Daily “Yes” & A Winner

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What is your “Daily Yes”?  What are the things you say “yes” to each and every day?  Getting up?  Squeezing in a workout?  Coffee?  Work?  Mascara?  Toys from the dollar bins at Target?  Just {{ONE}} more volunteer commitment?  Sitting down with the paper?  Skipping breakfast?  Watching reality tv in the evening?  Putting off bedtime to accomplish one more task?

I am a constant list writer, finding paper lists as one of my daily yeses.  It may house basic mundane tasks, but somedays, without it written down, it just doesn’t get done.  Today’s list included 8 cards I need to finish up and mail.  But…I sat down to lunch first.  Made a hot cup of PG tips tea.  Read the morning paper and did the Suduko.  Put Drew in front of a DVD from the church library.

Lately, as with many new year’s in the recent past, there is a new influx of requests and commitments.  Classes to sign up for.  Events to add to the calendar and plan.  Getting back into the swing of school and work.  And the pressure to do it all.  The conundrum of the urgent vs. the important.

The holidays took a toll on my students and it is palpable.  Divorces are being finalized.  Terminal Illness worsens.  Transiency has lead to some eminent moves.  And as we reflected back on 2014 and are working to set goals for 2015, it has felt a little raw and painful in my classroom.  Change is hard.  Seeing ourselves for who we really are isn’t always full of sparkles and glitter and confetti.

I keep bumping my own head up against the wall of “shoulds”.  I SHOULD say yes to this-or-that commitment.  I SHOULD wash and put away the dishes vs. sitting down and reading the paper.  I SHOULD be planning weeks in advance for school and writing detailed lesson goals.  I SHOULD be doing something…..ANYTHING…but sitting and watching tv.  SHOULD.  SHOULD.  SHOULD.

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But this week, I sunk into my book that was coming due at the library and found I have a lot more time in my schedule for reading than I seem to think.  My eldest needs to read each day for homework and we have settled into a rhythm of doing that together, side-by-side on the couch while youngest fights bedtime elsewhere.

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Last weekend, on our anniversary, nonetheless, we decided to embrace the crazy plan of heading to Portland to the Oregon Zoo for Zoo Lights on Saturday, our 11th anniversary.  We had plans in Bend but those were cancelled due to illness. Then booked dinner for a fancy place in Albany. We cancelled those in order to take advantage of the last weekend of Zoo Lights. Drove all the way to Portland and “marked time” at Powell’s Books and had a fun dinner at Tilt. New book purchases made our dining a bit more calm and manageable as the kids were occupied. And then the fated drive over to the zoo. Evidently all of Portland had the same idea. Scratch that, all of Oregon. Finally after 45 minutes of stop and go, parking lot mayhem, we decided just to get out of dodge and go home. I was fuming inside. Feeling angry with myself for not knowing what would unfold there ahead of time. For not planning better. Drove home in silence while the kids watched Lion King for the millionth time. About 10 min from home our eldest piped up that it was so much better to be almost home vs almost into zoo lights at 7pm.

I laughed at the resiliency of kids knowing standing in long lines is not their strong suit. That being home was much better. Got the kids to bed and watched a riveting episode of Railroad Alaska (slightly snarky tone) and went to bed exhausted at 9:15. And that was anniversary #11. But this quote from DREW’s book tied it all up in my mind. So so true….”adventure is best enjoyed together.” I am sure we will look back in this and laugh at the “11th Anniversary Adventure.” 

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Sometimes the SHOULDS (Zoo Lights) really are too much.  The SHOULDS should be left alone.

The book I’m currently reading (pictured at the top), The Best Yes, focuses not just on saying “yes” or “no”, but thinking about the BEST “yes”.  And really, most of the time, the best yes involves people.  Saying yes to what puts people first, not commitments and events and shoulds.

Luckily the night after the Portland debacle, we still had a wonderful, kid-free night out for dinner.  And saying no to dishes, laundry, the to-do list for a few minutes has been allowing me to recharge.  I am not sure if it’s the foggy layer that has socked in the Willamette Valley this week, but for me?  I am feeling this same need to focus in and stay put and present.  My best yes has been staying more in the moment at hand and not allowing guilt to take over.

Today this mentality allowed me to watch one of my lowest readers light up when he realized he could read an Elephant and Piggie book by the amazing Mo Willems.  As a 3rd grader, reading 10 words per minute, it can be a very painful reality to have so much text thrown at you and feel unable to understand it.  But he GOT Elephant and Piggie and was breakdancing (literally) after reading it cover to cover with expression.

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So today’s yes is pushing me to let the moments at hand take precedence.  To take in the red and yellow ninjas, read that extra chapter, struggle through the suduko, play a few extra minutes at the park and let the “shoulds” go.

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Back on the 30th, I posted a little giveaway for a copy of Kathi Lipp’s new book, Clutter Free.  And the winner has been chosen via “True Random Number Generator”.  Whitney Hillestad?  Your book will be on it’s way soon…and in the meantime, PURGE PURGE PURGE!

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