In the Quietude of the Night (a poem)

In the quietude of the night,
there is peace.

Words assemble in harmony
as I am able to pause.

In this stillness,
I strategize my perpetual struggle
      to deviate from the ordinary
      to find peace of the heart
      to cleanse my soul of fear
and
      to nourish who I am with love.

This night
and every night,
the world waits
for a brighter tomorrow.

6 Insightful Thoughts for Business Minds


Business demands faith, compels earnestness, requires courage, is honestly selfish, is penalizedfor mistakes, and is the essence of life.”
— William Feather
 
"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."
— Albert Einstein

I believe that man will not merely endure, he will prevail. He is immortal not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul.”
— William Faulkner

When a man tells you he got rich through hard work, ask him: Whose?”
— Don Marquis
 
One must become as humble as the dust before he can discover truth.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
 
Instead of loving your enemies, treat your friends a little better.”
— Edgar W. Howe

From Jail to Harvard: Why Teachers Change the World

by Adam Saenz
Author of "The Power of a Teacher"

August has arrived, and you're heading back to the classroom, and all the familiar challenges will meet you there on Day One: curriculum that may not quite fit, parents who engage only to blame, accountability testing, and students who have the potential to do something great, but are spending all their energy on sapping yours. At some point during the next nine or ten months, you'll probably wonder whether your efforts will be valued and whether what you do truly matters.

Let me encourage you. Your efforts are valued, and what you do truly does matter. I'm living proof.

In 1978, I was a sixth-grade Hispanic male from a single parent, low-income home. I had undiagnosed depression and was using street drugs to self-medicate. I had a history of interaction with the legal system, and spent most of my school days walking either to or from the principal's office for behavioral issues. Where there was a boundary to be pushed or a rule to be broken, I pushed and broke. As I became me, I drew an undeniable conclusion: I was grossly inadequate, somehow simply not capable of functioning properly in the world. My wisest option, I further concluded, would be to quit caring.

Three things happened in my sixth grade year that made life particularly difficult. First, two of my friends were murdered in a drug deal. Second, a group of young men broke into my house, held me back, and sexually assaulted my cousin. Third, I was arrested for possession. My life was definitely headed in the wrong direction, and it was picking up speed.

Child Protective Services was never involved with our family, but my mom was desperate to salvage what remained of my childhood. She voluntarily relinquished her guardianship, and I was sent to live with friends of our family in Katy, Texas, several hundred miles away from all I had come to know in the Rio Grande Valley. The change was helpful, at least outwardly. With predictable meals, clothing and emotional support, I managed decent grades and, for the most part, stayed out of trouble. Inwardly, though, I continued to struggle with depression, and the frequency, intensity and duration of my symptoms increased as I approached high school graduation. I knew at age eighteen I would be on my own, and I was terrified.


After high school graduation, just as I feared, the bottom fell out. I had returned to self-medicating with street drugs, scratching out a living as a dishwasher at a fast food restaurant. Everything I owned fit into the bottom half of a hallway closet, and my most valued possession was the box of journals I had been filling since sixth grade. After a particularly long and dark day, I reached for my journal and I noticed the edges of two pieces of paper sticking out of a journal buried in the stack: two letters, one written to me by JoElla Exley, my senior English teacher, and one written to me by Polly McRoberts, my senior Creative Writing teacher. Here are excerpts:

"You are extremely intelligent, but most importantly, you have a good heart. I know you will use your talents to help your fellow man, and that is the most satisfying life a person can have."
--JoElla Exley

"You have wisdom and insight beyond your tender years. Keep being you. You are a special person."
--Polly McRoberts

Good heart? Wisdom and insight? These descriptors -- wholly at odds with my self-assessment -- haunted me. I sat with these letters for weeks and weeks, and I landed on what if? What if they are right about me?

So with no idea about how to pay for it, how I would get there, or how I would manage it with my full time job, I (very secretly, in case it didn't work) enrolled in one college class: Introduction to English. A semester later, I had earned my first college credit! So, I took another class. Then, just before I turned twenty-seven, I graduated with my Bachelors of Arts in English. I continued through graduate school, eventually earning a Ph.D. in psychology and then a D. Min. in pastoral counseling, with clinical training at Harvard Medical School, the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and the University of Oxford. I count it an honor to work now as a consulting psychologist in K-12 public schools.

In a few days you'll stand in front of a group of students and I can almost guarantee that there will be at least one 'Adam Saenz' there, a kid who has potential and doesn't know it, a soul who could change the world a little bit if they could only get the right instruction and encouragement to lift them him out of their false sense of who they believe themselves to be.

Please allow me this opportunity to speak to you on behalf of those students:


"Hello sir. Hello ma'am. Thank you for coming to work today. I don't know where I'll end up when I'm nineteen. I may be earning academic honors at an Ivy League university. I may be serving my country in the military. I may be an employed high school graduate. I may be in jail. I may not even make it to nineteen. Only God knows. Regardless of where I might be and what I might be doing at nineteen, our interaction -- you, the teacher and me, the student -- shapes me.

You need to know that even though this school building sometimes may seem like a zoo to you, in some very important ways this school building can be the safest place on earth for me. You need to know that when you are teaching me, even at your worst, you have the potential to be a better influence on me than much of what (and who) I experience off this campus. And you need to know that when you love me, even at your worst, you have the potential to love me more sincerely and effectively than many people I'm around away from this campus.
 
I take a standardized test once a year that measures some of what you've taught me. Life gives me tests every day that measures all of what you've taught me. So, thank you for teaching me, especially in those moments when every part of my being is communicating that I don't want to be taught by you. And thank you for loving me, especially in those moments when every part of my being is communicating that I don't want to be loved by you.
 
The bottom line is that I need you. I need to know that you care about me. I need to know that I do not make the rules. And I may never be fortunate enough to appreciate and express that -- or even realize that -- but I do hope you are courageous enough never to forget it.
 
Thank you for coming to work today, sir. Thank you for coming to work today, ma'am. Please take care of yourself.
 
Please be well. Please come back tomorrow."



Reprinted from From Jail to Harvard: Why Teachers Change the World by Dr. Adam Saenz with permission from Dr. Adam Saenz.

Dr. Adam Saenz is a clinical psychologist, counselor, speaker, and author of "The Power of a Teacher." To learn more, please visit http://thepowerofateacher.com/

Why I Want My Son to Be Whoever He Wants for Halloween

Halloween has already hit stores and it's still September!  While running errands the other day, I was shocked at how many Halloween costumes and decorations were already for sale.  (There were also Christmas decorations being sold, so I guess Thanksgiving is being skipped over this year.)  My wife and I strolled through looking for outfits that our one year old son could wear.  Like many young parents, we were excited to have our son join in this year's Halloween festivities.

Since he was only a month and a half old last year, our we didn't dress up our son, which is why this year is really exciting.  As we shopped through the aisles, I reminisced about all the Halloweens I dressed up as a kid; now I get to experience it all over again through my "mini-me." 

There was an abundance of various outfits.   For boys/guys of all ages there were Batman, Spiderman, and Ninja Turtle costumes.  In order to be an Avenger; all one had to do was wear the Iron Man face mask or wear the Hulk gloves.  For young toddlers, there were dragon, monkey, lion costumes, and other animal attire.  There was so much selection that the hard part was actually deciding on a Halloween costume for our son.

My wife and I browsed and browsed through the selection.  We even let our son explore what was there.  Since he is only one year old, we made the final decision for him.  We ended up getting him a dragon costume. (It's really adorable, but personally, I think the Ninja Turtle outfit would've been awesome.)   

I want to teach my son that he can be anything he wants to be in life. As young as he is, (and I know it's just his second Halloween) I know that picking what he wears or who he gets to be for Halloween affects how he learns that.  If I had him dress up as a superhero (it's a typical boy thing to wear), I'd teach him, even on a miniscule level, that I want him to be a typical boy and this is how he should be.  In future Halloweens, I want him to be able to choose whichever costume he wants because I want him to be whoever he wants to be; not just for Halloween, but especially in life.

How I Effectively Self-Evaluate My Day with 3 Simple Questions

Every day is full of opportunity to be extraordinary or mediocre.  Each passing day is another chance to fill the blank page of our day with something wonderful written in it.  These three questions help me maximize my potential, happiness, and satisfaction:

1.  "What did I do today?"
What I was able to accomplish is a reflection of my job performance, my work ethic, and my character.  The key for me is knowing how many and what kind of tasks were completed correctly and in a timely manner.  I focus more on being productive rather than on "being busy."  This also applies to my home life just as much as it does to my career.

2.  "How did I help people today?"
I show up to work to not just earn a paycheck, but also to do meaningful work that benefits society.  Since I'm an educator, I often reflect on my students' improvement.  I also think about helping my colleagues, parents, people who email me, anyone who I talk to on the phone, and anyone I interact with.  As a husband and father, this question helps me be the best person I can be for my family.

3.  "How can I make tomorrow better?"
One of my favorite sayings is "make today's ceiling tomorrow's ground floor."  No matter how good or great today was, tomorrow has the potential to be infinitely better.  Tomorrow I will be a better husband for my wife, an improved father for my son, and a finer teacher for my students.  Successful people always the ones that see tomorrow full of hope and optimism.   

A Birthday Wish to My Son

September 20th, 2012

Happy Birthday Baby Boy,

You may not notice it, but today is special.  Exactly one year ago, you came into my life and changed everything for the better.

When you first opened your eyes, I was the first person you met. I was completely in awe (and I still am).  When I first held you in my arms, I told you that you were meant for big things and going to change this world.  I know deep down in my heart this is true; you prove it to me every day.

Watching you grow over the past year has been such a joy.  You've reminded me how to look at life through fresh eyes, not to underestimate you, and that it's important to always remain a child at heart.  It's like every interaction we have is a life lesson for the both of us. 

Every day I try my hardest to be the best role model for you.  I want to teach you to be loving, caring, and understanding.  I want you to dream as high as you can possibly imagine and never give up on your dreams, no matter what.  You inspire me to be a better person every day.

From now on and for the rest of your life, I want you to know that I wish you a lifetime of love, happiness, and peace.  I'm grateful that you are in my life.  I'm blessed beyond words.


Sincerely,

Dad

Quotes that will Put a Smile on Your Face (Guaranteed)

"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate - that's my philosophy."
- Thornton Wilder

"Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds."
- Percy Bysshe Shelley

"Pleasure is the beginning and end of living happily."
- Epicurus

"Happiness is the only good and the way to be happy is to make others so."
- Robert Green Ingersoll

"I celebrate myself, and sing myself."
- Walt Whitman

"Happiness is only real when shared."
- Jon Krakauer

"For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Happiness is in your ability to love others."
- Leo Tolstoy

"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
- Marcel Proust

"Remember this, that very little is needed to make a happy life."
- Marcus Aurelius

"True happiness is an acceptance of life as it is given to us, with its diminishment, mystery, uncontrollability, and all."
- Michael Gellert

"So have I loitered my life away, reading books, looking at pictures, going to plays, hearing, thinking, writing on what pleased me best.  I have wanted only one thing to make me happy, but wanting that, have wanted everything."
- William Hazlitt

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When Saying "Never" is Actually a Good Thing

"Never say never" is any oxymoron that almost everyone has heard before.  (It's not just a Justin Bieber concert movie.)  It's a humorous way to challenge people to think.  The word "never" is a tool, can be used for both good and evil in life.  For instance, a hammer is a tool that can be used to build useful structures or destroy them.  Another example is Facebook; it has positive uses such as networking with friends or marketing a small business and can also be negatively used to waste time or stalk people.  The key is to use these tools wisely, just like the word "never." 

Here are some examples of positive ways to say never:
  • "Never take life for granted."
  • "I'll never give up on my dreams."
  • "No matter what, I'm never going to stop trying."
  • "I will never stop loving my family."
  • "Even though it's hard, I'll never give up because the reward is worth it."
  • "From now on, I'm never going to be selfish, closed minded, or closed hearted."

How Peanut Butter Sandwiches Put Me One Step Closer to Being a Millionaire

After a long and busy morning at work, I had a peanut butter sandwich to look forward to for lunch.  It was made fresh in the morning by yours truly using whole wheat bread (to be as healthy as possible) and super chunky peanut butter.  Along with a piece of fruit (usually an applor or a peach) and a container of yogurt, this has been my menu for the past week.

Believe it or not, I actually like the simplicity of a peanut butter sandwich.  Eaten along with an apple, the flavor combination is astounding.

I used to go out for lunch every day.  A cheeseburger, fries, and drink combo ranged from $4.99 to $8.99 depending on where I went.  Even if I didn't get a burger and went for a burrito or pizza instead, I still paid around that amount.  This daily habit cost $100 to $180 a month.  This changed when I read The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. 

The fact that most of the millionaires in the United States are not people with six figure incomes changed the way I thought about money.  These people lived frugal lifestyles, saved wherever possible, and invested as much as they could.

These millionaires didn't live luxurious lifestyles with mansions, fancy cars, or expensive jewelry; they were content with what they had because that's all they needed.  To them, it was more satisfying to privide their families everything they needed than to have a glamorous house and car to show off.

John "Jack" Bogle, founder of The Vanguard Group, is an icon in the investment world that lives a frugal lifestyle.  When he was CEO of Vanguard (he relinquished his role to John Brennan in 1996), he was known for packing a peanut butter sandwich for lunch.  It fascinates me that someone with that much wealth is that frugal, so my lunch was inspired by him.

As I ate my peanut butter sandwich, I imagined all the money I was saving.  It felt good to think about extra money going into my family's savings account, my son's college fund, and paying off my student loans.  These sandwiches are my daily reminder to be content with what I have and spend money where it really counts.

How I Give My Soul Away

Every day I show up to work with hope.  When I leave to go home, I feel drained.  Not only do I feel physically and emotionally drained, but also spiritually drained.  As the day/week goes by, I can feel myself losing momentum.  Keeping myself motivated until Friday is my weekly challenge.

I am a high school English teacher.  I do hard work that needs to be done.  Society needs teachers to equip everyone with the necessary skills to live productive lives.  In order for the U.S. economy to improve, more people need to have higher skills to thrive in an evolving global climate. 

It's a career filled with complicated politics and various frustrations.  Even though about half of my students are good, every day I deal with students who have emotional issues, low self confidence and/or self esteem, and have academic skills well below their grade level.  For these students, their futures aren't optimistic; working to change this is tiring.

Caring is tiring.  The more I care, the more tired I get.  The more I want my students to succeed, the more effort I put in to my lesson plans, execution of the lesson, and the daily interactions with my students.  My hope is that at the end of the day, my students leave the classroom better people.  Hopefully they learned more about English Language Arts and how it relates to the world around them.  Maybe they absorbed some of my wisdom (I try my best to be a role model for them).  If they did, it would make leaving the work day physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained totally worth it. 

Every day I give my best for my students so that they can take a piece home with them.

Where Our Hearts Are


 
 
 

Where is your heart at? Is it at home, with family and friends, or simply doing what you love? Share it with us. Send us a picture showing/saying "This is where my heart is" in any way, shape, or form to nourishmentnotes@gmail.com  
 

Want Instant Happiness? Check Out These Quotes

Everyone deserves a little extra happiness in their day.  Happiness makes our souls smile.  Here are some wise words to ponder about and put a smile on your face:

"Happiness lies in the fulfilment of the spirit through the body."
- Cyril Connolly

"We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

"Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can't."
- Aldous Huxley

"Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone."
- E.W. Wilcox

"The mind is its own place, and in itself can make heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."
- John Milton

"True joy is the nearest which we have of heaven, it is the treasure of the soul, and therefore should be laid in a safe place, and nothing in this world is safe to place it in."
- John Donne

Where Does Your Heart Lie?



Where does your heart lie?  Is it at home, with family and friends, or simply doing what you love?  Share it with us.  Send us a picture showing/saying "This is where my heart is" in any way, shape, or form to nourishmentnotes@gmail.com 

Pictures will be proudly published here at Nourishment Notes.

I Don't Know Where We're Going (but yet I do)

a poem by Ethan Bleu, guest poet

Down the long road
Up & along, down & around
We've always driven on solid ground.

We've hit potholes, spills, & thrills.
We've gone around & back
I don't know where we're going
but I know you're not going.
And neither am I.

No matter what,
We'll always drive.
Every road trip
is how I feel alive.

It's about what's ahead, not behind.
Rest stops, pit stops, & the carpool lane
driving with no destination in mind.

Thanks for smiling
all the times we got lost.
The ride's always been good,
it's been always as it should.

Now in separate cars,
Me on the left,
You on the right.
Even in detours,
I know we'll be alright.

This journey's been shared
between me and you.
I don't know where we're going,
but yet I do.

Having a Bad Day? Try This.

Yesterday I felt like the world conspired against me.  Nothing seemed to go right.  Tragedy after tragedy occurred right after each other.  On top of that, I was physically and emotionally drained from a busy work day.

I go to great lengths to ensure that I don't take my frustrations out on other people, so I usually bottle it until I find a safe and healthy way of releasing it.  So I took out a pad of paper and wrote out of my frustrations. 

On paper, I just let it all out.  It was as if this paper was my psychologist and punching bag rolled into one.  I didn't think about punctuation, spelling, or any type editing.  I wrote out every little piece of frustration and anger that plagued my soul knowing that no one would be reading it. 

After 30 minutes and two pages of venting, I felt better; A WHOLE LOT BETTER. 

Then I ripped out all of my frustrations from the notepad, crumpled it up, and threw it away.  It symbolized putting all the negativity behind me.

Now I have blank pad of paper, just like I have a fresh start today.

Rewind (a poem)



My memories,
look back and smile.
See a reflection of me.
Great times of what was meant to be.
 
Just think back
and I'm there.
Past friends long unseen
and places not forgotten
alive in the spirit of me.
 
Time makes me hold on
so much tighter,
but still look to a path
guaranteed so much brighter.

10 Easy Ways to Encourage Those Around You


By Maria Cowell, guest author
Today, Sept 12, is the National Day of Encouragement. If you don’t believe me, then I encourage you to go check it out on a calendar, Facebook, or the internet.
Mostly likely, you will have to go verify this holiday since there wasn’t much hoopla leading up to it. I am sure you did not see any Sunday newspaper ads proclaiming, “Come on in for our HUGE National Day of Encouragement Sales Event where you can save 50% off everything in stock!”
Nope, I think I missed that sale too.
So, if the mega retailers didn’t create this holiday to drive up sales, then who did?
A bunch of kids, that’s who!
In 2007, Harding University in Arkansas hosted a teen leadership retreat. The teens who attended pinpointed discouragement as a real problem for American youth.  Instead of throwing their hands up in despair, they took action. They created a National Day of Encouragement to rally young and old from all walks of life and ethnicities. That eventually led to a fantastic documentary in 2010, “7 Days Across America:What’s Right With the American Teenager” narrated by celebrity Jeff Foxworthy. It featured teens from across the nation volunteering worldwide and in their local communities. The young people supported projects such as delivering clean water in developing countries, teaching seniors how to use computers and providing shoes for kids in Africa. There are now over 33 states which have recognized the National Day of Encouragement and there is even an official website: www.letsencourage.com
But we can’t all travel to Africa or start a community project. Here are 10 some simple and practical ways we can participate today and encourage those around us:
  • Ask someone today how their week is going and really mean it. Take the time to listen to their answer and respond accordingly.
  • Follow up on something they have shared before. Is their mom in the hospital? Find out how she is doing. People are genuinely surprised when we remember what they shared and take the time to follow up.
  • Offer genuine praise, not empty flattery.
  • Give them a gift card just because, not for a “special” reason.
  • Send a card or note telling them you appreciate something they have done for you  at work or home
  • Be specific with offers to help. Instead of saying, “Let me know if I can help you in anyway,” try, “Can I photocopy those for you since you are under a tight deadline?”
  • Bring Starbucks in to work and treat the staff
  • Babysit their kids for free
  • Pet sit when they go on vacation.  Or pick up their mail and newspapers if they need it.
  • Take time for a face-to-face conversation instead of a Facebook chat or text.
I am going to celebrate by taking a friend for coffee, having a good old-fashion sit-down conversation to find out what is going on in her life. Let me know how your Day of Encouragement goes!
 
Maria Cowell is a marketing professional at a private K-12 school in Los Angeles, and a former reporter and editor for newspapers in LA and Glendale. Follow her musings, meddlings and moments at http://hipmamamedia.com

3 Ways Life is like Going Through a Car Wash

Believe it or not, going through a drive-thru car wash really is a great way to reflect on life.  I didn't realize it until this morning when I took my dust encrusted black sports car in.  (In case you didn't know, it's really easy to see dust on a black car.)  While waiting in line from the driver's seat, it hit me that this (just like a box of chocolates) is a lot like life.

There is a Process to Everything
Going through the car wash, my car was sprayed with about seven different chemicals, was scrubbed by a large rotating chamois, and dried with three large blowers.  Even though technology has changed how cars are washed, the fundamental process hasn't changed: pre-rinse, lather, rinse, and dry. 

It's pretty similar with everything outside the car wash (there are some minor exceptions).  In order to get into a good college, people need good grades in high school.  In order to win sports tournaments, athletes need to train hard and practice often.  To accomplish any goal, people must put in the time and effort to achieve it.

Some processes are easier than others.  Some are shorter, more rigorous, or more stressful.  For example, there are many routes to becoming a successful entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurs can have an  MBA, have only a bachelor's degree (possibly not even in business), or a high school dropout.  They all can be successful to different degrees.  The more we understand the different processes in life, the more able we are to negotiate through them.

It Pays to Make Smart Choices
There were three car wash options to choose from: the Economy Wash $7, Regular Wash $9, and the Ultimate Wash $10.  The higher end options included polish, wax, color protecting coating, and wheel scrubbing on top of the Economy Wash.  I used to only get the Economy Wash, but that really didn't get my car clean.  It looked like someone tried to clean my car with a wet paper towel.  Most of the dust was off, but there was still a thin layer of dirt.  The last two times I decided to go on a limb and get the Ultimate Wash.  Even though it was $3 more expensive it did get my car clean.

99% of the time, we get what we pay for.  Buying a product at a cheap price usually means it has cheap quality.  As I get older and more experienced, I've become more of an advocate for buying quality and make it last as long as possible.  I've found that this method saves me money in the long run.   

Everything Needs to be Maintained
I'm proud that my car is ten years old and is still running strong like it's brand new.  It has over 214,000 miles on it and I wonder how long it'll keep going.  In order to make my car last as long as possible, I get its oil changed every 5,000 miles, bring it to a mechanic for regular maintenance, and replace parts when they wear down.

Life is not something that has a "one time fix" and everything is perfect after that; it must be constantly managed.  EVERYTHING in life must be managed and maintained.  In order to have a nice house, it must be regularly cleaned and all its appliances must be fixed whenever it breaks down.  To live a long and healthy life, we must eat healthy, exercise regularly, and regularly visit the doctor.  Our relationships with our significant others, family, and friends thrive on love and care.

Just like life, I know that my car isn't going to last forever.  I'm going to sit back, make every mile count, and enjoy the adventure.

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How Sneaky is My 11 Month Old Kid?

In my eyes, my 11 month old son is a genius. I'm sure that every parent thinks that their child is smarter than average, but I know I'm right (my parental instinct says so). 
He is already verbalizing; he can say "mama" and "dad." When he says, "Dad dad dad, dadadad?" while holding a book he means, "Can you read this to me?"  He also has an understanding of vocabulary words such as moon, book, and (arguably most important) no. 
Like many children his age, he has a strong emotional attachment to his parents.  He loves doing everything with his mom and me.  When one of us is absent, he cries in hopes to tug at our emotional heart-strings and get my wife or me to appear. 

One of my most heartbreaking memories was when I was leaving for work in the morning.  My son was awake and playing in the living room.  After I kissed my wife and him goodbye I walked out the front door.  As I was closing it, I saw my son realize I was leaving, cried loudly in heartbreak, and crawled as fast as he could to the door in a desperate attempt to keep me home.  It was tough closing the door on him, but I had to go to work (it's kind of important to get the bills paid).

Now one of his favorite toys are my keys.  Sure, it's a makeshift rattle, but I suspect he might have a subversive strategy in mind.  He loves to grab my keys, shake it like a musical instrument, and bring it with him all over the house.  Once in a while my keys go "missing" and I have to play an Easter egg hunt in my living room.  My son could be sneakier than he looks. 

This might be his way attempting to keep me at home and away from work.  It's clever and sweet, yet misguided gesture; or he could simply be a kid who likes to play with shiny metal objects that jingle and I'm reading too much into this.

What do you think?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Waiting for Tomorrow (a poem)

 
This was another day.
What more can I say?

I can remember tomorrow
and I will remind myself daily.

I will look as far as I can see.
I will walk as far as I can step.

I can only be where I am
and will only be where I am.

What more can I do?

Refresh (a poem)

Now not later
I'll live the day.
I'll feel the sunlight.
I'll experience air.
I'll smile with assurance
and walk without insurance.
I'll be a better me today.

Bored and Broke? The Ultimate Reason to Visit the Library

A couple days ago I took my son to our local public library to check out some children's books.  Since he loves books (flipping through them and being read to), I often take him there to explore, play around, and borrow books to devour at home.

I've loved the library since I was a kid.  I first went there on a first grade field trip.  I was in awe of everything that was there.  I couldn't believe that we could use everything there for free and actually bring their books home (also for free).

During my elementary years, my dad would take me to the library after school to do my homework once in a while.  If I was good and finished all my homework, he would let me browse and pick out a book that he would happily check out for me.  I must say these experiences helped instill in me a love of literature and a sense of awe of how much information is out there in the world. 

Thinking back on my last visit, the library really is an amazing place.  It's like a free bookstore that helps me reduce my clutter at home since I have to return the books.  Also, since there is a deadline (about two weeks) to return whatever I borrow, it pressures me to read and finish books in a timely manner. 

Libraries certainly have changed since I was in first grade.  It has modernized with technology (computers have replaced card catalogs online databases are replacing microfiche).  It has become more of community resource centers than a place just to rent used books.  Here is the main reason to visit your local public library: FREE SERVICES.

Besides renting books for free, there are a multitude of services that might be available at your local library (hours and services vary in different areas).  Many libraries have free after school tutoring, free computer labs, story time theater for kids, information on public services, and community events.  On hot summer days it's a relaxing place to cool off.  It's a quiet and peaceful place to study, lounge, and do some leisure reading.

In this economic recession, free is good. 

Take Two (a poem)

This time it'll all be different,
not like the last time.
I've learned from before,
and look back at what's in store.
Now is all about living more.

Today's Recipe (a poem)

Today I'm alive
more than yesterday.
Today I'll love
more than I did yesterday.
And I swear I'll give
much more than I gave yesterday.
And today, I'll be
more than I was yesterday.

How I'm Going to "Retire" Tomorrow

Tomorrow I think I'm going to start my retirement.  Instead of waiting 35+ years to retire, tomorrow sounds way better.

In the United States, the popular idea is to work hard for 30 years, save plenty of money, and then finally relax for the rest of our lives.  It's the time to not work, travel around the world, and really enjoy life.  The reality is (especially due to the Great Recession) that people need to work for about 40+ years, live very frugally, and hopefully be able to retire with a somewhat comfortable lifestyle.

Why wait so long to enjoy life and all the wonderful things in it?  When I show up to work tomorrow, everything will be different.  I am going to work like I'm already retired.  I am going to make the conscious choice to enjoy what I do every day.  Warren Buffett, the 82 year old current CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and one of the richest people in the world, considers himself successful because he does what he loves to the point where work doesn't feel like "work."  According to him, "Success is really doing what you love and doing it well. It's as simple as that. Really getting to do what you love to do everyday - that's really the ultimate luxury…"

I am one of the lucky people in the world who get to do what I love to do every day (teach).  The more I realize it, the closer I am to presently living and working in retirement.