Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ultimate Blog Challenge . . . 31 Posts For 31 Days . . .

Since I haven't been real consistent with my writing, I'm participating in The Ultimate Blog Challenge.  For the month of October, the challenge is to write one post every day.  Now we all know how totally inconsistent I am, so I'm hoping this will help me get more on track.  I LIKE writing.  I usually feel better after I've written something.  But I don't do a very good job of writing consistently.  So hopefully this will help.  Not sure yet what I'll write about for 31 days.  Guess I'd better start making a list!  In the meantime, anyone taking bets on whether or not I'll actually SUCCEED at this?! 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

One Year Ago, Or Something Like That . . .

I've been doing the Fall Back Into Blogging and the idea for today, yesterday actually, was to link up a post you wrote on that day one year ago.  Problem was, the closest I had was 9/11.  Guess I've never been real consistent, huh?  Anyway, it's always been one of my favorites, so I guess it's good thing it was the closest one!  Here's that post.

Ten years ago today, our country was changed forever.  I'll never forget where I was.  I was pregnant with Andrew and I was taking Jason to preschool.  I heard them talking about it on Bob and Tom.  Now, for those of you that listen to Bob and Tom, you know they joke about a lot of things.  I thought they were making jokes.  And I thought, "that's not very funny."  About that time they said, "this is NOT a joke.  If you are at home, turn your radio off and turn your television on."  It was then that I realized this was for real.  And I couldn't believe it.  I spent days, just like everyone else, watching the events transpire on television.  It was a devastating time in our nation's history, and our country will never be the same again.  

But today, on the tenth anniversary of that day, I choose not to remember what happened THAT day.  I choose to remember the things that happened after.  I choose to remember the good things that came out of it.  I remember our first responders going in to help those in need, without regard to their own personal safety.  I remember ordinary people hijacking a plane from the hijackers, because they knew they needed to do it to protect others.  I remember the country coming together in prayer for all of those that lost their lives that day and in the following days.  PRAYER.  You know, that thing we're not supposed to do because of the whole separation of Church and State?  That wasn't so important to us then, was it?  

I'll never forget that for many months after this tragedy, we became more aware of ourselves and the people around us. We held hands at church. We prayed for people we'd never met. We smiled at others while walking down the street. We were nicer drivers. We never went to bed without telling our loved ones just how much we loved them. We KNEW how lucky we were to be alive and we celebrated that fact.  We were proud to be Americans, and in being proud to be Americans, we became more HUMAN.

Today, I will hold a hand, say a prayer, share a smile, and tell my family and friends how much I love them.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fun, Friday Fill-In . . .


I like writing prompts.  It helps me get started. Today I'm doing the Follow Friday Fill-In Fun.  (I LOVE that title)!  The gist is, Hilary, over at Feeling Beachie gives you 4 statements that you have to fill-in the answers to.  This weeks statements sounded good to me because one of them is something I've been thinking about A LOT in the last couple of weeks, so I took it as a sign that this is what I was supposed to write about.  Here are the 4 questions for today:

This week’s statements:
1. When I was little I was called ___
2. ___are my favorite candy
3. If I could have one magical power it would be______
4. If I could go back to school it would be to become a _________

1.  When I was little I was called LITTLE BITS by my Dad.  As a matter of fact, he STILL calls me that sometimes, and he also calls Sarah Beth that as well.
2.  REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS are my favorite candy.
3.  If I could have one magical power it would be TO LOSE WEIGHT AND NEVER GAIN IT BACK.
4.  If I could go back to school it would be to become a CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST.

Question #4 is the one that I've really been thinking a lot about lately.  Now that Sarah has started school, I'm trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up!  ;)  When I was in college, MANY, MANY YEARS AGO, I was studying Psychology.  Today, 20 years later, I still LOVE Psychology.  And I love working with children.  So I've been thinking a lot about going back to school to get my Doctorate in Psychology with a specialization in Child and Family Therapy.  THINKING about it. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall ~ My FAVORITE Season!

It's officially Fall.  My favorite season.  When we got engaged, I told Ryan I wanted to get married in the Fall because it IS my favorite season.  I love the changing of the leaves.  I love the weather, before it gets too cold.  I love all of the decorations that start showing up in the stores and in the neighborhoods.  There's nothing like going to a forest and seeing all of the beautiful colors in the trees.  Did I mention I LOVE Fall?!

Here are some of my favorite pictures I've taken over the years:

 This was taken about 2 years ago.  There's a place near us where you can go and pick pumpkins.  We went with some friends.  The kids had a really good time.
 This is from when we were living in China.  We visited the Great Wall in the Fall. 
 We had to take a chairlift up the mountain when we were visiting Ocean Park.  
Ryan and Jason were in front of us.
 Coming down the mountain you could either take the chair lift or ride this go cart like thing.  Ryan and the boys rode the go cart. 
 Sarah with her pumpkin she picked out when we went to Huber's.
 The Great Wall.  I think I took more pictures of the scenery than I did of us!
China again.  Look how red those trees are.  BEAUTIFUL!
 The Great Wall
 I love all these colors.
 How can anyone look at this and not see beauty?
 The kids and I at the Great Wall
 Love the panorama view
 More beauty
Long picture of The Great Wall

So those are MY pictures.  What about you?  Is Fall YOUR favorite season?  If not, which one is, and why?  What are some of your favorite pictures of that season?

Monday, September 24, 2012

College . . .


I went to Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) for college.  And I LOVED it!  I sort of liked grade school; I DESPISED High School-but that's a story for another day; (except for the retreats, they were AWESOME); but I LOVED college.  I made some amazing friends that I'm still VERY close with today, including one of best friends.  I grew up a lot.  I learned a lot, not just education wise, but in life.  I learned to manage my money.  I learned to live on my own.  I learned how to prioritize my time.  (Yes, I'm not very good at it, but I still LEARNED it)!  :)  

I just freakin' LOVED it!  And there are days that I still miss it.  I loved living on campus.  I enjoyed the hustle and bustle.  I loved the fact that there was always something going on.  Once I finally picked my major, Psychology, (which is pretty useless by the way if you don't get your Masters/Doctorate), I even loved the classes.  To show you HOW much I enjoyed my classes, I actually got an A in my Psychology Statistics class.  Now, that might not seem like such a big deal, but if you really knew me, you'd know that Math and I DO. NOT. GET. ALONG.  We just don't like each other.  AT. ALL.  So for me to get an A in Statistics?  That's HUGE.  I mean H-U-G-E!   As a matter of fact, I actually got a 4.0 that semester.  The ONLY time it happened by the way, but it still happened. 

My only regret?  I wish I would have realized back then how important college really was, and continued on with my degree.  Even today, 20 years later, I still LOVE Psychology.  Anything Psychology related I enjoy.  I would love to be a Child/Family Counselor.  I was leaning towards Social Work/Counseling while in college, but I was just tired of school and I wanted out.  So I didn't continue my degree.  Now I really wish I had.  Because now I'm 42 years old, and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.  Actually, I DO know.  I want to be the same thing I wanted back then.  I want to be a Counselor/Psychologist.  Only now I'm too old to go back to school.  And too tired.  

So maybe I didn't learn as much in college as I SHOULD have.  Like I should have learned, back then, how important it REALLY was.  And how much it would affect the rest of my life. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

PYHO: Paying It Forward . . . It Really DOES Happen!

I have this AMAZING brother.  I can't even begin to tell you about all of the wonderful things he does for other people.  He coaches basketball for one of the private schools here in town, and he has for years and years.  He basically makes about 25 cents an hour for coaching. That might sound like an exaggeration, but I promise you, it's not.  He spends HOURS coaching, and makes very little money for it.  But he doesn't do it because he gets paid, he does it because he loves it.  And I mean LOVES it!  And they LOVE him! 

Scott started coaching when he was in 7th grade.  He started coaching clinic ball with the 3rd/4th graders.  He then moved on to 5th/6th graders, then 7th/8th graders, and now he coaches high school.  He's 41 years old.  That's A LOT of years of coaching.  And he's VERY good.  VERY, VERY good.  He sees and understands the game like no one I've ever met.  He loves his players, and they love him.  (He coaches girls, by the way.  He once told me he'll never coach boys again because they think they know everything, but the girls listen).  :)

Of course I'm a little biased, so let me tell you how I KNOW they love him.  You see, my brother is a big guy.  I mean a BIG guy.  Here's a picture of him:

But he is also an AMAZING guy.  One of the guys he coaches with, Keith, described him as having a heart as big as his body.  And that's so true.  

So anyway, about 2 months ago, my Dad called to ask my opinion about something.  He had gotten a call from Keith telling him they, the coaches and a couple of his closest friends, were VERY concerned about his weight.  They said it's been slowing him down and he just looks miserable.  He's been there for about 15 years, and they want him to be around for 15+ more.  So they got together and decided that they were going to help him, as long as he was receptive to it.  They called Dad to see how they thought Scott would take it.  Dad then called me to ask my opinion.  I told him Scott's not stupid.  He KNOWS he needs to lose weight.  *I* need to lose weight, and I'm not as big as him.  He KNOWS.  So it's not like it's some new information they're giving him.  But I think he'll take it okay because of who it's coming from.  These guys ADORE him.  And so do the girls' he coaches.  They are doing this because they want him to be around for many more years.  So yeah, he might get his feelings hurt, but he'll be okay, because he knows it's coming out of love.

So the guys told Scott they were having a coach's meeting.  Only when he showed up, they told him it WASN'T a coach's meeting, it was about him.  They were concerned about his weight and they thought he needed to do something, and if he agreed, they were here to help him.  They said he was very receptive to it.  He told them he knew something needed to be done, but he couldn't afford to do anything major. Well that's where THEY come in.  THEY ARE PAYING FOR EVERYTHING!  Y'all, I'm not sure if you're familiar with the Biggest Loser Resort, but a 4 week stay, which is what he's staying, costs $10,000$10,000!  And they're covering it all.  The number of people that have stepped up to help fund this, is absolutely amazing.  It seems like people have been coming out of the woodwork.  They're getting cards and letters on a weekly basis with money from people he's known over the years.  The people he's paying rent to?  They're not charging him rent the month he's gone.  His boss?  He told him his health was more important than his job and that he will STILL have a job when he gets back.  (Keep in mind, he's going to be gone for 30 days)!  And here's the other thing, the guys that started this, they are going to CONTINUE helping him when he gets back.   They aren't going to leave him high and dry.  They're going to exercise with him.  They're going to eat healthier with him.  They're going to help him make a complete lifestyle change.

But there's still MORE to the story.  One of the guys that started this was telling me about his daughter.  She's a senior in high school, and Scott's been coaching her for years.  When her Dad told her what was going on, she told him she had $158 in the bank, and she wanted to donate $100 of it to Scott.  Do you KNOW how HUGE that is?  Here's this 17 year old kid that is taking more than HALF of the money she has saved, and is donating it to Scott's fund.  THAT'S the kind of effect he has on people.   THAT'S the kind of person he is. 

I've ALWAYS known what a great person my brother is.  He was my best friend when we were kids.  We did everything together.  We grew up on a street with no other kids, so we just had each other until we moved when I was 5 and he was 4.  And we continued to stay close.  He played school with me, and I played cars with him.  He always had my back, and I always had his.  But he's my brother.  I'm SUPPOSED to feel that way about him.  Luckily, he makes it easy to love him!  :)  But to know that ALL these people that DON'T have to love him, DO, THAT'S amazing!  THAT says something about the kind of person that he is.

The night before he left I was with him a local Sports Bar watching the University of Kentucky football game.  (Yes, they suck, but they're STILL my team!  :) )  That night about 30+ people came into the bar to see him before he left.  Some stayed for 5 minutes, some stayed longer, but they all came to see HIM.  And to wish him luck.  Every time someone would talk to me about him, I would start crying.  My Dad kept telling everyone, "Can you tell they're close?!"  But I wasn't crying because he's leaving, I think it's a GREAT thing.  I was crying because I KNOW what a huge POSITIVE change this is going to be for him. And I was crying because I know that if it wasn't for all of these amazing people loving him and seeing the good in him, the way *I* do, this would never be happening.  

You see, some people look at fat people and don't give them the time of day because they don't think they're worth anything.  (Believe me, I know.  I've lived it pretty much most of my life).  And that's a shame.  Because just like they say you can't judge a book by it's cover, you also can't judge a person by their size.  I know some people that are small and skinny and cute as can be; on the outside anyway.  But they're not someone I want my kids to grow up to be.  And I know people that are big like me and like Scott, and they're some of my favorite people, and I would LOVE for my kids to grow up to be like them.  So to know that ALL of these people took the time to get to know him and love him INSPITE of his size; these KIDS that adore him, and we all know teenagers can be be pretty crappy to people that look different, to know that THEY see the beautiful person he is inside.  THAT'S awesome.  And I think that's an insight into him.  No one deserves this outpouring of faith and love more than he does.  

I am SO proud of him, and I am SO lucky to call him my brother.  

So that "paying it forward" stuff.  Yeah, it really does happen.  I'm living it right now.  And I am SO thankful to all of the wonderful people that made it happen for him.  Because he deserves it.  He deserves ALL of it.  And yeah, maybe I'm a little biased because he's my brother, but when you have THAT many people step up to the plate and donate THAT much money, it's not just me being biased.  It's him having a special place in the hearts of everyone he meets. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

PYHO: Sensitive Child Part 2:

Thanks for the heartfelt and honest opinions from everyone that responded to my last post about Andrew.  If you didn't see it the first time, you can read it HERE.

After many months of worrying about him and trying to decide what to do, I finally went to talk to the AP at school today.  I like her.  I feel comfortable talking to her.  And I trust her to do what she thinks is right for Andrew.  I told her about my concerns and that I feel as though I'm not helping him.  I have a Psychology Degree.  I SHOULD BE ABLE TO HELP HIM.  But I can't.  And I think it's because I'm too close to the situation.  I think it's because he's MY son and I can't be objective.  I think it's because I'm too worried about changing the person that he is inside, and I DON'T want to do that.  I LOVE the person that he is.  I ADORE him.  But it also breaks my heart to see him so concerned about what other people think of him.  It breaks my heart to hear him talk about how everyone is so much better, smarter, athletic, funnier, than him.  It makes me cry every time I think about him not seeing the good things in himself and realizing what an amazing person he is.  It keeps me up at night when he's going through his stage of worrying about someone dying, which happens about every 5-6 weeks.  I don't want to CHANGE who he is, but I also can't stand to keep seeing him in so much pain.  So SOMETHING has to change.  SOMEONE has to be able to help him.  And it's obviously not me.  And that tears me up more than you'll ever know.  

So I finally went to someone else for help.  Something I probably should have done months ago.  But I guess better late than never, right?!  She understand where I'm coming from.  She agrees that we don't want to change who he is, but we need to address what's causing all of the negativity.  I know he's not telling me everything.  I know there's more going on than I know.  But I don't know WHAT that is.  So she is going to talk to the counselors at school, the school psychologist, and also his teacher, to see if we can come up with a plan to help him.  To see if we can find a way to boost his self esteem.  To make him realize what an incredible little boy he is.  And at the same time, NOT change who he is deep inside.  

Because THAT person?  That person is AMAZING.  And THAT person deserves to KNOW that he's amazing.  And that person, needs to feel pride in who he is.  No matter what happens, I know he will always be compassionate and caring, and that's only part of what makes him so special.  But THAT person, needs to have pride in himself.  THAT PERSON needs to love himself.  And right now, I don't think he does.  Even though he's only 10.  And that makes me feel like somewhere, I'VE done something wrong.  So now it's time to change that.  Now it's time to stop worrying about what I've done wrong, and start working on what's the best way to help him.  Because he DESERVES to be happy.  He deserves to love himself and see all of the amazing things that *I* see in him.  He deserves not to question everything he does and says.  He deserves to know that people love him, and that the only one comparing him to others, is him.  He DESERVES that.  And not just because he's my child.  But because EVERY CHILD deserves to feel that way.  ESPECIALLY MY CHILD.  ;)