Gratitude is the key to life….

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. I can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”-Melody Beattie

While I had this whole profound idea to write about tonight…it all went out the door when I had this thought conjour up!  So stick with me here but I promise while many and both ideas fed off of the quote above….this thought does still connect….

I work at a gym…we all know that, Most of us know that I used to work at the gym about four years abo too.  This is the company where I got my first taste of management.  Thought I liked it which is why I moved on into a different management position with a different company all together.  Ironically I went from the Fitness idustry into the food industry….Haha….even as i type that i shake my head at the irony of it!  Well while i am not in the industry again as a manager I am here, again.  But i dont see this as going backwards at all.  I get to be here as a front desk person, I dont have the stress or worries of a manager, i see things a little differently now. 

Tonight I noticed this one woman, maybe mid 20s…who knows, i’m blind and she’s of Asisan decent so has good genes and they always look younger then what they actually are!  Anyways….she had to be no bigger than a toothpick!  Seriously!  I barely saw her when she’d turn into her profile!  I have skinny friends ok…just because i’m a big girl doesn’t mean i only have big girl friends!  But this girl…woman, was SKINNY!!  She had to be no bigger then a 00..or are there negative sizes for women’s clothing??  I wouldnt know, i’ve never seen anything less then an 8 in my life time, and i barely remember the size 8!  LOL

Point being, while I may be voluptuous, fat, curvacious, heavy, obese, big boned, fluffy, etc….I NEVER want to be that thin!  I dont even want to be thin!  I want to be heathly and still keep my curves!  Dont get me wrong, being big (however you want to vall it) has it’s health downfalls but I do my part to stay healthly.  For one I work and workout at my gym on a regular basis, i keep active in general, I eat heathly (except once a month and we all know that week its all bets off…sorry but you fight mother nature and her gift!)….I am happy with myself….

Dont get me wrong, big women and skinny women alike have their image issues.  I dont think that being lighter will solve all my image issues…hell i once was the size i want to be now and i know then i wasn’t happy with it!  So as a woman, i may never entirely overcome those image issues.  But i’m going to be heathly trying!

For me my workouts keep me mentally balanced.  Its a stress and energy release for me….i have a bad day i can go to the gym and run it off and leave it there!  Eating good and heathly food makes me feel good.  I have better energy levels, better complexion, better dietary track…etc.  So these ways have their positive sides while being a challenge at times in the long run its worth it for me.

My point…hey, bear with me, its 330am….but my point being that…image issues are an internal thing.  I once had the body i now want and didnt want it then, I thought I still needed to be smaller!  Its been a struggle my whole life.  The difference then vs now?  It was society impressioning me and making those decisions…not ME!  So the important part in all this….stay fit, healthly and active…not because of peer pressure or society.  But because you want to.  Those women out there struggling to lose the weight…its a mental thing!  I say it b/c I know it!  I have tried for years to lose the extra baggage but it wasnt until this last year that i was able to drop and keep off 45 lbs!  It was me who made the decision, not anyone else.  Skinny or fat, you’ll never be happy with what you look like until you accept who you are…until you are grateful for the body God blessed you with. 

I was blessed with curves, LOTS of them!  Now I learn to manage those curves and keep them in proper propotion.  I want to be more of a Queen Latifah body type, not a Kate Moss…but hey thats just me…you be who you want to be!  And be happy, grateful, and content with it!  Be grateful you have a life to live with, two legs that allow you to walk, arms to hug someone with, hands to touch and feel, eyes to see…be grateful for who you are!  I am!

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A New Sun Rise=A New Buginning

You notice how we always want to start something new-whether it be a routine, diet, workout regimen, job, look, etc.- on a Monday?? Why is that? Or the first of the month or year…. if its about it being a new beginning, don’t we get that every day? Every time the sun sets it rises again on a new day. It brings us another opportunity to start anew. So why do we still wait for a New Year’s resolution, the first of the month, a Monday, etc. to start something new in our lives?

Today as I was lying in bed listening to the radio I heard one of my favorite songs come on the radio. This is a song I love for the lyrics not just for the instrumental aspects of it. It is Reba McIntyre’s “I’m a Survivor”. I’ve copied and pasted my favorite lyrics below….

“I don’t believe in self-pity

It only brings you down

Maybe the queen of broken hearts

But I don’t hide behind the crown

When the deck is stacked against me

I just play a different game

My roots are planted in the past

And though my life is changing’ fast

Who I am is who I wanna be

…. I’m a survivor”

Where am I going with all this “new beginning” and “survivor” talk?? Well, we all have our moments…. many of you know the struggles I have faced this past year, and it is not to discredit anyone else’s struggles but hey this blog is about my life. It’s interesting how what we think we could never survivor we do. A year ago I would’ve never thought I’d be doing what I am right now. What is that? Well I’m back in college working towards my Masters, I’m working two jobs (a volleyball ref and back at 24 Hour Fitness working the front desk at nights), living on my own, in a long distance relationship, preparing for my sister’s wedding, visiting my Mom via my prayers/heart/soul/the Italian cemetery where her body lays to rest, following a strict budget, being creative with how I make money (completely legal, get your minds out of the gutter), 40 lbs less, being “college student” broke but working on becoming debt free, strictly platonic with my ex, etc. That list could go on, I am here all night with not a whole lot to be doing…but I will stop there, you get the point. Looking back, none of these changes happened b/c I said, “Monday I’m going to…” or “My New Year’s resolution will be…/” or “The beginning of next month I’m going to….” No sir!

We are guaranteed two things in life…death and taxes. That’s it. Everything else we make happen, and if we wait for tomorrow to make it happen it may be too late. After losing my mom (and then many close people to my after that) I was reassured how fragile life is. How little of a guarantee it is. How if we wake up in the morning, well hell, that’s a damn good start to a day! Lot’s of people aren’t blessed with that. My next blessing each morning is that I am physically able to get up and get out of bed, on my own! If I can do that, well then I “woke up on the right side of the bed” and have a good foundation to face the rest of my day.

While I may gripe about being here and being bored or sleepy, I’m blessed to have a job. Not just a job but for a company that I like and respect and am proud to work for! I haven’t had a job for a year! Meaning I haven’t officially been on a payroll anywhere for a year!

I trained with a kid last night (my first official night on the job) that is 22. Without even asking him that I guessed he was about 21 or so. He was funny, young, naive, but a good kid in general. He kept making fun of me b/c I kept finding stuff to do to keep me busy! He started to feel like he was being lazy. But what he doesn’t get is not that I’m trying to be the new hire suck up. But I was excited to be at work. I had a job. Not that I was a manager before for this company and so wanted to get things done here but I had a job! It was a great feeling to have!!! I have it written into my planner for the next six months! I have a job!

Everything in life happens for a reason…. good, bad or otherwise. But the blessing in life is that while not every day may be a great one or even a good one, we get another chance at it every 24 hours! We get a new chance to start over. Not erase what happened the day before but let it go…. it’s in the past. Leave it there, learn from it and move on. Move on to your new sunrise, your new beginning!

As I finish this we are starting a new day. As my shift ends many of you will be waking up to start your day. The “starts” and “ends” of my days may be a little different now a days but I am still blessed every day with a new opportunity to live my life how I want.

Here’s a link that my Dad shared with me and I thought you might enjoy…have a wonder and blessed day!

http://www.thedreamsmovie.com/

Do you back up your HD?

I know for most of you tech geeks, HD refers to “high def” but in this case I’m referring to “hard drive.” More specifically I’m talking about my mental hard drive. It crashed today!! I’m mean full on crash! Smoke coming out of the ears, tears out of the eyes and immediate shut down. Tried preventative prior to the crash by relaxing on the couch upon my arrival home and then taking a nice relaxing shower with candles and music but no such luck on a save!
At approximately 5:15pm on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 (Feliz dia de independencia, to all my Mexican friends!) my mental hard drive crashed-in my parents’ house and in the care/presence of my Dad. Poor Dad….there’s a mess I’m sure he never thought he would have to deal with! Mom was always there to take the brunt of those. Not to say he was never willing-no, no, no….Dad was always ready and willing but I being a girl…ok a girly girl….would default to Mom to help in this department.
You know those days, and now as we are older (sorry guys but it’s the facts of life) we can foresee usually what time of the month we will have this mental crash. Well, me knowing this but also knowing that so much has happened in the last three weeks alone felt that God was testing me yet again. Testing me to see how much I can handle. Testing me to see if the path I am on is really and truly the path that I want to be traveling down. I said it before school started; I wasn’t going to let anything or anyone stand in my way. I was going to finish this semester and then start my MA in Leadership in January and then be locked into SMC for the next three years with two Masters Programs and a credential program.
Let me tell you, God (and whoever else is out there) has had no problem testing me to really push me to see if this is what I want! There is a quote that I’ve clutched to over the past year and really believe. Mother Theresa said it, “I know God wouldn’t give me anything that I couldn’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” Last year we know why I took to that quote. This year I thought, well hell if I was able to get through what last year threw at me then I can get through anything. While I still believe this, I also know that life will not be a cake walk for me either. I have worked long and hard to get what I want and will continue to do so. No free rides for me. Breaks? Yes, I’ve learned to take breaks when and as I need them. I’ve learned through being in the business world that balance is very important.
Here’s my life now, and yes I promise I am still balancing….School as a student three days a week, work four days a week, and school as a “teacher”/observer one day a week. I know, I know…there are only seven days in a week and I am looking very booked up there. Where is my balance? It’s there. I have plenty of social events in there too and I’m making sure that every week I make time for me. How? Well just like we balance our budgets, I am keeping a schedule/calendar same as I am keeping my budget. Not a whole lot of deviation allowed but there’s a little bit of cushion.

So if I have it all organized how did I crash three weeks in? Duh! I’m human…I’m not Superwoman or Wonder woman! As much as I wish I am at times, I’m glad I don’t have the weight of the world on my shoulders, because the weight of my life is enough to bear. But I have great family and friends here to help me out. Keep me focused, grounded, loved, supported, etc. I have cheerleaders here even if the one I always had is no longer physically here with me. That woman made herself known at all my games, meets, and tournaments when she was here I know she will make herself known from now on too!
So just like computers my hard drive was “reset” and thanks to Dad I’m back on course!

Don’t forget to “back up” your hard drive and reset every now and again as needed. Proper care will prevent crashes!

Dreams and Nightmares

dreams.honda.com

A few days ago after telling a friend about my nightmares that I had been having, I was sent this link.  Slightly perplexed as to what Honda Motors had to do with my nightmares I asked him.  He said it might give me some insight to my nightmare and its meaning.  My nightmares were about my mom and what I lived though with her battle of cancer.  How did Honda Motors play into this?  I got the “just watch it and you will know why I sent it to you.”  So being the good Catholic girl that I was raised to be I followed instructions. 

I’m an artist at heart.  I’ve been painting, drawing, coloring, creating, etc since I was old enough to hold a brush!  But growing up in a home with two scientifically minded people I also had a bit of “left brain” in me.  So the combination of the two developed the very unique individual that I am today!  I say this because throughout my life I have learned that to stay “sane” I must regularly utilize my outlets.  They tend to let me “blow off steam” from regular life stress, work (or now school) stress, frustrations, obstacles, etc.  What I have learned is that my outlets are primarily one of two things; creative outlet and energy outlet.  The energy one I fulfill by keeping a gym membership and I am there fairly regularly (as of late, well I havent been there so often).  My creative outlet I will exert through writing (such as this blog) or painting/drawing/sketching/etc.  In my little studio apt I have set aside a designated area for my art supplies and a desk where I can perfom/work on these pieces.  There’s been a piece laying there untouched for about two months now.  I keep them out so people can hold me accountable and I hold myself accountable.  But realistically I havent made time for any art lately.  And just like a much needed workout….I should be picking up a brush soon/

So back to Honda and my nightmares. ….Well if you go and check out the link yourself, specifically the one about Dreams and Nightmares you will probably understand why my friend sent me the link.  My nightmares, which thankfully ceased last night, are a manifest of myself.  I need to pick up a brush and let out what is bouncing around up there!  Not to say that I’m going to have a phase of  “dark art” but just that my energy needs to be released.  And for me, being that my nightmares were about my mom, my art will reflect my mom and who she was.  So stay tuned, my next blog may be a photo of my latest piece of art!

In addition to, I’ve survived my 2nd week of school.  It’s going by so fast!  Before I know it my semester will be over and it will be January and my new program will be starting!!  Can you believe that it will be 2010?!?  I feel like I read books in school that told of the future in 2010 and here we are on the brink of it!  Ok that’s a different blog!  For now I will leave you with Dreams vs. Nightmares.  The whole documentary series is worth watching, check it out!

Until next time!!!

Day 1, Week #2

So I have survived week #1 of back to school!  Now here I am beginning week #2 and I find myself back at my old high school and I’m an observer.  For those of you not in the educational field.  As a prospective teacher earning my masters and credentials I need to spend 50+ hours in a classroom observing teachers.  I am watching their teaching style, interaction with students, reaction of students to their teaching methods, etc.  All this towards developing my own style of teaching.  Which for someone like me who doesnt have much style as it is….LOL, I’m just kidding!  But I’m not 100% sure how great of a teacher I will be.  I am not one to go into anything blindly so all the preaparation I can get is a plus for me. 
So back on the old stompin’ grounds and here with kids…LITERALLY kids…we dont realize how old me are until we have something to compare it to.  So here let me help you out a bit.  I’m thinking you may laugh and cry a little bit….

1)The oldest of these kids was born after the 1989 earthquake

2)Rodney King and the LA Riots are something they know about b/c they can Google it and they had to b/c when they watched him on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab they didnt know who the guy was or why he was on that show!!!

3)The 80s is retro! And the clothes of the 80s are making a comeback b/c of them like bell bottoms and the clothes of the 70s did for some of us.

4)While I wasnt even allowed to have a page in HS, these kids all have (and have had) a cell phone!  I got my first cell phone when I graduated from HS!  A pager is something they probablly dont even know about let alone have actually seen/touched!

5)The internet is something that has always been in existence for them…DOS days um…what?!?!  Typing commands to get a circle on the screen…um dude, I can make that circle into a bouncing ball with your face on it!

And there’s the bell!  Literally.  So while I have had the first block off I now need to go to a class and observe for real.  But keep in mind how different this generation is.  I feel like i’m my parent’s generation talking about Gen Y…what is this genereation called?  Gen Ynot?  They have experienced no real hardships…obstacles are something they know from history books!

So signing off, you luck out, the bell is keeping this short for you!  But hopefully it made you roll your eyes, toss you head back and laugh a little, just give you a welcome break from whatever you all do out there in the working world!

Thanks for reading and talk to you again soon!!

New Chapters…

So much has gone on this last week for me, let alone the last month or year.  So lets try and sum this up quickly so I can get to the point of this blog….

So a year ago August 31st my mom past away.  She battled 18 months with cancer and lost that battle.  She put up a good fight but losing her, my best friend, my support, my role model left me with a feeling like no other.  I was told to prepare for her loss, to get ready for her death.  But to me that made no sense what so ever!  Why prepare for not having in her life when I have her right now!?!  I will have the rest of my life here to cope with not having her why would I miss out of all of the valuable time that I do have with her?  That is what is wrong with us nowadays….we spend too much time hung up on our pasts and too much time worrying about our futures that we don’t enjoy our time right NOW!

For the longest time I was saying how I would go back to school but I had to make myself more “financially stable” before I went back to school.  I had to do this or that before i went back to school to work on my masters….Funny i’m unemployed now and I’m back in school.  I’m the most financially strapped then I have been in my entire life and I’m back in school….what was I so concerned about?  I had this idea in my head that life was supposed to happen a certain way and I was so focused on making sure that everything happened in the order I thought it was supposed to happen in that I was missing out on SO much in the now!

So this week I started back at school.  I have two classes on campus three days a week and then I am spending two days in classrooms observing teachers on how they teach.  In addition to that I need a way to finanacially support myself so I am looking at two part time jobs for some income so I can continue to go to school and not live out of a cardboard box!  Needless to say that I am now on a strict budget financially and a strict schedule as well!

The ironic part is when I thought my life was going to “end” it really just got started.  I always feared losing one or both of my parents young, like my parents did.  I thought I could never survive something like that like they did.  But after all of the metaphorical clouds passed…..it was so clear!

So here I am a year later…starting school…AGAIN….but working towards the goal I have always been striving for and was too clouded to see. 

I’m closing chapters of my career, love and life past and starting a whole new chapter with a career goal I’ve never been so passionate about, friends and family who love me, and more financial smarts then I’ve had.  Leaving my past behind me where it belongs and taking one step at a time forward towards the life I want.

Dont go making assumptions, this isn’t all a sunny day walk in the park!  I have a $2200 school bill due by the end of the semester plus rent and all my other regular expenses.  I have two part time jobs, classes to attend as a student, and classes to attend as an observer, and a lot of distance in between me & my biggest “cheerleader” three time zones away!

But what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger…and everything in life happens for a reason!  I live it and believe it…

Words of wisdom from someone special….

“…you live every day as it’s the last you will see someone.  Meaning you try to reconcile hurt, etc.  We do this because we are fragile creatures with a limited lifespan so we have to make everything that we associate in our lives count because one day we will cease to exist in everything but memories.”

"I’m Alive" by Kenny Chesney with Dave Matthews

So damn easy to say that life’s so hard

Everybody’s got their share of battle scars

As for me I’d like to thank my lucky stars that

I’m alive, and well

It’d be easy to add up all the pain

And all the dreams you sat and watched go up in flames

Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain

But not me, I’m alive

And today you know that’s good enough for me

Breathin’ in and out’s a blessin’ can’t you see

Today’s the first day of the rest of my life

And I’m alive, and well

I’m alive, and well

Stars are dancin’ on the water here tonight

It’s good for the soul, when there’s not a soul in sight

But this boat has caught its wind and brought me back to life

Now I’m alive, and well

And today you know that’s good enough for me

Breathin’ in and out’s a blessing can’t you see

Today is the first day of the rest of my life

Now I’m alive, and well

Yeah I’m alive, and well