Monthly Archives: March 2014

Opening Day

opening day

Today is opening day for our beloved New York Mets.  We always say that it is not so easy being a Mets Fan, but it sure does build character!!!  They haven’t had a great season in so long!  But…we are not fair weather fans so we will stick by them. We always do.

Last week, my brother Tim asked us if he could take Drew to the game.  Here is where being a teacher and being a parent conflict.  My mom side said, “Absolutely!  How exciting for him!!”  My teacher side said, “Absolutely not!  He can not miss school for a baseball game!”  I debated with myself all weekend over it.  He is doing very well in school right now so missing a day, as long as he made up all the work couldn’t really hurt, BUT, he missed two days of school at the beginning of the month when he was sick.  I went back and forth over it but finally decided to give in and let him go.  Opening Day only comes once a year, and actually getting tickets to the game wasn’t going to happen often.  Too bad they had to see them lose.  Such a disappointing way to start the season but I still hope that this will be one of those special days he remembers forever, despite it being a loss.

A bunch of teachers at school are Mets fans so there was a bit of camaraderie at work today with all of us excited for the season to begin.  Even my class knows how much I enjoy baseball.  The best part of my day, was when one of my students came in with a gift bag for me.  I opened the card and it read, “Happy Baseball.”  Inside the bag was an awesome New York Mets tee-shirt for me!  I can’t wait to wear it and show off my New York Mets Pride!

Play Ball!!

lets go mets

Coincidence or Sign from Mom?

coincidence

It has been awhile since I went to the cemetery to visit my mom.  During the week, I had been out shopping for some things at the pharmacy and saw a sweet, yellow, stuffed duck that reminded me of her.  Everyone knew who knew my mom knew that yellow ducks were her “thing!”  People in town even called her, “The Duck Lady” because she had such a connection.  Whenever I see a cute, little duck, I think of her.  Usually, I pass those ducks by but for some reason, I tossed this yellow duck into my shopping cart instead.  When I got home, I showed it to Drew and he told me we should bring it to grandma.

So yesterday, we went to the cemetery.  Just the two of us.  Although I never really liked the idea of being buried indoors, in a mausoleum, yesterday, in the pouring rain yesterday, it was nice to have a quiet, dry place to sit and visit.   Often, I don’t find myself comfortable in there, but yesterday, I know it sounds corny, but it seemed very peaceful.  Although he did not say so, I think Drew agreed because he asked if we could walk around.  We did and he commented on a lot of the crypts; the ages of some people who had died, their names, the years they were born…it was actually rather interesting.  On this gray, dreary day, as we looked down the long rows, the eternal light candles, were glowing in an almost soothing way.  I really can’t explain it…it was just a different experience than I have had there in the past.

We did not stay very long, maybe 20 minutes or so.  We left the building and ran to the car though the rain.  We jumped in and when I turned on the car, the radio was on and I happened to glance down and see this,

Ellie on radio

Ellie was my mom’s name.  Drew and I noticed it at the same time.  I know…it was just the first name of the woman singing the song, but…the two of us both caught our breath!  I took a photo with my phone and had to share it on Facebook.  It seemed to much of a coincidence.  What I do I know, is whether it was a sign, or just a coincidence, it gave Drew and me comfort seeing it.  Sharing this photo and story seems to have given a lot of others some sort of “sign” as well because after all of the comments and “likes” it has gotten on Facebook, I know that a lot of us thought of mom today.  Perhaps that is why we receive signs in the first place.  Just so we don’t forget.

instead, be comforted knowing that your loved one is around. – See more at: http://www.psychic-readings-guide.com/proof-of-life-after-death.html#sthash.aMcXTvBY.dpuf

Giving Back

giving back

Growing up and never leaving the community you grew up in, may not be for everyone but for me, it was what I always wanted.  Other than leaving to go to college in Washington, DC for four years, and a spending a few years right after we were married in a townhouse ten minutes away from here, I have remained in Maplewood, New Jersey.  My hometown.  Married to my high-school sweetheart, we knew this was the place for us to raise our own family.

I am sure it is the same in every small town, but one of the things I love most about my community is how so many small businesses still remain and are thriving here.  There are no big chain stores or restaurants. Many of the businesses are privately owned and run by local families.

I try to support the small businesses in my community to keep the local economy strong.  My dad owns one of these local businesses, which makes me even more passionate about it.  One thing that I love most about living here, is how so many of theses businesses give back to the community.  Through the annual Memorial Day Duck Race and school auctions where merchants donate prizes and services to the Street Fairs and Girls’ Nights Out – the list could go on and on.

This week  it has been “Restaurant Week” in town.

Local restaurants aresupporting Rent Party Pantry, Inc. in its efforts to fight hunger locally so come on out that week and sample the quality, variety and hospitality of Maplewood’s restaurants and food purveyors for less AND help fight hunger on the local level.  

This tied in perfectly with a fundraiser at another one of my favorite businesses, Viva Z.  On the last Friday of every month, the owner holds a dance party.  All classes are free but you are asked to make a donation to the local charity she has chosen for the month.  Last month, it was for the local fire department.  Last night, was a collection for the local food pantry.

Maplewood Karate, encourages its students to give back as well.  Students earn blue charity stripes on their belt for donating food which is also donated to the local food pantry.

There is a saying, “It takes a village,” and Maplewood really proves that is true.  Things like this are happening all of the time here, demonstrating how important community is and how valuable it is to give back.  I think it is part of the charm that draws people to our town.  It certainly makes me want to stay!

Mighty #FMF

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Linking to Lisa-Jo Baker for another 5 Minute Friday. The object, to write for 5 minutes on the topic.  That’s it.  No longer, no less.  Today’s word is, MIGHTY.

Mighty is defined as, possessing great and impressive power or strength.  Kindness is defined as, the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.  Imagine what we could do if we were all mighty kind to one another?!?  The possibilities are endless but the effect would be powerful!

The population of our world is 7 billion! If each one of us did even just one act of kindness…the impact would be HUGE!  Now imagine if they did more than one…that, would be mighty!  7 billion acts of kindness?  The result would be incredible.  We can start with baby steps.  By teaching and modeling for children how even the smallest act of kindness can cause a big reaction.  The ripple effect!  What a wonderful world it could be!

 

It’s starting to spread!

humans and kindness

I think it is working!  The kindness initiative we started at school seems to be spreading!  We are receiving emails from people who are being presented with random acts of kindness and people are talking about it!  That was the whole idea – to get people talking about kindness!  This morning, one of my kindergarteners couldn’t wait to tell me that when he woke up this morning, he made his parent’s bed for them.  That brought on conversation with the rest of the class about what they have done or are going to do to to start their own kindness chain!

Aesop once wrote, “No act of kindness, not matter how small, is ever wasted.”  Perhaps that should be our motto because what may seem like the smallest gesture, just might turn out to be the most important thing to another person.

great love small things

Blogging

blogging

I realized tonight that I am pretty much a baby when it comes to the blogosphere, considering that today I read on Hello Giggles that blogging has been around for 20 years! The author of the blog, Grace Cox, put something into words that I am thinking everyday when I sit down to write my own,

The idea of blogging is so weird and amazing.  That you can be a published writer on a platform that is accessible to millions of people is mind-boggling if you stop and think about it. 

When I began writing, it was to promote something I am so passionate about  – KINDNESS!  I thought that I’d be sharing stories about kindness that I read about or witnessed in person.  I wrote everyday, just as I had said I would. The amount of views the blog got varied, but it was never very many.  Mostly friends and family when I shared it on Facebook.  Then, two months into my “project” my mom died and it all changed.  Hundreds of people were reading it during the one month period of when she died and when Francine died.  I began to realize, that my blog was taking on a life of its own, taking me on an adventure where I was learning on the way.  I started to realize that although I was still spreading kindness in my blog, when I got personal and let my emotions come out, more people were interested in what I had to write. It has become my personal diary in some ways.

Growing up, I tried keeping diaries but never kept up with them. I was envious of my friends who wrote faithfully in them everyday.  Now, I have become one of those people – but my entries aren’t private.  I am writing it and putting it out there for anyone to see.  That is why some of the things I write have been so hard to actually submit!  My blog has made me a stronger, bolder person.  It has allowed me to express myself in ways that I doubt I’d ever speak about otherwise.  It is still giving me the opportunity to spread kindness, the original intent, but it has opened up my world.  Although my blog is still pretty small in the scheme of things, I have “followers” and people respond to what I have to say.  I am meeting other bloggers and despite living in this enormous world, blogging actually makes it seem a little smaller.

Looking for inspiration!

gratitude

I go through these slumps once in awhile and just sit in front of my computer not knowing what to write about.  I have had a good few weeks, with plenty of things to blog about but then one of these days comes along.  I look through emails, read through my Facebook feed and even do searches on the internet for ideas.  Sometimes it just doesn’t happen.  I am uninspired today.  Not sure why…

I am still doing my Lenten “Acts of Kindness” each day and actually getting a lot of joy out of it!  It is fun to leave a special treat in a mailbox or on another teacher’s desk without them knowing.

Today at school, we continued to promote the Pay it Forward program by sharing the website with the faculty and a lot of the teachers took kindness cards so that they could also spread the kindness.  All great things,  but, I have written about all of this already!

My dad continued his tradition of sending us a bushel of oranges and grapefruits from his trip to Florida.  That was a nice treat to come home to this afternoon, but not enough to write an entire blog!

The more I think about it, my day, although far from perfect, had several moments of kindness and joy thrown in.  Maybe that should be a goal for everyone.  To find a few moments from their day, everyday –  even on the “bad” ones, to find a few instances that you are grateful for and for those we should find a reason to be inspired.

So Proud of You

proud of you

Last night my boys went to the NJ Devils game with my dad. When they got home, DJ said, “Drew, are you going to tell mom what you did at the game tonight?”  I replied, ‘Uhoh, what…” and DJ said, “No mom, it is good!”  We all laughed and Drew got embarrassed and told me this story,

You know how I always go up to the glass for warm ups?  Well, I went there tonight and I was hoping that a player would toss me a puck after practice.  There was this kid standing near me who had special needs and he was wearing a Toronto jersey.  He reminded me of that girl we saw at The Newark Bears Game.  That was the kind of special needs he was.  Well, he wanted a puck so badly but he didn’t get one and I guess he got tired of standing there because he and his dad went back to their seats.  Then, I got a puck and I went over and gave it to him instead of keeping it. The kid was so happy!  Later, the dad and the kid came over to our seats and thanked me.  At the end of the game, I went up to where the referees leave the ice and NJ, (the Devils mascot,) tossed me the game puck!

I was so proud I nearly cried.  DJ was just nodding his head the whole time telling me that really happened.  My dad told me how proud he was of him.  I had to share it – I was so filled with joy that he had done such a generous thing.  For anyone who knows him, he is a collector and giving up a puck was probably not the easiest thing for him!!  I shared the story on Facebook before I left for work this morning.  I got home this evening and found that there were just under 200 likes and almost 50 comments about it!  Comments saying others were going to pay it forward today after reading it.  Comments about how he is growing up into such a kind young man.  Comments about how Dave and I “must be doing something right!”

He and I just read the comments together and he is embarrassed – self-conscious perhaps, but I can tell he is pleased with himself.  It is so nice watching him grow into such a kind hearted boy.  Many of the comments mentioned “great parenting.”  I had great role models to follow, and now my children are following in those footsteps as well.  We talk all the time about how easy it is to do the right thing and last night, Drew demonstrated that perfectly.

Rejected

Donate-Blood2

Today I went to 9:30 mass.  I parked in the lot and saw a sign for a blood drive and as I walked into the side entrance, I saw a sign on the doors reading, “Blood Shortage.”  I have never donated blood before but thought what better act of kindness than to do this today. I have always been a bit nervous about it but I am not sure why.

It was almost time for mass to start, so I went to the room where they were doing the drive and asked what I needed to do to qualify.  The woman told me I had to have eaten breakfast and that I had to be older than 17 to donate.  Perfect.  I told them I would return after mass.  I figured after all the blood work I went through last year with my headaches, how bad could it be.  Plus, by going in and talking to them before hand and promising to come back, I figured I would have no reason to chicken out!!

After mass, I headed back down to the blood drive.  I recognized a few of the volunteers working there and chatted with them for a bit while I signed the forms.  There were so many questions!  Questions about time spent out of The USA or if I have eaten meat from another country. Questions about whether I am taking medication for blood thinners or have every used needles or drugs!  Fortunately I could answer no to all of them.  A good thing I thought.

That is until I went up for the second step of the process where a medical attendant goes through all of the information and registers me in the system.  Question 1 is what got me rejected.  It was, “Do you currently weigh more than 120 pounds?”  Well today….no.

I had a goal this year.  My goal was to weigh under 120 pounds by my friend’s wedding, (which was last week.) I am only 5’2″ so that is not an unrealistic goal.  It has been a long time since I saw the scale at a number under that number and now that I have been working hard to eat better and work out several days a week it has happened.  Honestly, it is only a pound or two under and depending on the day, it could even be back at 120.  It just happens that today, I was under.

The woman was so nice.  She told me that the amount of blood they took was equivalent to almost one pound and that taking that much could adversely affect me, even if it never has before.  I pleaded with her that it was only a pound but she said no.  I even told her, I’d go home and eat a big lunch and come back but no.  Rejected.

As I left there and the man I had been chatting with in the beginning said, “leaving so soon?”  I told him I couldn’t donate today and even he seemed surprised but obviously, it is better to err on the safe side.  I know that, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about it.

I am torn right now.  So pleased that I have met and maintained a goal I have been working to reach for awhile, yet really bothered by the fact that  because of it, I cannot do something as simple as donating blood.  I FINALLY get up the courage to do it and I couldn’t.  It has upset me quite a bit.  Probably more than it should, but it has!

I guess what I can do, is promote awareness.  There is a shortage and blood is needed, so if you see a drive in your area, and you are able, please donate.  It could truly save a life.

Has Spring Finally Sprung?

optimist spring

Today the temperature rose above 60 degrees!  After such a miserable winter, you would think it was a holiday the way people were out celebrating the day.  Dave and Drew were finally able to get outside and build the kids’ new basketball net.  Neighbors are gardening, children are riding bikes down the street and dogs are frolicking in the yard!  Yes, frolicking!  Our dog included.  She absolutely hated this winter – maybe even as much as I did!  A few of the storms brought snow deeper than her!

It is the first day that I can look outside my front door and not see any piles of snow.  Windows and doors are open and fresh air is breezing though our home.  This morning, I woke to birds chirping outside of my window.  During Emmy Lou’s morning walk, two skeins of geese flew over our heads honking as they too seemed delighted with the weather.  I saw kids running around in shorts and women wearing flip-flops.  All of us trying to grasp at every bit of this wonderful weather.

I guess we should enjoy it while we can because although I hate to even put it in writing… and my mom would have said to me, “Bite your tongue,” more snow is expected on Monday!