Saturday, January 17, 2009

Co-workers who rock!

Yesterday at school, we had an awards assembly. This is a monthly event where various students are recognized for their achievements, sometimes for writing and other things scholastic, but usually for demonstrating positive character traits in their classroom.

As part of the assembly, there is a rotating award called Making a Difference. This award is for staff. It may be a teacher, janitor, front office, or other person who the previous month's recipient thinks deserves some recognition and thanks.

I inherited the award last month, and this month I passed it along. In doing so, I had to pause and think: What do I value in a co-worker?

1) Pleasant and hard-working.
2) A good sense of humor.
3) Thinks of others! (Helpful)

I mentioned these as I announced the new winner who is indeed a joy to work with. One attribute I didn't mention publicly, but I would add this to my personal list:

4) Is relatively "drama-free." (Life has real drama, fine. But unnecessary drama, urgency, and petty offences are anathema.)

Happily, with this description I could have given this award to almost anyone on staff. It's a great school. It's a great bunch to work with. It makes me glad I work there. And it's really quite simple: Three things to have, one to avoid.

What kind of co-worker are you?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lincoln, the Future, and Psycho-Cybernetics

I recently read a good Lincoln quote: "The best way to predict the future is to create it." I like that. It goes along with what I’ve learned over the past two years regarding how to change your habits.

I believe that “first you form your habits, and then your habits form you.” For example, my eating habits, formed in my youth, helped form my middle aged girth. Oops! Who knew?

What’s a person to do? Lincoln knew: Create a new future!

But how? Here’s what I’ve been doing with great success:

I’ve developed a positive self-image via affirmations.

Self-improvement begins with how you see yourself: now and in the future.

An improved self-image starts with a new goal. But how do you find the right goals?

Use your head and heart to find out what would make you feel good about yourself. That’s what you “need” to learn. That’s a worthwhile goal!

That new worthwhile goal then needs to be re-written as an affirmation. (An affirmation is a goal written with positive words (no nots), with strong feeling words, with a personal pronoun (I), and with present tense verbs.)

Once the affirmation is written, I rehearse the new affirmation by repetition and visualization (image making or directed daydreaming).

I was already was good at visualization and repetition… it’s called worry! Mental rehearsal is simply pre-living a dream (visualization) instead of pre-living a nightmare (worry).

Because I am in charge of my habits.
I set goals, create affirmations, and use them.
I consistently review my affirmations and goals.
I spend time visualizing (image making) my good habits.

And that which was difficult (improvement) becomes easy! My habits are reformed in keeping with my new self-image, and my new and improved habits reform me! Go figure.

Too simple? Too bad.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Money, Prayer, and Burning the Old Year

I'm still not back into the groove of 2008 blogging, and I just may not ever return! In fact, I can't. Not to worry, I'll keep on blogging, but I may miss a day here and there. 2009 is a New Year. The groove of 2008 needs to give way to the new paths of 2009.

Some of my "missing" days are spent perusing other people's blogs and commenting there. That was partially the case this past week. So I've compiled three links and offerings from blogs I've visited lately. Three topics are presented: money, prayer, and the New Year. Read on!

One web-site I visit periodically is the One Minute Writer. There you are given a daily prompt and challenged to spend one of your allotted 1,440 minutes a day writing. One prompt caught my eye. It was simply: "Money. Can it buy happiness?" (I had also recently been challenged to writing cinquains over at Rambles from my chair, so I offered my post in such a poem (2,4,6,8,2 syllables... 5 lines).

A Monetary Cinquain

What can it buy?
Surely not happiness!
But godliness with contentment?
Great gain!

It was interesting to read the responses of others, most of who agreed that money cannot buy happiness. I did find one contrary opinion that was thought provoking, and I spent a bit of time checking out the contributor's blog. (It’s All Good at her blog: Rawan’s Random Thoughts.) She said:

"Money DEFINITELY buys happiness, without a doubt! I don't know to many truly happy people who have no food, shelter, or clean clothes. Now do you need A LOT of money to be happy? No, but to say that you can truly be happy without money is just non-sense! Being with family makes you happy? Well it takes money to travel to where they are (because I don't know to many people who have their ENTIRE family within walking distance.) and you need money for those Christmas dinners and fun vacations and adorable outfits worn in the pictures. Money makes memories a lot of the times."

Besides The One Minute Writer, I sometimes contribute over on a page called Pictures, Poetry, and Prose Here a prompt is offered via a photo and a phrase. The picture below appeared with the prompt, prayer. How could I resist? So I wrote...

Photo by Basir Seerat
visit Basir's photo blog at

Prayer: a conversation held with God, whom we assume cares, listens, and responds.

But just whose prayers does God listen to? Does God care enough to hear this woman's prayer? (She's a foreigner, probably not Christian.)

How big is your God? Have we forgotten this story from Acts...

"At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!"

Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked.

The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God."

God takes note of the prayers and actions of those who make an effort to communicate with him.

How big is God? Big enough for Cornelius. Big enough for the woman in prayer at this door. Big enough for me. Big enough for you.

I thought the piece on prayer was a good one for a Sunday Morning Post.

The final topic is just a link about ringing out the old year and ringing in the new. It was one of several I found helpful. The whole concept of starting fresh has spurred me on towards Spring cleaning in January, both figuratively and literally. (My home and garage are now less cluttered and I have "new" sofas.)

My favorite line from the poem, Burning the Old Year by Naomi Shihab Nye, is "so few things are in stone."

If you don't follow the link, here's a short quote,

"So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone."

Happy New Year!