Important Things to Remember in the New Year

I stumbled across these and I thought that the messages they conveyed were important reminders at the start of the new year!

What inspires you at the start of this new year?

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M.I.A.

Hey, all! Sorry I’ve been missing in action- school, illness, and other personal stuff has consumed me lately. I am very much looking forward to getting back to blogging, though! Because I’ve been so overwhelmed, I haven’t had the time to write a formal entry to I’m just going to share some cool things!

First… I went “pumpkin patching” with my roommates and I have to show you what I picked out!

Yeah, that’s me on the right, falling over (and laughing hysterically)! That’s not the pumpkin I took home, but I DID carve this baby…

Second… I read these and loved them, so I’m passing them along!

Have you done anything fun in the fall spirit? What inspires you?

Why Children’s Books are my New Inspiration

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I am in college pursuing a degree in elementary education. In pursuit of my major, I am required to take many different courses, one of which is a children’s literature course. I’ve been devouring children’s books that bring me back to my childhood and which have reminded me of the many quality lessons these books hold. I made a short list of some of the lessons I’ve deciphered and I hope it encourages you to pick up an old favorite and to cherish its quality and excellence. Enjoy!

1. Sometimes, it’s okay to be curious. (Curious George, H.A. Rey)

2. With time and perseverance, you’ll always end up where you belong. (Corduroy, Don Freeman)

3. Never take advantage of a good thing. (Miss Nelson is Missing, Harry Allard and James Marshall)

4. Love is eternal. (The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein)

5. Beauty lives within. (The Rainbow Fish, Marcus Pfister)

6. Lend a helping hand when you can. (Make Way for Ducklings, Robert McCloskey)

In My Next Life, I Want To Be My Dog

Disclaimer: The following statement is not meant to inflict shame or insult upon any of my two-legged loved ones.

I like dogs more than I like most people. This is not to say that I don’t like people or that I put dogs and people in the same category. Let’s get real; obviously dogs are in a higher category than  most people.

My family rescued my beautiful dog, Gracie, about a year and a half ago. She succeeds our family’s princess of a puppy, Sophie, my first love. We have no idea what Gracie’s life enTAILed preceding her entry into our family  and at first we had a hard time connecting with her. She didn’t display affection, act protective, or even respond to us for the most part. We (fondly, of course) referred to her as a “Lug,” because she really didn’t do much of anything.

Of course, with time, patience, and lots of reassurance from us, Gracie has become a part of the family. She is affectionate, protective, and responsive. We love her very much and she clearly loves us in return. Today, however, was an exciting first in my relationship with Gracie because today was the first time she followed me around the house. She walked beside me like the trusty companion she is, and I was touched. I’ve seen her follow closely on the heels of my parents’ feet, but this was a first for me. I felt Gracie’s loyalty and trust more than I have ever before.

I find dogs to be so sincere. In my opinion, they behave the way that humans should behave toward one another. There are so many lessons that we can learn from our dogs and we’d be better people if we acted more like them. If dogs were our teachers we would learn these lessons and more:

  • Always run to greet loved ones when they come home.
  • Take naps.
  • Be loyal.
  • Always be yourself.
  • If something you want is buried, dig until you reach it.
  • When you’re happy, jump around and wag your whole body.
  • Do not bite when a growl will suffice.
  • Take the opportunity to appreciate the small stuff.
  • If someone is having a bad day, sit close and nuzzle them.

In my next life, I hope I have the honor of being as great as my dog. She has taught me how to be a better person, an invaluable lesson.

My “Quote” Life

I am and have always been a “quotes person.” I find them to be a great source of inspiration and one of those excellent “pick-me-up-when-I’m-down” resources. That’s why I’d like to use quotes in my first blog post to tell you a bit more about myself.  So, without further adieu, here are my five favorite quotes and how I think they apply to my life!

1. “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

-Roald Dahl 

So, at risk of coming across as a ridiculously idealistic optimist, I’d like to start by saying that I find this quote to be enchanted. To me, the idea of finding happiness in optimism embodies the way I’d like to live my life. Every day is a new chance for positive change. This is an idea I think of often and I’ve come to the conclusion that striving for positive change will ALWAYS be important. This quote inspires me to seek out change and to look for “magic.” In fact, I was introduced to this quote by my dear friend, Val, who was truly my inspiration for writing this blog. (You can read her blog here.)

2. “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

-Walt Disney

Again, this quote probably puts me at risk of sounding like some idealistic, overly optimistic nut, but it does propel me to go for my dreams. Oftentimes, I’ll sit down at my desk, study for five minutes, and decide that watching Titanic, which I’ve seen about 700 times, would be a better use of my time. Alas, as I begin to stand up and beeline for my bed to snuggle up for movie time, I catch a glimpse of this quote which I have strategically posted over my desk. I am reminded that my goal is maintaining a 4.0 grade point average so that my dream of becoming a school principal can come true. Suddenly, Titanic isn’t so interesting anymore.

3. “I’m thankful, for every break in my heart,

I’m grateful, for every scar,

Some pages turned,

Some bridges burned,

But there were lessons learned.”

-Carrie Underwood

This quote touches me very personally. I am and have always been a steadfast believer in “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” (Thank you, Kanye West). A life of a lot of ups and downs has taught me that nothing can be taken for granted and while this is an abstract idea, it is such an overwhelming part of who I am.

4. “We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, ‘I survived’.”

– Chris Cleave

My intention is not to splay out all of my trials and tribulations nor is it to reveal some tenuous tale of woe; however, I do have scars, literal, tangible scars that go down the lengths of both of my legs. This is why this quote hits so close to home. 4 surgeries, some time spent in a wheel chair, and years of physical therapy as well as the support of my loving friends and family have cured me of my malformed knees. Some of my friends fondly refer to me as “Zippers” and I am proud that my zippers are there. They are my badges of courage and I do think they are beautiful.

5. “The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Strangely, I’ve come to the conclusion that loving others is not innate. It is a skill that is harvested and refined. By no means am I any sort of Picasso (truthfully, I am barely capable of creating a picture more complex than a stick figure); however, I do think I’ve somehow mastered the art of loving and I think it is a great skill in life. I have been given the gift of wonderful family and friends and they have taught me this art.