Challenges as Opportunities

Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 11.58.09 PMIn the midst of this year’s Slice of Life Challenge, I happened to come upon an article, 4 Benefits of Facing Challenges, that said when facing challenges, one should consider that challenges are really opportunities.  Challenges “call for creativity, make you stronger, keep you humble, and amplify your achievements.”  To me, the Slice of Life Challenge was just that.

What an incredible opportunity I experienced the last 31 days.  This year I had:

  • 595 ‘total views’ averaging 22 views a post
  • 142 ‘total comments’ averaging 5 comments a post

I am not confident as a writer, so I find posting late at night much ‘safer.’  However, I did catch myself always wondering if my posts were being read.  I surprised myself when I felt a sense of excitement any time my ‘Recent Views’ exceeded 10.  There were even a few times when my ‘Recent View’ numbers went beyond 20.  I actually blushed on the few instances that my numbers surpassed 30.

Reflecting about my posts this past month, I can say for certain that I have definitely grown as a writer.  Although it continues to take me time to get started each night, I find that once I get started, most of the time I can Just Write; I no longer get caught in the cycle of deleting, re-writing, and deleting quite as much.  As the month went on, I even began to experiment with incorporating dialogue into my writing.

My Heart is so Heavy earned 67 Recent Views.  I wrote this slice literally in the moment of learning that a good friend passed away.  I posted the slice on my friend’s Facebook timeline, which explains why there were so many views.  Perhaps my slice brought comfort to Terry’s family and friends.

12 people commented on How About a Little Math?!   I was ‘stuck’ for an idea, so I wrote something that was safe for me; MATH.  The comments were interesting and hopefully even gave fellow slicers a challenge opportunity!

Writing If You Give a Mom a Sponge really helped me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry.

I struggled to write Just Press Talk and Stage 5? because the reality of being the caregiver for my best friend who lives each minute of every day battling Alzheimers is becoming more and more of a burden each day.  I desperately want to go back to the days when we were just friends.

I tried to make light of an embarrassing moment by slicing Sometimes Layers are Just Not Enough.  As horrified as I am thinking of my airplane behavior, at least I know that I wrote a pretty humorous Slice of Life and may have even made a few readers laugh.

I find myself re-reading Play Ball, A Playdate with Marshall, The Cabinet on 17 Hillside Avenue, and Two Bites simply because they bring me joy.

Avoiding the Reflection and Childhood Cut Short were two of the most challenging pieces that I wrote this year.  Actually writing the slice was not at all a challenge.  However, once I hit publish and the slice went public,  I was exhausted mentally and physically.

I turned to fellow slicers for inspiration; what an awesome writing community.  What an incredible opportunity for me.

Until next year, I’m off!

 

 

 

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Tomorrow is Another Day

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 9.53.16 PMShopping makes . . . 

. . . a mean-spirited comment seem just a little better; at least temporarily.

. . . the loss of a softball game feel like a tie.

. . . getting overlooked seem like a gain of two hours.

. . . a mountain of homework feel like it can be easily accomplished.  

. . . expectations that are so high actually seem attainable.

. . . it possible to put those hormonal fluctuations in check.

. . . replaces feelings of sadness with feelings of joy.

at least for my teenage daughter. 

 

 

 

 

Finding My Balance

Screen Shot 2019-03-29 at 4.48.45 PMSince January, I have been focusing on my one word, 

B.A.L.A.N.C.E.

 It has been incredibly challenging; actually impossible.  Every day, I am trying to balance ‘me’ with so many other responsibilities and obligations . . . work, family, caregiving, friends, career aspirations, to name a few.  

“It’s up to me to find my happy balance,” is the mantra I repeat many times throughout my day.  Unfortunately, I’m not so good at living this mantra.

  • I try so hard to prioritize my work tasks; determining tasks of greatest importance.
  • I structure my time at work and home, keeping a very detailed, possibly even obsessive, calendar.
  • I try to make use of the weekend to catch up and recharge.
  • I try to work smarter, not harder.

This afternoon, as I was trying to ‘fit one more thing’ into my already scheduled day, I am proud to say that I actually lived up to my mantra.  Knowing that I had a date with my husband, I remembered my balance.  I took the time to actually go home, take a mental break, and post my slice rather than fitting in that one more responsibility. 

Slice of Life, you helped me find my happy balance . . . at least for today. 

Play Ball

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“Well I love that dirty water; Oh, Boston, you’re my home!”  

 

 

So begins another season where names like . . .

Sale

Benintendi                                

Mookie

Devers                                                                 

Martinez

Bogaerts                                                           

Nunez

Travis                                              

Bradley

Vazquez

are spoken as if they are all members of my family.  

For the next six months, I will wake each morning to my husband and children hashing out each and every play of the previous night’s game.  The pronoun ‘we’ will be used in every conversation as if each individual member of my family had something to do with the game, win or lose.  

Perhaps 2019 will be the year that Garrett will get to add his initials to the Pesky Pole or Eliza might get to touch the green monster for good luck.  Or maybe Zachary will indulge in too many Fenway Franks.  What I know for certain is that whether or not we are rooting for the Sox at Fenway Park or from our living room, we will definitely be belting out the lyrics to Sweet Caroline at the bottom of the eighth!  

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The Pre·nup·tial

Screen Shot 2019-03-27 at 10.47.47 PMI don’t pump gas.

 He doesn’t do laundry.

I don’t deal with vomit.

He doesn’t change diapers.

I don’t shovel snow.

He doesn’t clean bathrooms.

I don’t pay bills.

He doesn’t deal with the mail.

I don’t go grocery shopping.

He doesn’t plan meals. 

I don’t help with Math homework.

He doesn’t do English homework.

I don’t do ‘on time.’

He doesn’t do late.

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A Night of Music

Screen Shot 2019-03-26 at 9.35.00 PMStudents from three different communities, three different schools, three different directors, gathered together to perform in a Tri-Town Band Festival. As the performers warmed up and tuned their instruments, they each played individually; sounds so separate, sounds so distinct.    Brass…percussion…woodwind…all separate sounds that when played together formed intricate rhythms and beautiful melodies.

To all the elementary music teachers, thank you for instilling a love and appreciation for the art. Having attended so many elementary band performances, never would I have imagined that in such a short time, these same students would produce such masterpieces.  To the three band directors tonight, bravo! What you have helped these students produce is powerful.  Thank you for teaching our students about discipline, dedication, responsibility, and the value of hard work.  

 

Unplugged and Present

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I went about this past weekend, being sure to remain present in the moment and enjoy the little time that I would have visiting my freshman son at college.  While being present doesn’t sound challenging, for me, it is nearly impossible.  

I made a conscious effort to stay ‘unplugged,’ at least during the time my son and I were together.  For me, this meant not checking my personal OR work email accounts, not answering my phone unless it was a call from one of my children (who remained at home) or a repeat ’emergency’ call from my one of my siblings, as well as not checking any of my social media accounts.  Interestingly, I realized early into the challenge that I had to add not checking to see if I had any ‘comments’ to my Slice of Life.  

I am embarrassed to admit that I caught myself countless times, going in for  the push of the ‘home’ button, tapping the app, and making the scroll.  I had no idea how natural this has become . . . This realization is quite disturbing to me!  

Being unplugged was quite a challenge for me and I am proud to say that not only did I do it, but it felt GREAT!  For 42 hours I was present for my son and I was present for me.  

Who knows what next weekend will bring!