My life by the seasons

I love the seasons. I love everything about the seasons. I love the idea that time ebbs and flows, back and forth, that not every moment is like every other… that life has a rhythm, a cycle.

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.  ~Stanley Horowitz

picture-book.com

picture-book.com

This is what I’ve discovered…

Winter is for contemplation and rest

 In winter, your focus should be on yourself. This is the end of a year and the beginning of a new one. Now is the perfect time to do a self inventory. Find out where you are, where you want to go, and how you want to get there. Love on yourself. Get some much deserved rest and prepare yourself for the year ahead.

 Spring is for new beginnings and creation

 In spring, your focus should be on new challenges. This is the time when your creative juices are their strongest. Take your cue from nature and create something. Take risks, be bold, and go way outside you’re comfort zone. Take all that energy that you stored up in winter and send it out into the world. This is the time of change and new beginnings.

 Summer is for adventure and leisure

 In summer, your focus should be on keeping the momentum going that you started in the spring. Now is the time to “up the ante” so to speak. Nature is exploding with life and energy and you should be too. But summer is also a time to spend time enjoying life. Find something that you love doing and spending time with it everyday. Even better, take your hobby (whatever it is) outdoors. Soak up the sun, breathe the fresh air, and enjoy yourself.

 Autumn is for family and harvest

 In autumn, your focus should be on reaping the bounty that you have sown. Complete the task that you have been working towards all year. Harvest all that you have sown. This is also a time to focus on family. Bring all the energy that has been out in the world working to attain your goal back towards home base. Nothing can be achieved without a strong base. Soak up love, joy, peace and share it with those closest to you.

There is a reason God did not make everyday sunny and 70. There is a need in life for ups and downs, times for creation and times for contemplation. Life is meant to have rain and sunshine. Life is meant to be lived by the seasons.

Love!

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The Art of Making Friends

I have a confession.

I am terrible at making friends. or keeping them for that matter.

But it’s not all my fault, I swear. I’m in my early twenties, but don’t like to stay out late or go to bars or clubs. I don’t wear the latest fashions (I much prefer to be comfortable then “on trend”). I don’t like crowds. Plus, I have very specific interests; and don’t like spending time on activities I don’t like. So needless to say, there are very few girls my age, that share my interests, that I could actually befriend.

Now a lot of what I have described above is due to my low level Asperger’s. I know I’ve never discussed it here before because it’s not a major factor in my life. I don’t like to dwell on it too much; but it is a big part of the reason I have trouble making friends. Those with Asperger’s have lower levels of social skills, don’t like being put in unknown circumstances, and can get overwhelmed by too much stimuli. I have a huge distaste for small talk, I need to know exactly what will be happening when I enter a social situation, and I do a million times better one on one then in a crowd. Have I said I hate crowds… cause I really do. 🙂

That said, I really like the idea of being a people person. I’ve always wanted to be able to go out on a Friday night to a crowded restaurant with a huge group of friends, loud music, and be…ok. I want to be the type of person that has gobs of friends and can carry on a conversation at any time with anyone (and to like it).

But as it is, I have a handful of friends; and to be honest, I’m a pretty terrible friend. I love spending time one on one with them (if it’s previously planned); but I don’t do well with spontaneity. If a friend calls up just to talk, I have to be “in the mood”. I can get drained very quickly from social interactions, and really need to be “in the right place at the right time”- if you know what I mean.

And it really feels like I am the only person who deals with this. I know it’s not true, but it feels like it.

thebump.com

thebump.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I’ve taken it upon myself to figure this whole friend thing out. I want to know how to make friends and to keep them.

One of the ways I’ve thought to make friends is to join a Meetup group. Meetup is a website where you can create a club of any type and make it available to any other meetup members in your area to join. It’s actually really neat. I thought perhaps that if I join a group of people who share my interests it would give me an easy way to start a conversation and to get to know someone.

So I joined a choir. I have a very long musical background (I come from a musical family), but it’s been a long time since I have had an outlet to sing. I’m pretty excited about it. They meet March-June and Sept-Dec. I can’t wait for it to start.

I also thought about joining a book club. I am a voracious reader and thought that would be a great fit too. But I couldn’t find any book club that met at a day or time I could make; plus a lot of them read books that just didn’t interest me;  so-

I Started My Own Book Club!

I’m really nervous. So far, 7 people have joined and signed up for the meeting at the end of the month. That’s a lot of people for me. But, I figure I’ll have the discussion to focus on; so that’s something. And I was able to give the club a focus that really interested me; children’s literature. I’m excited to meet people who love reading kid’s books as much as I do… but…it’s new people. Ah scary! 🙂

Any tips?

New is frightening. Change is hard. Adjusting is difficult.

But

New is necessary. Change is not an option, and adjusting is the only way to deal with.

So cheers to new years, new opportunities, and (hopefully) new friends.

Love!

What I have learned from a year with a child

As a nanny (or parent, or caregiver of any type), I’m always thinking about what knowledge I can impart upon Little Miss and Baby Miss. My brain is always attempting to use each moment to teach them something; be it education, spiritual, a life lesson, etc. But after reflecting on this past year, I must say, and I know it’s a bit clique; I think I learned more from them then they have from me. Children have a way on making everything simpler and more concrete. Through their eyes, one can really see a world full of wonder, curiosity, daily challenges, and fun. I wanted to share with you the top 5 lessons that I have learned this year.

1. Sometimes all you need is a nap.

As adults, we are expected to constantly be doing something. Our society praises people that stay up late to finish a report, miss dinner to go to a meeting, and spend their weekends catching up, or running errands. All that busy work can cause us to be (obviously) tired, cranky, and unproductive. Instead, I say, let’s do as the “babes” do. After lunch, when we all tend to get sleepy anyways, let’s take 45 minutes to close our eyes, count some sheep, and give our bodies and minds a much needed rest. And you know what? Studies have actually shown that those that take a mid-afternoon siesta are more productive, feel more refreshed, and are actually smarter. Check it out here!

2. Being silly is ok, and actually necessary

I don’t know what it is about being an adult and being on automatic serious mode, but I hate it. Sometimes all I want to do is blow bubbles in my chocolate milk, jump on the bed, and make a huge mess with finger paints. And you know what I’ve discovered? Being silly is ok. In fact, it’s good. I’ll take Baby Miss to a music class and all the other grownups are being so serious, but when I allow myself to sing and dance along, I and Baby Miss enjoy ourselves so much more. Who cares what other’s think? Who cares if I look dumb, or immature, or unsophisticated? Fun is good. Silly is good. Laughter is good. In fact, laughter has been shown to relieve stress, increase immunity, decrease pain, strengthen relationships and so much more. So go ahead, read the comics in the newspaper, watch funny Youtube videos, and join your kids when they are pretending to be a rock band. Be silly. You’ll thank me for it.

3. Go outside

Has anyone ever noticed that kids tend to crave time outside? It doesn’t matter what the weather is or the time of day; when given the opportunity kids love the outdoors. And yet, when you become an adult, it’s all you can do to get a few minutes during your lunch break to soak up some sun. Why is that? Is it that we have forgotten how great it is to be surrounded by nature. Have we just not given the outdoors it’s dues? In fact, many studies have shown the positive affects that nature can have on us; including but not limited to reducing anxiety and depression, better sleep quality, and immunity. So be more kid-like; take a recess, walk your dog, spend lunch outside, play touch football with friends at a local park; anything, just get outside. It’s good for you! 🙂

4. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full

You know the old saying, “Clean your plate!”; well it’s wrong, and it’s time we stopped it right here and right now. It’s so funny how old sayings like that can come out of you so automatically. Both Little Miss and Baby Miss are huge “grazers”. They eat a few bites, want to play, a half hour later, come back to eat more. It used to bug me to no end; but I’ve come to peace with it. In fact, I’ve decided it’s a great way to eat for myself. I always feel such guilt at leaving food on my plate that I usually just plow through it; but if I slow down and take a moment, I realize that there really is no reason to feel guilty. In fact, I should feel proud for listening to my body. As adults we get so out of sync with our bodies that sometimes it’s hard to tell when we really are hunger, or full, or just perhaps bored. If we eat like a child, we spend more time enjoying the food and in turn have an easier time listening to what our body is telling us.

5. Enjoy each other.

If there is one thing that I could say my years with children has taught me, it would be that what children crave most often is time with their parents. Most of a child’s learning actually comes from unstructured time spent with family members. When they are surrounded by family, they feel secure, loved, trusting, and have a higher self-esteem. That connection goes the same for us; when we are surrounded by family and friends that love us we are better able to handle the stresses and complications that life brings. Just like children, when we have strong relationships with others we feel more secure, loved, trusting, and have a greater self-esteem. But, and that’s a strong but, that does not mean just connecting with people of Facebook, through email, or even over the phone. That means face to face connections. Make family dinners a priority. Join a book club. Meet up with friends once a month for dinner. Spend time with others, and enjoy their company.

Have any other lessons that your kids have taught you? I’d love to hear about them.

Love!

PS. If you’re in my area (Northern CA) I’ve started a children’s literature book club through Meetup. Email me if you’re interested. 🙂