*In the spirit of trying manage my time better, I found this article. This is just about my own stuff at work! Trying to be better about how I invest my time!*
Stressed out? Overworked? It might surprise you to learn that your job isn’t solely to blame for your office woes. Chances are, you’re engaging in a few-or more!-bad work habits that could be impeding your performance or happiness. Whether you can’t seem to kick your Facebook addiction or are sick of burning the midnight oil, read on to learn how to nix nine common detrimental office habits. Photo by Thinkstock
You constantly check your email or post updates on Facebook or Twitter.
There’s a reason (beyond procrastinating) why you can’t stay away from your personal email account and social networking sites. “Social interaction is addictive because it activates the rewards center of our brains,” says David Rock DProf, director of the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of Your Brain at Work. Connecting to people is similar to eating chocolate, he explains. “The more you do it, the more you want it-that’s when it becomes distracting.” To keep yourself focused on work, Dr. Rock recommends designating times of day when you’ll check these sites. That way, you’ll get your fix without being sucked into the trap of constantly wanting more. Or, as Michelle Goodman, author of The Anti 9-to-5 Guide advises, treat visiting these sites as a reward. Work for, say, an hour, and then allow yourself to check in quickly as a treat. A word of warning: Think twice before you post about work matters on social networking sites. As Goodman points out, “these sites are frequently changing their privacy settings, so your page may be publicly broadcasted without you knowing it, which could land you in hot water.”
You write-and send-work emails too hastily.
"Misread emails create unnecessary anxiety," says Dr. Rock. A slapdash message may come across as confusing, or worse, offensive, to the person on the receiving end-and it may cast you in a bad light. There’s a huge benefit to pausing after you write an email but before you press send. "If you feel uncertain about your message, save it as a draft and come back to it later," suggests Dr. Rock. Not only will this give you time to work off anger that may have provoked you to write things you didn’t mean, but it may also allow you to add helpful information to the email, which can make you come across as capable and thoughtful. And if you struggle with an email about a sensitive topic, keep Dr. Rock’s rule in mind: "Anything that’s likely to generate strong emotion should be a phone or face-to-face conversation."
You’re set in your ways.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it-right? Not always. If you’re sticking with outdated procedures because “that’s the way it’s always been done,” re-think your attitude. Though knowing the ins and outs of office processes may seem like proof of your expertise, it may actually make you seem obsolete. Especially in a shaky economy, it’s integral to be open to new ideas, says Goodman. “Holding on to old systems isn’t the way to be irreplaceable,” she explains. “Getting along well with everyone, contributing great ideas and doing innovative work is.” She adds that resisting change often stems from a fear of being left behind in the workforce. Instead of standing your ground, be flexible about learning from others. “Get comfortable with the fact that there’s always going to be someone smarter or younger than you,” says Goodman.
You’re too involved in office politics.
Happen to find yourself gathered around the water cooler frequently? While joining in on office gossip is inevitable, spending too much time dissecting workplace dynamics can harm your reputation. “If you’re seen as always schmoozing or stirring the pot, you may also be seen as a troublemaker or unproductive,” says Goodman. Instead of worrying about who said what to whom when, devote that energy to work. “Like logging on to Facebook, office gossip is a distraction. If you must indulge, treat it as a reward that you’ll give yourself after doing a set amount of work.” And as she notes, the more you concentrate on work, the less time you’ll have for petty gossip.
You start each day with the wrong plan of attack-or none at all.
After a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is prepare for the next one. But by making a beeline for the door at quitting time, you’re setting yourself up for trouble the next morning. “Without a plan, it’s easy to become distracted by small tasks and coworkers’ questions,” says Goodman. And that can prevent you from accomplishing the bigger stuff. “If you spend most of your day handling minor assignments, you won’t have the mental resources left to give your most important duties the attention they need,” says Dr. Rock. Goodman suggests taking a few minutes the night before-or first thing the next morning as a last resort-to write down the two or three meatiest tasks you need to get done that day. “You’re not likely to finish more than four, so prioritize your to-do list.”
You’re always running late.
"People are most often behind schedule because they’re not thinking about how long it takes to get from point A to point B, or because they leave things until the last minute," says Dr. Rock. "And these people usually haven’t noticed the impact that running late has on their performance and that of others." By repeatedly missing deadlines or arriving after meetings start, you seem less reliable and you hinder those who depend on you. If your hour-long meetings frequently run over, Dr. Rock recommends scheduling them for 50 minutes instead of 60. Those ten extra minutes serve as padding if the conversation goes long. And if you’re chronically tardy with deadlines or other appointments, Goodman advises setting computer alerts to chime a half hour before you need to be ready to keep you on the ball. If nothing else, set your clocks forward a few minutes to help you be on time.
You can’t manage your personal and professional lives.
The balance between your work and your personal life varies depending on the office environment you’re in. But one thing is constant: Failing to meet coworkers’ or friends’ and family’s expectations will upset them, according to Dr. Rock. If your office culture prides itself on working around the clock, you’ll raise eyebrows for taking personal calls all day long. “Set parameters,” recommends Dr. Rock. “If personal issues distract you at work, tell friends and family you’ll respond to their calls and emails at, say, the beginning or end of each day.” However, if you’re the only one constantly working late, consider meeting with your boss to discuss your workload, says Goodman. And if everyone is on call 24/7, think about whether or not you’re in the right job. On the other hand, if your coworkers regularly get together after work, you’ll stand out for turning down invitations or sending stiff emails at all hours. So consider tagging along once in a while. As Goodman puts it, “You’ll get the inside scoop and bond with people, which will only help your projects as well as people’s image of you. If you’re not sure what to share, follow other people’s lead.” If they seem happy chatting about their family drama, feel free to chime in with your own anecdotes.
You don’t take a lunch break.
Powering straight through lunch may seem like a noble endeavor, not to mention a great way to get ahead on your to-do list. But by refusing to take a break, you’re actually doing yourself more harm than good. Not only is sitting all day linked to a host of health issues, like a greater risk of dying from heart disease, according to a 2010 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, but stepping away from the screen will also revive you, allowing you to view your work with a fresh perspective, says Goodman. Daunting tasks you dreaded earlier can seem more doable after taking a break. Even a short walk around the block will give you a much-needed boost. “Doing so is extremely rewarding to the brain and resets our ability to think straight,” says Dr. Rock. Besides, you can’t deliver the best results with a sandwich in one hand and your computer mouse in the other. You’ll be more productive once you fully devote your attention to work.
You have a negative attitude.
Maintaining a chipper outlook day in and day out isn’t realistic, of course. But if you find yourself griping about your job more often than not, you’re setting yourself up for an endless cycle of negativity. “A negative bias can reduce the quality of your ideas and the work you produce-and can cause you to see everything as negative, even when it’s not,” says Dr. Rock. In other words, a doom-and-gloom attitude will make all around you seem worse, causing your creativity to suffer. Instead of griping about work things you can’t change, focus on what you can improve, and try to see everything in a positive light. That may mean keeping away from coworkers who goad you into talking smack. It may also mean seeking out positive cues, like happy people, uplifting images (try hanging a few vacation snapshots in your cubicle) or taking a break to watch a funny YouTube video, says Dr. Rock. The more cheerful your attitude, the less you’ll find to complain about. And remember: The more you grumble, the more likely it is that people, like your superiors and your loudmouth cube-mate, will take notice-and if your boss knows you’re unhappy, you could be the first one on the chopping block, says Goodman.
*I read this a while ago and have wanted to share it! Thank you Alise for sharing this message with me. And now I share it with you, my friends.
When I start thinking about missionaries, I think about people are sharing Jesus with people. A missionary is someone who knows the gospel message and whose life goal it is to tell that life-giving message to anyone who will listen. I’ve been in the Church long enough to know that you don’t have to go to Africa to be a missionary (though it totally helps your missionary cred), but missionaries have a group they’re out to make sure to tell the story to. The unsaved.
I’m a Christian and my husband is an atheist.
So we all know who MY mission field is, right?
Yeah, not so much.
I’ve met a lot of atheists in the past two years and one thing I’ve found about almost all of them is that they know the story. They know who Jesus is, they know what Christianity teaches, they know what we believe. They’ve visited our churches, listened to our songs, read our holy book. The message is not the problem.
We, the Church. We who talk about grace, but are quick to cheer when the bad guy gets his. We who talk about talk about forgiveness, but would rather hold a grudge. We who talk about desiring persecution for His name’s sake, but make sure that we do our fair share of persecuting of “the other”. We who talk about God’s acceptance, but are loathe to share our filth with one another.
And I can look at this and point to all of the reasons why we suck, but I think it boils down to one thing. We don’t believe that God really and truly loves us the way he says he does. And when we don’t believe it, we can’t live it, not really. We serve a God can do “immeasurably more than we ask or imagine” and yet we place limits on how much he can love. We place them on ourselves and as a result, on others.
So my mission? To show love. God’s wide, long, high, deep, immeasurable love. Love that is wild and free. Love that reaches further than we can think, further than we dare to hope. Because when we get that, deep in our bones, we don’t have to worry about making sure people know the gospel.
So it was brought to my attention that, recently, many of the things that I have been saying or posting publicly (FB and Twitter) have all been based around “self”. Since this conversation sparked a wonderful discussion, it really made me think about my intentions and what I have been posting. How do these posts effect other people in my life? How are they being interpreted? It really made me think—is it based on selfishness/narcissism OR is it based on just a daily affirmation of trying to stay cognizant of who I strive to be on a daily basis? Is it being self centered or is it about growing and taking care of me?
I certainly don’t want to be a person who is egocentric, but I also don’t want to be someone who isn’t aware of who I am. I don’t want to be a door mat, but I also don’t wanna be a heffa (unless that’s a conscious choice and that is for another post and another time). So how do I balance this? How do I become someone who people feel they can approach while still knowing my own worth? How do I take care of myself but also let people “in” to my inner circle? How do I take care of business while still allowing people to help me? I know that it’s all about balance but maybe I don’t know how to balance things. Do I just quit posting stuff to FB or Twitter? Granted, these are all just rhetorical questions—not that I don’t want your input, but obviously, this is something that I have to figure out on my own.
Having said all this—I am grateful for the vulnerability of this person to talk to me about this. I am grateful that I have people in my life who care enough about me to make sure that I fully realize who I am today but also who I desire to be. My goal in life is to be my most authentic self. My goal in life is to walk in a kind of love that people marvel at. My goal in life is to be anything but obnoxiously self centered or to alienate people. My goals in life are far too many to list here. So, thank you, my friend, for your honesty, love and thoughtfulness in just asking me to take a look at my intentions and how these posts could be effecting others in my life. Thank you for knowing me, because I know, at the end of the day, you only want good things for me!
Time is really flying by. We have been a family for 2 years. I remember thinking how far away 2 years was 2 years ago. I know that when I look at my other friends who have adopted internationally, I look at how long they have been a family and measure, have they lived more days with them or in their birth country? When I applied measuring stick this to K, I always thought—“WOW! He will be 4 years old by the time K had lived with me for more than half his life. That’s SOOOOO far away!” Well, now that we are upon it, it’s not so far away anymore.
It has truly flown by. No, really. I can barely remember my life before him. I get glimpses of it when he stays the night at my parent’s house and I am home alone. And I have to admit, while I like the one night of quiet—I don’t like the quietness! Now, don’t get me wrong—there are times when I want to duct tape his mouth shut (but I don’t) or sometimes I feel like my ears are bleeding and my eardrums will burst if he asks me one more “Why” question! But all in all—this is our life now. And we love every minute of it.
It’s been, at times, rough and tough. At other time, smooth and in a groove. But like every parenting journey, this seems pretty normal, right? For all his clingy days, there are days that I see his fierce independence and wonder with excited anticipation what he’s going to do next! His interests are the same (Buzz, Toy story, obsession with trucks and tracktors and trains) and at the same time, they seem to change every day (Star Wars [the original series I grew up on] is his latest obsession). I love this about him.
So, as I reflect on what I was doing 2 years ago today—I was nervous and psyched with anticipation about meeting this guy for the very first time. I had no clue what to expect. I didn’t know how I would react nor did I know how he would react. I didn’t know if I would be able to parent him by myself, but I was gonna try! I was nervous about the 2 day plane ride to meet him, but couldn’t wait to get on the plane. I was so many things and now—it’s the same. I am…so many things of those same things, but I can’t wait to see what the next 2, 12, 20, or whatever years bring for us!
“To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of making music is what is most important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do. It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer, it’s about what goes on in here [points to his heart] and what goes on in here [points to his head].” Dave Grohl’s Acceptance Speech; Grammy Awards 2012
For as long as I can remember, I have hated my birthday. No, really, I have. It isn’t that I mind getting older, because let’s face it, I am like FINE WINE! I have (for real though) gotten better with age. But I digress! I have hated celebrating my birthdays since I was a kid. I think that this stems from the hype surrounding birthdays. They never live up to it. Sadly, like many others who share a holiday, your dreams of big birthday parties filled with carefree moments of fun and excitement may not have always turned out because people were out of town or were booked with other things.
I know that sharing President’s Day weekend and Valentine’s day (in close proximity) aren’t as horrible as being born on Christmas or New Years, but growing up, you couldn’t have convinced me of that.
Now that I am a Mama—my son’s birthday is also in February. When planning his party, I become anxious—what if no one comes? What if people don’t have fun? What if… I try very diligently to not project my concerns on to him and I know that these are directly related to my own birthday angst… I know this, but I still can’t change how I feel.
So, here I am, planning his 4th birthday party and hoping he has a blast! I love him and only want his birthdays to be amazing and memorable and noteworthy. And shelve my own personal issues.
It’s our boy’s birthday! He is 4! So many things have happened in the past 2 years that I am sure you wish you could have been a part of. I can only imagine what this day brings to mind for you. Do you think about him every second of every moment of every day? Do you miss him just as much as you think about him? Does this day make you smile? I hope so. If it weren’t for this day, I wouldn’t be K’s Mommy. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be a mama. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have known this amazing boy who lights up my life each and every day. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t get to laugh every day at his jokes and funny faces and K-isms. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t get to snuggle with him, kiss him and listen to his helicopter sounds as he falls asleep! If it weren’t for you…I wouldn’t be so many things.
We talk about you all the time, I want you to know. We love you Z. You have changed our lives in so many ways that I can’t even count them. But then again, you already know that. On this day, I am reminded that you are so much more to us than just K’s birth mom. You are our hero. You are an inspiration. You are the epitome of bravery. You are a Mom!
So Z, thank you. Thank you a thousand times. Thank you will NEVER be enough, this I know, but…. Thank you for giving me the chance to be a Mommy to this amazing 4 year old. And now, we celebrate our son’s birthday! We love you Z.
K’s new thing is to plead his case—over and over and over again! He has taken to saying things like, “How about we…” when I say “No, baby, I just told you that we were going to do _____________, so let’s go!” And he will retort with, “Mama, how about we ____________ instead!” And I retort, “Son, did you hear my words?” “I know Mommy, but how about we ____________!” Over and over and over again! It seems to be our new dance.
I have put him in time out. I have taken away toys. I have done a whole bunch of other variations on punishment to help curb this kind of behavior. He isn’t necessarily sassing me, but he is trying to plead his case. Sadly, it turns into an argument when he keeps trying to suggest the same thing over and over again and doesn’t listen to me. While I am always open for a verbal sparring match with an adult, with a 4 year old—I don’t think so.
I love that he has an opinion. I love that he wants to share it. I love that he is a lawyer in the making! But, um basically, Dude, I’m your mom and…nuff said!”
So I know, we all have pet peeves, and this is one of mine. I could go on and on about my cornucopia of complaints that happen in the bathroom, but for this blog post—I will focus my energy on people who don’t flush the gosh darn toilet.
I know that many places have one of those infrared things that flushes the toilet for you, but um, do you NOT look to make sure that you deposit went down? I certainly do. No matter what business I have attended to in ANY bathroom, I make sure that everything is gone and all that is there is the clear water for the next customer.
If it’s that time of the month…flush the toilet an extra time. Please! If you had a bran muffin and too much coffee…flush the toilet an extra time. I know, I know, there is a water shortage, but here’s the deal—I will flush it again and again and again before I enter the stall, so, you might as well just take care of it!
Please, out of common courtesy—FLUSH THE TOILET!!!
While something like this usually wouldn’t make the blog, this one will. I was working when I got the email from my other neighbor about JCo. Since I live in a community of only 9 houses, we all know each other. He and his wife used to be my direct neighbors, and they were awesome! They would watch my house when I was gone. They would help me with changing a light or carrying heavy things into the house. He was such a sweet man. Until…the economic downturn. The past 5 years haven’t’ been good to him or his attitude. About 2 years ago, he allowed his house (that they lived in for over 20 years) to go into foreclosure and lied to all of us saying that they had bought a 3 bedroom across the way from me. Why would any of us question them, they truly had been the back bone of our town home association for at least 10 years. When confronted about the foreclosure, he got defensive and started spewing hatred, venom and anger about the government and racial slurs about immigrants and so on and so forth.
When the new owners of that town home took possession of it, he called the cops saying that people were trying to break in and that people were trespassing! Not only that, he has harassed the new, new owners ever since they moved in. I tried to talk to him about it several months ago, but got no where—he was filled with hate and so much rage, I didn’t know how to even respond.
More recently, another owner (who rents out her house) was staying with them. She has always defended them and has been friends with them for at least 20 years. She was one of their last advocates at the association. After a series of events, he physically assaulted her and threw all of her stuff into the street. She called the police and had a restraining order against him.
So, why did I write all of this? His death, to me, is so sad. He seemed to be a peaceful, happily married, close to retirement guy—for the 8.5 years before the economy sucked. He was always willing to help someone. He was always willing to be a great neighbor. And he died filled with hate, anger, bitterness, and unpleasantness. Even his friends, who he and his wife had spent years hanging out with, had to quit being his friend because he was so angry ALL THE TIME!
It’s a lesson for me—don’t allow the situations and circumstances of life create a hatred in you that becomes so blinding that you alienate the people who love you. Don’t allow life to beat you down and take away the joy in your soul. Don’t focus on the negative. Negative things come, but wow—don’t let it kill you!
I had emergency surgery! It wasn’t planned and I wasn’t prepared to be laid up in excruciating pain for a week! But it happened. Five years ago, I had major intestinal issues. Well, they came back!!! Once I got under the anesthesia—whoopsie, you have hernia also! Let’s just get that while we have you on the table!
So, here are some thoughts that I have had while laying in bed this week:
It takes just 2 days for my armpit hair to become pretty offensive to me!
Does anesthesia make your leg hair grow faster?
You don’t care if you shower when you hurt ALL OVER!
You don’t care about brushing your teeth!
You don’t care how your hair looks when you hurt ALL OVER!
Once you do take a shower, do you care that the only deodorant at your parent’s house is Old Spice Sport? Nope!
How badly do you want a Q-tip when you can’t have one/can’t find one? Just askin’!
There were a bunch of other non-coherent ideas and conversations and thoughts in my head while on Morphine, but…I will keep those to myself.
*Disclaimer—not lumping ALL Christians into this group! So don’t send me hate mail or a theological _________________ about how you walk in LOVE all the time!
It’s no secret that I call myself a Christian. Well, I hope it’s not a secret. I am and I say it proudly. When I say that though, I want to say that I think I am one of the coolest people you might ever have the chance to meet. But, that isn’t what I want to write about today, now is it? (But really, I am a really cool person!)
It recently came to my attention that some of my fellow Christians, don’t like the fact that I adopted a “Black” kid (their words—not mine). Now, as with any story, I admit, I am leaving out some of the details (details like—obviously, “[I am]…a lesbian because I adopted a black kid as a single woman” or “I got a tattoo on national TV of my black kid—so I am not only not waiting for God’s order of how a family is built, but I am scarring my temple!…”) surrounding this scenario. Granted, some of these people have known me for years and it’s pretty sad that judgment, racism, and ignorance still rule their lives. And for some of this—I blame me! I have clearly not been a good enough influence or example in their lives to steer them away from such things (add this to the list of things I gotta step up my game for this year!).
But I just want to take a moment to thank all my non-Christian friends (and even strangers) who have had NOTHING but amazing things to say about my adoption. I just want to thank you for loving my son—no matter what. I just want to thank you for offering to watch him and be kind to him. I want to thank you, random lady at Target, who bought me diapers! I just want to thank you for not judging me for wanting to adopt as a single woman and not say things like, “You should have waited for your husband, so that you could adopt in God’s ‘right’ order. You are out of God’s will by having a child out of wedlock!”
Thank you my friends who are worshipers of Buddha and Mohammed, non-believers, Jews, Hindus, GLBT’s (I know this isn’t a religion, but they are part of my life and they love me and K), Atheists and Agnostics (if I left you out, it wasn’t on purpose) for caring about the cause and the plight of orphans like I do. Thank you for knowing that my tattoo, that I was blessed to get on national television, wasn’t just about the tattoo. Thank you for knowing that tattoos don’t totally define who I am. Thank you for knowing that my son is funny and smart and creative and witty and snarky and goofy—just like his Mama!
Thank you for understanding that there are so many things out there in the world that matter besides petty stuff. Thank you for being aware of what is going on in the world with things like, oh I don’t know, the plight of ¾ of the world trying to get access to clean drinking water. Or maybe, just maybe, you might like to know that right here—in our 1st world life: 13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States, 1 in 5 children diagnosed with cancer will die and everyday, 46 school children will be diagnosed with cancer. Or maybe worry about/focus on this: More than one in six people worldwide—894 million people—don’t have access to this amount of safe freshwater. How about the fact that there are 340 million people in the world living with HIV. Let’s think about there are possible 17 million orphans in the world due to AIDS. Oh, but why stop there! Every day 5,760 more children become orphans!
Ooopsie, Mr./Miss/Mrs. Über Christian—am I making you uncomfortable? Am I revealing trade secrets? Am I ratting you out? Well GOOD FOR ME!!! Get over it! I am not telling non-Christians anything they don’t already know about you—you suck sometimes. You judge them for piercings and hair color and dating choices and music choices. You judge them for not being just like you!
Don’t get me wrong. I know plenty of people who serve God, love God and love others. I adore them. They are in my inner circle of friends, but so are the other people I am thanking in this diatribe. I have said all of this to say, I still love you—you judgy Christian! NO MATTER WHAT! That won’t ever change. I will still hug you when I see you! I will continue to pray for you because the Bible tells me to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” I love you because God loved me when I was unlovable. I love you because I don’t always deserve love and I still get it, so you will get my love too! I love you because…just because!
But—I will end this the way that I started it—thank you, from the depths of my heart, the people in my life who love me and K—just because!
Yeah, I stole the title and the overall thoughts about this post from a blog that I follow—I admit it. But hey, didn’t someone say that imitation is the best form of flattery? Well, here we go!
I am my harshest critic—pretty much about everything. At work, I can be hard on people (just ask them), but I am even harder on myself (just ask me). I expect a lot out of the people in my life, but I expect SOOO much more out of myself. So to think of things that I didn’t suck at (as much) this year was a stretch for me.
*These are in particular hierarchy!
Endorsing food variety with K. Since he came home—it’s been tough to get him to try new things. Thank you OTFCC (his school) for your nutritious and wonderful meals because they have exposed him to so many new types of food. Not only that peer pressure kicked in that my kid now loves BROCOLI!!! I have jumped on board and supported this. When he asks for something by name, we put it on the grocery list and get it. When we are at the store, I ask him about trying one new thing each trip!
Stuck to (sorta) my work schedule. For those of you who know me, I could work a 16 hour day and still think that I hadn’t done all my work. My full time/day gig has been in flux for the past 18 months and I told myself that I would leave on time so that I would have quality time with K. I was really good (not perfect) about it.
Made more time for friends! It’s so vital that I maintain friendships with my own people (adults that is). I need to make them a priority, and I really strived to do that this year. Again, perfection didn’t happen, but I have quality people in my life!
Made more time for me. I made sure to allow “me” time in the mix. It wasn’t all the time nor was it weekly, but I did something for me at least once a month!
Kept K’s bedtime consistent. When he goes to bed on time, I get more “me” time (AKA—time to grade papers for my OTHER job), but it’s nice to know that he is getting the rest he needs and I am getting some quiet time.
I lost weight this year. Not sure how that happened, but from last January to this one, I am down almost 20 pounds. HEY HEY HEY!!!
I screamed less this year (I think). I feel like K and I really got into a discipline groove this year. He is going on 4, so there is A LOT of discipline going on in the Williams household, but I understand him a little bit better and he got to know me a little better too.
I allowed K to spend the night somewhere else a few times last year. That was big for me, but it was SOOOO good for both of us!
I took a Grant Writing workshop (and my job paid for it). It’s something that I have always “thought” I wanted to do and I finally got the chance to do it. It was amazing and I learned a lot about myself and the grant writing process! *Starting to write my first two grants this month!!!
I deleted some people from my life. It’s sad, but sometimes necessary! It freed me from a lot of stuff!
I stayed consistent with my blog this year. Writing has always been therapeutic for me and it was great to vent, share, inform, and just explain things on my blog even if I am only speaking to myself.
K became a US citizen with a US birth certificate. The paperwork was a NIGHTMARE and sadly, because of it, I will NEVER adopt internationally again, but as with everything regarding K, it was well worth it! Welcome home my son!!!
K and I went on our first vacation since we’ve been a family. We have done weekend things, but this was a 2 weeks in Hawaii kind of thing! It was great to see him see the ocean for the first time ever, snorkel, swim in the ocean, etc. We had a blast!
So… there you have it. I know that there is a ton of other things—and that’s ok! I don’t need to rant and rave about EVERYTHING. As we always say, “our life is awesome!” and really, it is!
*I will use each Tuesday to rat myself out about something! It’s all in good fun and I am sure that these “truth-day” revelations won’t be things people don’t already know about me!
It’s been a while since I posted one of these, but this has been bugging me for a while but I didn’t know how to phrase it, so I have shied away from it! But here’s the deal—is the education system so horrible that Facebook status’ always need to look like this, “Headed tew skool” or “Ihh dislyk wen mi friends go through mi friends just tew get friends”. Seriously people, it isn’t cool to sound like an idiot. Also, is this how you want the world to think you speak and spell? I know it’s just laziness and wanting to be funny, but as a mom and educator, it bugs the crap outta me! I know you know better y’all!!!
Scenario: Was asked by my boss to pick up some big time/really rich donors in the electric cart and drive them back to main campus. I show up to get them—four 68+ year old men (all apparently residing in the Palm Springs area—i was told that they carpooled from the area!!!) get in the cart and we head back to campus!
Man 1: Wow, that place seems to be poppin’! (referring to Bruxie Waffle Sandwich place)
Man 2: I bet those waffles sure do pack a lot of calories!
Man 1: It was poppin’ when we walked by it earlier
Co-Worker: The line is usually around the corner!
Man 3: Well, I guess you could indulge once in a while!
Man 4: Clearly it’s not a place for people like us!
Man 3: Speak for yourself. I would try it!!!
Man 1: Only on my “cheat days!”
*My reaction to this 30 second conversation (in my head): Did old dude just say “cheat day” and “poppin’”?
I will admit it, this holiday break I have allowed K to watch large amounts of TV. For those of you who I see often, you know how I feel about the zombie box (AKA the TV). I limit K’s TV watching and take it away from him when he isn’t “good”. Sadly, he LOVES it and is thoroughly bummed when I don’t allow him to watch! But this break, I have really been lax! He has been able to watch abundant amounts of TV and has loved every second of it. We have played outside each day for at least 2-3 hours, but seriously, our days have been filled with a significant amount of TV time!!!
The problem I am running into is combating the amount of potty talk that my “approved” movies have in them. Now, when I say “potty talk” I don’t mean cuss words. K isn’t allowed to say things like “stupid” or “dumb” or “shut up” and it seems like ALL movies and TV shows say these words. While I still only allow him to watch PBS shows and DVDs, it’s still a problem. No matter what the character says, I let him know that we don’t say those words. He repeats it back to me, but…I have noticed that when he’s playing with his Woody and Buzz dolls or with his trains, he is mindlessly repeating sentences and phrases from movies that have these words in them! It’s driving me crazy, but how do you combat it? I don’t want him to be the weird kid who isn’t allowed to watch ANY TV (he’s already got a white mom and no dad!), but at the same time, I don’t allow him to say those words.
So… my friends, your advice? Or Miss Debbie—have fun next week! Or maybe I should wish you, K, the best of luck—you might be spending a lot of time in the red chair next week at school!
Who woulda thought that that woulda happened at IHOP!?
I am blessed to work at a place that gives me the week between Christmas and New Years off, and that it’s paid! Not only that, my dad’s birthday falls during this week, so it’s been our tradition for me to take him to lunch (just the two of us) on his birthday! Since I have become a mama, obviously, K has joined us and my dad loves it even more now, I think.
So, as per our usual, we went to a late breakfast/early lunch and it was his choice of where to go. My dad, being the decadent guy that he is, chose IHOP! When I asked him why, he simply said, “I think K will like it because you can see the train tracks from the window, and I like the food, why?” I wasn’t’ berating his choice, I just didn’t think that this would be his choice since I was footing the bill!!!
But as I have learned, everything happens for a reason. K does love the view from IHOP. He can see all the cars on the 6 lane road and the railroad crossing—it’s like a little bit of heaven for him! Yet, this time was different. As we were walking out, this woman approached me and asked me where my son was born! I could tell by looking at her that she was from the Motherland, but wasn’t sure if she was Ethiopian, Eritrean or Somalian (not saying they all look alike, so don’t send me hate mail, I just didn’t want to assume anything!!!). After I told her he was born in Ethiopia, she said, “I am from Ethiopia too! Can I ask his name?”
Fast forward 15 minutes. It was an amazing conversation in the parking lot of IHOP. Come to find out, her son shares K’s birth name and she lives locally. She was stoked to discover that there was a little Ethiopian community right here in Orange County. I shared with her about all of our friends and that we were celebrating Timket in January and that we had just recently eaten at Tana Restaurant in Anaheim and that many of us have gone to culture class in LA.
We exchanged numbers and she hugged both K and me. As with most of my encounters with Ethiopians, it was beautiful! But, it was not only a wonderful encounter; it was fantastic for my dad to see it as well. Since my dad didn’t travel with me to pick up K in Ethiopia, he hasn’t seen much native, adult Ethiopian reaction to my adoption. He has asked me, on several occasions, how Ethiopians feel about Westerners adopting “their” kids, so I know it’s a concern of his. He is very aware of my feelings about making sure that not only K, but others KNOW that he is ETHIOPIAN-American! He was so happy to have had the chance to talk with her and hear her thoughts.
As we pulled out of the parking lot at IHOP, we were all grins and basically shared the same sentence over and over—wow! Who woulda thought that that woulda happened at IHOP!?
New Years Resolutions—HECK NO! I feel like resolution set you up for failure. We focus on them through the first quarter of the year, but they are usually so outrageous that we can’t ever really match up to them. Some people do and I know this. But this girl just doesn’t do it.
Last year I found this blog through a friend and decided to build my 2011 around one word—the word COMMIT! It has been such a wonderful year of commitment. I feel like to gave me amazing direction. I had focus and since it was a list that posted pretty much everywhere in my life, I could refer back to my initial list to get re-focused. Not only that, I was able to add things to my list. What new things did I want to commit to throughout the year? It was a work in progress, as am I. As you are. As we all are.
So this year, I will do the same. However, this year, my word is EMBRACE! I am going to embrace everything awesome about 2012. Why not? Wanna do it with me? Choose a word, any word, that you can focus on for 2012. What do you want to do this year? What do you want to be this year? Where do you want to go this year? Who do you want to become this year? What things do you want to focus on this year?
So here is my started list for 2012, friends:
Embrace the present. Be present in every aspect of my life. This doesn’t mean I won’t plan vacations or something like that, but I don’t need to “worry” about what might happen! Being present, to me, is about actively listening, actively caring, and knowing that this moment is what matters!
Embrace, even more so, being a mom, friend, girlfriend, daughter, sister and co-worker
Embrace the process of continuing to be healthy and living a healthy lifestyle.
Embrace my life in and with God. Working on growing towards new levels in our relationship; not by putting people down, but by walking in a level of love that is so unconditional people recognize it’s supernatural!
Embracing the great and letting go of the not so good (and sometimes ugly). By embracing the amazingness—I can let go of the things that only come up to distract me and my focus!!!
Embrace people in my community. I have a heart to help people and by embracing them, I can change things or at least help to change things. I am passionate about so many things—by embracing this, more so, I can take that passion to the next level!
So there you have it my friends. The list may shift. The list may expand. That’s ok with me. But 2012, I am embracing you with everything I’ve got!!!
We all have to do it. Your kid finds a random rock in the gutter and is ecstatic to show you his treasure. You feign elation because that’s the gig. Your daughter see’s her favorite _____________ for the umpteenth time. You invent a new, amazing word to describe how wonderful that is, because that’s the gig! Your son has seen the 87th tractor or fire truck or concrete truck or boat or airplane or….this week and you scream for joy with him because that’s the gig.
But oi vey does my face hurt from the “excited” face.
Toni Morrison asks, “When your child walks in the room, does your face light up?” I know… I know, that’s the gig. The 88th tractor this week is truly just as fascinating and special to your son as the first 87. The random rock is completely awesome as the last disgusting one they found; at least to them, it is.
I hear myself scream in delight with K and it’s real, it’s authentic, but at the same time, it’s exhausting. Even when I am not with him, it’s almost automatic. I was with a friend the other day and went to point out the tow truck to K…but before I did the whole, “baby, look at that gigantic tow truck!!!!!” I remembered he wasn’t with me!
So I will continue to scream in delight with him and for him when we see the 89th tractor! I will continue to clap my hands and jump up and down every time I see a fire truck or an airplane. Because that’s the gig… right??? And I love the gig because I love this kid!!!
Two years ago today I failed court. It was probably one of the worst nights of my life. I had such expectation for passing court and being with my son soon, that I was wholly brokenhearted. Let me also just say that I REALLY thought I would pass the first time.
For those of you who have adopted internationally, you know how amazing the feeling is when you finally get a court date. We have waited soooooooo long to hear something and when you finally get a date, it’s like a miracle. So, when I didn’t pass court because of 1 piece of paper, I was distraught, devastated and inconsolable!!!
After several conversations with some adoptive friends, I was back from the ledge and at least ready to go to sleep. The next day, with swollen and puffy eyes, I spoke to my adoption agent and he told me that my new court date was set for December 24th. He said that he couldn’t assure me that we would pass, but he wasn’t worried! Not a lot of people who internationally adopt would celebrate the court failure, but sadly, that court failure set me up for something even better.
Through the haze of my despair, I was able to take a step back and realize that it was only a two week delay. I had waited 15 months—what was 2 more weeks? Right? Well, it was a LIFETIME!!! I know that with this court delay, I would miss K’s 2nd birthday and this broke my heart all over again! I wanted us to be a family. I wanted us to be a family. But… there was light at the end of the tunnel… or so I hoped!
Well, fast forward 2 weeks…I was about to meet my friends Christy and her son Eli (who was also born in Ethiopia) for lunch when I got the call!!! We were officially a family. I had passed court on Christmas Eve! This was truly the best Christmas gift I could have ever gotten!!! While my life felt crushed the day I didn’t pass court, nothing could have prepared me for feeling the amazing feeling that I felt once I was K’s mama!
Now that I look back, thank you MOWA for delaying my court date. Thank you for you giving me the best Christmas gift ever—my son!