Thursday, July 30, 2015

What Animals Scare You?

Random writing prompt: What animals scare you and why?
Hmmm... The first thing that comes to mind are jellyfish. But really the fear is any type of water that I can't see clearly in. But I'll try to keep this simple and stick to animals or else I'll start going on and on about fearing the unknown.
So. Jellyfish, because who enjoys being stung by a jellyfish? And crabs, and sea urchins, and sharks, and all of those creatures who could hurt me when I step onto their front porch!
And tics (do they count as an animal?)! Those little S.O.B.s scare me because you never know they're on you until they have their tiny little heads embedded in your body, sucking your blood and replacing it with Lyme disease!
There are other animals that I would fear if I were put in a position to be afraid, but there aren't any I can think of that I wouldn't approach at a safe distance, in a safe environment if given the opportunity. Hell, I love picking up horseshoe crabs for my son to admire when my family goes to the bay, but throw me in the water with one and I have a mini panic attack until I'm a safe distance away. So I guess it really does go back to the water and not the animals themselves, per say... throw me in the water, without a boat, and I'm helpless. It could be a freshwater lake and I will still be positive that I'm going to be eaten alive by some bottom dwelling monster. But stick me in a boat out at sea and I will HOPE Jaws swims by for me to catch a glimpse of!
I've already approached snakes without a second thought so I could grab a photo, and just last week I rescued a snapping turtle from certain death. But again, wouldn't want to be in the water with one!
I'd love to go on a safari and see lions and hippos (who kill way more people every year than sharks do!), take a boat through the Everglades and see alligators and crocodiles... But surprise! Wouldn't want to knock on their front door without a boat!
I remember swimming in a slate quarry with friends as a teenager and I absolutely panicked as soon as I jumped in (which took me a very long time to do). I couldnt see the bottom and certainly couldn't touch bottom without diving gear and oxygen. Chances of me being attacked by a sea creature there were... well, impossible. But I couldn't see. Peace out, cub scout! That was the last time I ever swam in a quarry.
I do continue to venture to the beach on occasion, but usually we just make a quick splash for a few minutes or so before spending the day at the bay, where I can see through the water more easily and worry much less about getting stung or pinched or eaten!
Well, I guess I didn't really stick to animals since I kept coming back to deep, dark and murky waters, but that's what I'm truly scared of, I suppose! So, what animals scare you and why? Or, if you're like me, what animal habitat scares you?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Learned to Give Not Because I Have Much...

"I learned to give not because I have much, but because I know exactly how it feels to have nothing."
I saw this quote earlier today and haven't stopped thinking about it since. I have always felt the desire to give and I always feel badly when I can not, whether it be a birthday gift or a charity contribution. Maybe it's cliché and I'm sure some will find it hard to believe, but I truly enjoy giving more than receiving. When I am unable to give, I feel as if something has been taken away from me.
I know this isn't true for everyone, but it has been my experience that those who have less tend to give more often than those who have plenty. I have seen a man with empty pockets give the shirt off his back to another man simply because he liked the shirt. I have also seen a very wealthy woman tell a less fortunate, yet trustworthy, woman that she didn't have money to lend until the end of the month.
This isn't to say that every poor man is generous and every wealthy man is greedy, because that certainly isn't the case. But I have seen more people who have less give more easily than those who have plenty. Perhaps it is because those who have little know what it's like to struggle. Or maybe some are afraid to give too much because they too know what it's like to have little and have a fear of losing what they have earned.
Everyone reacts to situations differently. While some children of child abusers grow up to become role model parents, others follow the same path their parents were on and abuse their children, as well, while others still are afraid to have children at all for fear of failing.
In the end, I believe that everyone should help one another whenever they are able. Personally, I ask God on a daily basis to give me the opportunity to bless others. I want to help those in need in some way, not because I want something in return, but because I know what it's like to struggle. I know that even the smallest gesture can make someone's struggles a little easier and if I'm able to do that for one person, I believe that's a wonderful thing.
...and that leads me to a couple other ideas that will be brewing until next time!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Things Our Children Teach Us

Tonight I had the pleasure of watching my five year old son, Sebastian, surprise himself at a board breaking seminar. He broke his first board with a heel stomp on the first try after I was worried that he hadn't practiced enough (one time and he was ready!). This gave him the boost of confidence I was worried he wouldn't have.
My husband held the second board for Sebastian to break with the palm of his hand. This time, Sebastian pulled his arm back, but slowed and only tapped the board. We didn't have to say anything else. He pulled his arm back again and sent his palm straight through the center of the board.
The look on his face was priceless and I was so happy for him in that moment because I knew how excited he was. He looked at his palm, still in a position to strike, and then at his father with astonishment. His smile lit up the entire room and I was so proud of him. Not for breaking a board, but for having the confidence and the focus to do something that he had never done before.
My son is only five years old and I already admire him for his confidence, which I always lacked as a child (okay, I still do...). There were so many things I wanted to do, but I was always too nervous and afraid for fear that people might look at me and see me fail. I don't want that for my son or for any of my children.
For me to see my son have the confidence in himself to succeed in front of others (practically strangers he has only ever stood next to 10 or 11 times), without being afraid of those people seeing him fail... That is something I am so proud of.
I watch Sebastian at karate three or four nights a week as he stands in front of his peers and their parents, all of us facing a giant mirror. If I were a five year old walking into that room for the first time, I would tell my mom I couldn't do it and chances are I wouldn't even try. Hell, even gym class made me nervous--Every. Single. Class.
But here is my son, yelling "Yes, sir!" and following instructions with so much enthusiasm. He has even volunteered to help his instructor show the class their drills, twice so far! I was so proud of him when he raised his hand and walked up in front of everyone, I sent text messages to my friends and relatives because I couldn't contain my excitement.
But of course, I am nervous for him. When he got in line to break his third board, which would be held up by two concrete blocks, all I could think was, "What if he punches the block?" Yes, it was possible. But it wasn't likely! I just suffer from an annoying thing called anxiety and my thoughts run wild without my approval. Anyway, my goal is to not allow my children to know that I'm nervous for them because I don't want them to think that I don't have faith in them. I just don't want them to lose confidence in themselves if they don't succeed the first time they try.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Just. Keep. Writing.

I want to write, but I'm having a little bit of writer's block. I have ideas, but I start and then I get stuck after a paragraph or two. So I'm just going to write like I did in my creative writing course, as I believe I have done here in the past. I give myself a time limit (we'll go with five minutes this time) and I just keep writing without stopping. Even if I can't think of anything to write about. The goal is to just keep writing and not worrying about the content or the spelling or the grammar. Which is hard for me because I want to go back and fix every mistake as soon as I make it (like right now... I just hit the "$" key three times after "it" and had to delete it every single time before I could move on).
I find this method of writing great for a couple of reasons. First, it simply gets me writing. It may not be that interesting,  but it gets me going, and I usually do end up in an interesting place. And that's the second reason.
It opens up my mind and causes me to end up in a place I hadn't necessarily thought about because I'm just not over thinking things. And, I never know where I'm going to stop, I just stop when the time has passed. And it has.
But to finish up, if you're having writers block or if you simply want to start journaling, I highly recommend this method. Set a timer, grab a pencil and a notebook (much better than typing in this case) and just write without stopping until the timer runs out. Don't lift your pencil and whatever you do, don't use your eraser. Just. Keep. Writing. It's good for you!
PS: sorry if there are mistakes!! I'm sure my mom will have no problem pointing them out...

Friday, July 24, 2015

Love One Another...

Five United States servicemen were murdered at a naval center on American soil. A man went on a shooting spree in a movie theater and killed innocent people before taking his own life. A woman was taken to jail after a simple traffic stop and is now rumored to have hanged herself, while others say she appears to be dead in her mugshot.
I don't know about everyone else, but I'm feeling a little anxious. Uneasy. Scared.  This is America. Sure, there have always been murders and disappearances and threats of war and racial conflicts. There are always going to be people who do things that the rest of us just don't understand. But what the hell is going on? What is happening in this world, this country that we live in? And is it just me, or does it seem like nothing is being done about these acts of murder and terrorism and violence?
I thank God every day that I wasn't born in a place stricken with constant war and disease and famine. A place where you have to be afraid to leave your home for fear that you might be blown up by a bomb.
But now I'm really worried.
Our servicemen are being murdered on our very own soil, outside of war zones. People are being killed by the masses at movie theaters and churches. Our law enforcement officials are being questioned on a regular basis because fingers are being pointed at them for breaking the law themselves.
And everyone is being lumped together in groups who are all turning on one another.
So who can we trust? And where are we safe? Can we actually allow our children to leave our side? To go to school? To go to the movies even when we're right there with them?
We can't live in fear, or "they" win, whoever "they" may be; mass murderers, terrorists, whomever. But what do you do?
Today, I picked my children up after I left work and I hugged and kissed them, and told them I love them so much. My husband, my mother, my closest friend. I simply said, "I love you."
Because I think all we can do is love one another and spend time with the people we care about. Hug them a little tighter. Hold them a little longer. Because this world is a scary and uncertain place. Let's just hope and pray that our children are able to see it differently. Let's be the change they need for a better and brighter future.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Work is a Rubber Ball...

I need to write. I miss it. I love it. I just have so much to do that I rarely take time for myself... to do what I really love. To write. To read a book. To do absolutely nothing more than watch my children play. Yes, children.
Since my last post more than a year ago, I had a second little boy, Noah, and I am expecting our third child--a girl!--November 2nd. So between a full time job, a crazy five year old, a needy nine month old, prenatal appointments and just life in general, sometimes (okay, most of the time), it's hard to find time for me. So here I am, squeezing in a super quick lunch break (I have 10 minutes left!) to take some time to do something that I love.
And I have to thank my friend, Joelene, simply for mentioning that her daughter needs to write because she does it so well and she always leaves Joelene wanting to read more. And I thought, my mom used to always tell me that. That I needed to write because I'm good at it. "You can make people cry," she'd say. But I have always been one of those people who can inspire and encourage and motivate every one else except for myself. I just seem to lack confidence. And, while I try to be positive and optimistic, I also try to be realistic.
I would love to spend all of my time on my family and my writing and the things I love with all my heart. But writing this blog isn't going to pay my bills. So, I end up putting my job first and, a lot of times, my family and my joys second. Because we have to be adults and manage our responsibilities. But I always think of a book I read a few years ago by James Patterson, Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas. One part in particular stood out.
Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you're keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls...are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.
So, while work is important, is it more important than everything else? On that note... I must get back to work...