Friends of the past, gone mostly; I'm usually alone. I mind it but I don't. Acquaintances met in classes; some friendships established. In this head, graduation couldn't be close enough. Already planning for the future; looking beyond the gates of this educational institution. A few memorable things; first car, first job. Sweet sixteen come and gone. Already planning for the future; always a mature soul.

A summer of studying; one more year to go. Surviving the heat and not knowing what's to come. Looking back, college wasn't planned. I wasn't told the importance of a G.P.A. and what in the world is an S.A.T.? Why was there a lack of information? Why didn't the counselor advise? Fate would intervene - the divine plan laid out for me.

Final year only half a day of classes required. The afternoons free left room for me to be a member of the COE program. Classes in the morning; office employment in the afternoon. I'll never forget you, Mr. Sheets...your guidance and the interview you sent me on changed the path of my life forever. A private, for-profit university looking for a part-time employee. Ms. C.J. Black interviewed; hired me on the spot. Graduation still couldn't come soon enough.

Homecoming, prom - foreign to me. How easy some people fell into the groups. How interesting it is for those who don't; those who can't. Four years of a blur; much learned and much growth. Graduation didn't come fast enough.

Nearly 20 years since. Can't believe how fast time has gone. I know many who loved their high school years; I don't recall liking mine at all. No offense to those who did, but for me, fitting in wasn't possible. Too busy planning for the future; always this mature soul.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Is there help for a hair-product-aholic?

This is a time when I wish that moving metaphorically would take precedence over moving physically. Unfortunately, this isn't one of those times...although I must admit to loving the exploration of metaphorical scenarios. :)

This weekend we moved all the major, large pieces of furniture into our new home. The new home is smaller, a lot brighter (lots of windows...I LOVE windows!!!), cozier (another word for smaller). The dogs are in heaven in the back yard...Mamita already knows that standing by the back door and barking with a sharp, distinct, demanding sound she will arouse her humans to get off their behinds and come open it to let her out. Once out, she then proceeds to inspect the whole back yard, which is laid-out in a u-shape around the West, South and East sides of the house. She's an extremely intelligent dog who happens to think she rules the world. Well, at least the little world she lives in. :)

The other three dogs seem a bit overwhelmed. Widdle runs around the back yard stopping at every bush, tree and overgrown weed to 'leave his mark' and proclaim it as his territory; Lumpy runs around trying to avoid Widdle's markers while silently leaving his own (competition runs between the two); Piggy just seems to be working on her tan - seriously - she loves to sunbathe. There would be times, in the old house, where she would lay sprawled out at the base of the front door where a bit of sunshine leeked in. Since she has one, dark stripe on her back it looks like she tanned through the door crack. (Yes, the hubby and I actually have serious conversations like this. Sick. I know.)

The nice thing about this move is that it seems to be the most stress-free move we've ever had. If you read my previous blogs you might recall that I mentioned the number of moves we've made since we've been living in Phoenix. Well, as you can imagine, we've had some funny adventures through each move. Not that we like chaos or frustration added to our lives, but I must admit, we're both a bit adventurous. I don't like doing the same thing over and over again and I'm one to make the most of each situation.

During one infamous and quite memorable move, which was our drive from Florida to Arizona, we sold all of our furniture and packed our two vehicles with clothes, computers, books, our TV, and other desired items and along with our brother/best friend, Wayne, we trekked out of Florida via I-10, which runs from Florida to California, for those of you who may not know. It was quite an adventure to travel with two men who were on a quest for a rare brand of malt liquor (yuk) that, from all I can recall, had a red bull on the bottle. During every food stop, gas fill-up and restroom stop, if there was a small market, which there usually was, the guys would run in to see if they could find their bottle of hard to find beverage. I have pictures to prove it. It's quite humorous. Really.

On another move, we hired a moving company and let's just say that the experience's tone was set the minute they drove up in a big truck that had, what I can only describe as a horse-trailer, attached at the back. I'll admit, I wasn't very optimistic. But, I'm married to a man who usually always sees the silver-lining of every cloud, which I'm grateful for, don't get me wrong. But, at times, I'm right and his optimism is wrong. This was one of those instances. The move ended up taking the two men, who admitted to not really being movers about 10 hours to move us from one apartment to the same complex. The kicker was that they weren't even done when they gave out at the end of the day. Our plasma screen tv was still left in the old place with their promise to return the next day to move it for us. For free. They didn't return but we did get our tv moved, thanks to my dad. Sigh.

I like to liken my adventures in moving to something that my closest friend, Elsa (family, aunt, sister, best friend - she has many titles), pointed out about me during one of my moves that she helped me with - there have been a few. Anyhow, while helping me pack up the restroom toiletries one move, she mentioned that I had quite a collection of half-used shampoo and conditioner bottles. While packing up she asked me if there was a reason I had over a dozen of these bottles. She found it odd that I would have so many half-empty bottles of hair products. She wanted to know why I didn't use one up before buying another. I laughed when she asked and realized how ridiculous this might look to her - or anyone else for that matter. Between giggles I explained to her I had a problem, I liked trying new hair products. I then continued to introduce myself in the style of someone attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Needless to say, Elsa reasoned that if I had a bottle of shampoo that I hadn't used in over six months, I probably should quit carting it around from move to move. We threw many half-full (I prefer to see things in a more positive light, thank-you-very-much) bottles of shampoo, conditioner and styling gel that day.

My affinity for trying different hair products has tapered down as I've gotten older. I still alternate between one to three different types of shampoos of which I switch through on a regular basis but I've made a commitment to one hair conditioner - I swear by it. Proof that there is hope for other serial-hair-product-aholics out there. Elsa would be proud.

Anyhow, now that I've written down the likening of these two topics, the more I realize how different they are. Yet, they still tie in my head. Every time I've moved, there is an excitement that builds up in me. I like change. I like having to search for a new home and when found there are empty cabinets to fill, empty rooms to occupy. I enjoy a different neighborhood to explore and new neighbors to meet (or avoid - come on, you have some of those too). As mentioned before, the process of moving is a pain, but I'll admit I honestly don't mind it. It's worth it just to have the opportunities I've described above. Adventurous, and at times, chaotic.

I guess what I've realized is that the adventurous spirit I've been born with has been charging full steam ahead in the past 12 years. Why the past 12 years? Well, these are the years which I've been on my own as an adult. (Yes, it's only been 12 years...what can I say, I was a late bloomer). So until I've reached the point of committing to one residence for more than two years, I'll continue to allow myself to explore new places while enjoying new adventures.

Now it's time to get the rest of the boxes here. Sigh.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The blowing winds of change...thank you Mother Nature.

There are times in our lives when we are forced to make choices that we don't necessarily want to choose at the time. Then, there are other times when the decision is made for us, whether we want it or not. That's what happened to me. A man, who shall remain nameless because it really doesn't matter who he is, made a decision for me. And if I thought he was important enough, I would thank him. But I'm not going to because I realize he was just a small, speck in my life that shall be forgotten as quickly as he was brought into. What I do thank and appreciate is that, as with every experience in my life, I have learned something significant that will remain with me always.

A little over two months ago I was informed that my position had been eliminated. I'll admit, at the moment, I was shocked. I didn't see it coming. For those of you who don't know, when the economy is bad, the higher education industry soars. I, mistakenly, assumed I was safe. Safe from being 'let go' or 'laid off'. Boy, was I wrong. I won't lie and say that I didn't contribute to a few issues I had in the workplace - none of us are perfect. But what I will say is that this experience, in another director role with a different university, not only gave me the opportunity to broaden my horizons in a professional capacity, but it also reminded me that I'm not a corporate slave. I will not be someone I'm not to fit into a mold that would require me to suppress who I really am.

Last night I started teaching a new group of undergraduate students. The course is titled "Management: Theory, Practice and Application". It's a junior level course and I had 25 very active students. We took care of the housekeeping type of activities, such as introductions and course assignment details, then we began discussing the topic of management with a focus on how management is impacted by the state of our current economy. It was quite interesting and the experience reminded me of why I love teaching. Teaching older students, anyway. (For those of you who teach at the K-12 levels...God bless you. I admire that you can do it).

Anyhow, after a great night of discussions and interactions, the night ended with a handful of students coming up to me to ask questions or give me comments. One, in specific, stands out. He told me that he needed to tell me on his way out of class that my class was the best one he's had, thus far. He told me that my style of teaching, which is to integrate the course topics of the week with practicality and theory combined, was great for learning. I thanked him and then he added that most of his instructors would bore him because they lectured only. He continued to tell me that most faculty didn't keep his interest, but I did.

Needless to say, I was touched. Mostly because I was reminded of what I truly enjoy and excel at. I was forced into this; I didn't choose to go back to teaching. However, I know it's only because this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I love it. Standing in front of those students brought back the memories of why I love teaching. It reminded me of the blessings that my education has given me. At one point last night, the discussion surrounded the topic of higher ed. It gave me the opportunity to be reminded that I am where I am today despite the statistics. And I'll never again, take that for granted.

Thank you Mother Nature...your winds of change are a welcome breeze.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

To write or not to write???...that is the question.

I've been inspired to write for a couple of weeks now; for years now actually. Those closest to me know I've always had a goal of writing a book but haven't done it yet. With anything that is a labor of love, you have to know deep in your heart that it's the right thing to do. It has to be so ingrained in your soul that you are passionate enough to lose sleep over it. Most importantly, I've accepted that in order to write, I must move myself to the backseat. For so long, I've contemplated writing what has been in my heart out of fear for what people would think about me.

I've been one to say, many times and to many friends, that you can't care what people say or think about you. Yet, I've realized that I was saying this in vain because I truly hadn't accepted that personally about my writing. (Forgive me friends if I told you this. I lied. I didn't mean to, didn't think I was. But I did.) I do care what people think about me. Not to the point of allowing my life to be dictated by others views and perceptions of me, but enough to question my ability to write for a public audience.

A couple of things happened in the past few weeks that have forced me to self-analyze this issue. First, I met a new friend. He's also a writer. He's actually a published author and writes his own blog. In one of his blog entries entitled Art vs. Addiction, his words spoke true to me. They actually punched me in the gut and forced me to realize that I had been harboring this and had not dealt with it. I wasn't free to write because I put myself in my own writer's-block-jail. I was too concerned about writing for man, instead of writing for God, as quoted in Art vs. Addiction. I've been pondering this for days now and today, over coffee and discussion with my hubby, it came to me.

My desire to write has always been there, but the direction and audience for which I'm meant to write, wasn't clear to me. It finally is and I have my wonderful hubby, as well as my new friend, to thank for helping me see the light.

So now...the writing begins!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The joys of moving...

Moving is a pain in the butt! I could use more colorful words but I'll save them for the moments when I'm lugging yet another box out of the old house and into the new. I'm not excited about moving. I hate packing, unpacking. The whole process of moving is torturous. Except it's exciting at the same time. It means a new start. New chapter. New ground to explore. It means cleaning house, literally- and metaphorically-speaking.

Although I could go on and on about the literal pain of moving, for this post I'll focus on the metaphorical aspect of it. One might say that moving from place to place might be be an external action influenced by an internal force. In other words, I might internally be against or resistant to living in one place for a long period of time. I'm sure, if I did enough research, I'd find some sort of phobia on the books for it. I counted that in the past 10 years I've lived in 12 different places. I know that if averaged out it would appear I've lived less than 8 months at each place. That's not the case though. A few of those places were temporary residences or in between stops. Not that it matters, regardless I've lived in 12 residences over a 10-year span. That's more than I care to realize.

Maybe I was a gypsy or nomad in another life. For some reason, I really do enjoy a change of scenery. I like the sunlight entering the windows from a different angle. I enjoy the freshness of a clean home not yet littered with cat and dog hair. I enjoy getting rid of things that I don't use or have any need for. Maybe moving is my spring cleaning method. That would at least justify the number of times we've moved.

Let's break that down a bit further. Psychologists might postulate that my actions involving moving from one residence to another in the 
short span of time might be some sort of psychological reflection of what is going on inside of me. It might have underlying messages about my commitment to one place. Which could possibly reflect on my general feel of commitment. Yes, I know all that's possible. Fortunately, though, my commitment to a residence hasn't flowed into my commitment to my marriage. Seven years, blessed and strong...thank God!

Psychological interpretation aside, as much as I hate moving..the packing, unpacking, cleaning, sweating, frustration... I also enjoy the freshness that moving brings. Let the fun begin!

Monday, September 21, 2009

100 pounds less than...

Six years and one month ago, I had been married just eight months. It was a huge decision. One might say a decision that could have been a matter of life or death. I was taking a big chance. Aware that I wasn’t taking the ‘easy’ way out. Knowing some people thought I was. It’s not like I didn’t think this decision through thoroughly. It’s not like I didn’t weigh the pros and cons. I spent countless hours researching. Reading the topic on discussion boards. Attending information meetings. Talking it through, for hours, with my husband, my best friend and my mother-in-law (who had become one of my closest friends).

In the end, I didn’t make this decision alone. I made it with my husband. We discussed my fears and his fears. We shared our pros and cons list. We cried together at the scary “what-if’s”. We imagined the benefits it would bring into our lives. And in the end, that is what confirmed my decision. Our decision.

Six years and one month ago, I laid on a hospital bed; fluorescent light blazing in my eyes. I actually said ‘goodbye’ to my best friend, my husband and my amazing mother-in law, Theresa; you know, just in case. I cried a bit. I remember feeling cold and alone. Scared; yet strong and determined. Enough strength to push out the fear. Or...maybe the yummy-knock-me-to-sleep drugs finally kicked in.

In the end, I woke up. I felt pain. But not fear. I felt victorious. But I still felt pain. My best friend, my angel; she was there the whole time. She helped me the whole way through. She helped feed me the liquid food they provided. Beef broth and hot tea; actually tasty when your stomach can suddenly not hold anything more than a pinky-tip amount of liquid. She encouraged me to release a certain bodily vapor that would be a sign that I would be released from the hospital soon. She helped me walk, with my IV-bag–on-wheels, up and down the hall. My best friend.

Six years and one month ago, I witnessed the pros of this decision, almost immediately. I questioned the nurse to be sure I heard her right. Had my blood sugar levels dropped to normal so soon? It had been mere hours since the recovery room. Could my blood pressure be down? Had I really lost 10 pounds? Already? That soon? Some nurses were nice; others withdrawn or quiet. More walking up and down the hall. Very slow paces at first; now beginning to speed up.

In the end, it was the best decision I ever made. No more Diabetes; no more high blood pressure. No more food. I could barely sip the broth. One teaspoon felt like Thanksgiving dinner. Solid food was but a dim memory. It was the best decision I ever made.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Racking the brain, trying not to cause a concusion.

I have a lot to say. A lot. Why? Because my mind rarely seems to take a break. I’m sure many of you can relate. This morning and for the past couple of days I’ve been racking my brain on what the topic of my next blog will be. I’ve even started a couple of posts on two different topics and basically walked away from completing them. The topics just didn’t seem right. I think what I’ve determined is that, to my own surprise, I worry about what people will think about me and my writing. And this needs to change.

The funny thing about this is that insecurity is only in specific areas of my life. In some areas of my life I don’t really acknowledge what people think about me. schooling. I know many people are truly happy that I’ve been able to make it as far as I have in my educational goals. But I also know that others either envy it or resent that I’ve made it this far. I am always grateful for any positive reinforcement or encouragement, but for negative talk...I just don’t let it impact me. I made a decision long ago that my education was a priority in my life. I’m doing it for me. For my own knowledge and personal goals. Why should I let others opinions impact me about it? Right?

Yet, for some reason, exposing myself for who I really am for anyone to read about....well, that is nerve-wrecking! This is something I need to get over because if I don’t, I’ll never reach my ultimate goal, which is to write a book. For years I’ve talked about doing this but I haven’t. For many reasons, I suppose, but mostly because I can’t seem to find that spark, that push, that inspiration that I need to reach this goal. I feel like I’ve got a ‘lack-of-confidence-writing disorder'. Let’s ponder that.

I’ll compare it to someone who has an eating disorder* (Disclaimer: I am not mocking, pointing out anyone, or belittling this disease - just using it metaphorically).

Similar to someone who looks in the mirror and sees someone who is fatter than they really are, I look at my writing and wish I could do better. I see the errors and flaws. I worry about the grammar. I’m grateful for spell-checker. Also similar is when people compliment and tell them they look great and don’t need to lose anymore weight – I get many compliments on my writing and yet, it’s hard to believe it truly in my heart. Or maybe it’s not that I don’t believe it, but rather, I have this fear of acknowledging that maybe, just maybe I am a good writer. Why fear acknowledging it? I’m not quite sure but I will ponder that further.

So I’ve decided that from now on I am going to just write my thoughts out. Maybe some people will get it; some won’t. Either way, I’m writing. 

Random thoughts of the day:

What is wrong with the family unit? What is wrong with people? Every week, if not a couple times a week, we see on the news that someone knocked off their family. Their whole family. A couple of weeks ago it was eight family members killed in their home...the one charged? A troubled son. Today, a man killed his family – wife and six children in Naples, Florida then flees to Haiti via the Miami International Airport. Nationally we see people dying at the hands of supposed loved ones. Even locally, there are stories of family members killing other family members. It’s out of hand!

Now, maybe it’s because I’m not in their position (and hope never to be) but the thought of laying a hand on someone I love and taking their life...well, I can’t even fathom it. Respect of life seems to be at an all time low and it truly is scary. Who can you trust if you can’t trust the people around you, people you call family, friends. Scary thought, right? The stories are all different. They come from all levels of socio-economical and socio-demographics. They are of every nationality and of both sexes. They are the least suspected. They are normal looking.

There are so many external and internal factors that contribute to the mental and emotional ‘snap’ that a killer goes through. I won’t sit here and pretend to be a psychological expert in any way, but I imagine that most of what goes on in the mind of a killer are rarely vocalized or shared with others. It’s all in their head. The voices, some say, arguing within on what is right or wrong. Justifying their actions. This is the extent of what I can imagine. Going any further, even in thought, makes my stomach uneasy.

What’s wrong with the family unit? What’s wrong with people?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Are you safe?

Feeling safe. Isn't that an amazing feeling? I imagine that feeling safe is something that many people never have the opportunity to feel in their lifetime. It actually scares me to think of the possibility of never feeling safe. And when I think about that further, feeling safe is produced by something very different to each one of us. For example, I might feel safe because I have enough money in the bank to pay the bills and enjoy life a little. Someone else might think that feeling safe is having a solid relationship or having the ability to own a home.

I am driven in life to feel two different types of safe. The first one is the one that most of us desire, which is to feel the safety of love. We spend our lives trying to find love; feel it. More than anything we want to experience its passion, joy, frustration, humbling moments, connection with another. Some people will kill for love; others will run from it their whole lives. But me, I just want to feel safe in its arms. Feeling safe in love is something I’ve been blessed with. Not meeting true love of another until the ripe-old age of 29, I thought I would never find it. But that wasn’t without being hopeful. On the outside, I didn’t care, wasn’t looking. On the inside, I remained hopeful and kept an eye on the lookout, you know, just in case. (smile) And then without believing it would fall into my laps, it did. And it hasn’t left. Not that I haven’t done my best to scare it away through many lapses of judgment. But fortunately, love has remained and I continue to feel its safety.

The second type of safe I strive to feel is the safety of financial security. I don’t want to be rich. I don’t care to have an excessive amount of material wealth. I’m not into name brands...well, except for my purses...give me one thing, okay? For goodness sakes, I love shopping at consignment stores and won’t hesitate to buy an outfit from Target if I like it. I love flip-flops (2 for $5 at Old Navy, thank you very much) and would live life in comfy, cotton clothing if it were allowed. But to feel financially secure is important to me. Maybe it’s the way I was raised, which was in a very financially tight, yet well-provided-for environment, that led me to be this way. For some reason I have always worried that I wouldn’t have the money to cover my life expenditures. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with the ability to feel financially secure but not without being reminded and humbled from time-to-time (and right now is a time of humble-reminding, unfortunately).

I am always reminded, by my wonderful life-partner, best friend and husband Carlos, that anything that can be bought or replaced with money is nothing to get worried sick over. I’m actually grateful for that reminder but if he wasn’t there to remind me, I might flip-out in a very mentally incapacitating way, which would only make things worse, of course. So while these two feelings of safety are important to me, I’m grateful that I have them in the correct order of importance.

Random thoughts of the day:

In the news this week we’ve seen stories of a missing child case going unsolved, a murder victim with a promising future and career found dead with her corpse hidden in the wall of a Yale University lab basement and the discovery of bones found on the property of a man who kidnapped, raped and imprisoned an 11-year old girl for 18 years. What disconnection did these people have? What emotional embolism could have occurred in the hearts and minds of these people that drove them to the darkest, most unforgiving parts of their souls? What safety could these perpetrators have missed in their lives?

My guess, it’s probably the safety of love. Whether it be parental, significant other or friendship love...somehow they probably never felt that true connection to the one safety we all desire. And how sad to know that some people never find it. And how grateful we should all be for having found it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The light shines on...

I haven’t written in a blog for a very long time. So long, it’s been years rather than months. When my hubby and I moved to Phoenix in 2004, I blogged religiously on at least a weekly basis. Then, little-by-little I got busier and life got more hectic. My blogs dwindled down to once a month. Then, less and less. Then altogether I stopped. There are many reasons for that, busy life aside. I was going through a very dark time in my life. I didn’t realize it at the time; or rather, I chose to ignore it. Not completely out of character for me, as much as I hate to admit that. I’ll admit that I learned long ago how to cope with certain unhealthy-mainstays in my life, as I’m sure you can relate to. It was these coping mechanisms that I resorted to, in addition to some new-found bad behaviors that blossomed more out of control than I ever would have thought.
Yes, it was a dark time in my life. And unfortunately, those who are most close to me felt the repercussion of this, even if they had nothing to do with contributing to it. I can’t even begin to figure out how to apologize and make amends with those who I shut out the most. All I can do is work on this in baby-steps and that’s what I’m doing. Makes the most sense to me. Contrary to popular belief, I am a very shy person. Stems from being a shy and insecure child. I’m extrovert, don’t mind public speaking and can stand in front of a group of adults in a classroom setting to teach them; yet, I’m shy as heck. Really?? Yes, really!

Anyhow, where there is dark, there shall also be light. And I’m finally seeing the light again. I told my hubby that I feel as if the past two years have been a blur. Like living in a vortex of sorts. For those hippie friends of mine, you can relate it to a trip on a hit of acid (which I have not tried) or mushrooms (which I have.      never.       again!).  I’m a firm believer in God and know that everything that happens in our life is for a reason. Each door that closes is just making way for another one to open. A different chapter. A new start. A new day. (Etc. Etc. I think you get the drift.)

I know I’m pretty vague in this introduction blog but as time goes on, details will most likely emerge to fill in the blanks and questions you may have after digesting my words. (Hopefully no one regurgitated in the process). Something that I have realized out of these past few years of experience is that I still have not learned how not to resort to my coping-mechanisms (see above). And I also realize that it’s something that I have to learn how to overcome because some coping-mechanisms may not be healthy for us. Mine surely weren’t. Someday in the future I hope to post an entry into this blog that tells you I have finally overcome that hurdle in my life. (Just typing these words tells me that I will be doing that in the future).

Random Thoughts of the Day

So, I’ll now share some random thoughts for the day. I’ve already shared my thoughts with my hubby and my BGBF, Cory, who I had lunch with today. Why, oh why, was President Obama’s speech to our school children made such a big deal of in the media? Why were so many of my conservative friends so against their children hearing what he head to say? I honestly cannot understand and it’s not because I don’t have children of my own, although I’m sure some may think that’s the reason. The reason I don’t understand it is because although we are a divided country when it comes to politics and religion, we all still fall under the umbrella that we call and claim as our country, the United States of America. Right? And if that’s the case, that means that whoever is president of our country has the right to impart knowledge and wisdom into the young minds of our children. Even President Obama’s republican rival, Sen. John McCain publicly stated his support for our new president after acknowledging he lost the race to the White House. In my opinion, as parents and leaders, it is our responsibility to impart fair and impartial wisdom to our children by allowing them to hear and see all sides of the coin, whatever that coin may be. Now, by saying that I’m not saying that this should supersede any religious or spiritual beliefs that you may be raising your children in; rather, it should coincide with that. I just have a hard time believing we can raise children to use the free will that God gives us without allowing them the capability to critically think about all things presented to them.

And that’s my rant on that. Until the next blog post...