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Today, as I was taking a walk to close my “exercise ring” on my Apple watch, a word popped into my thoughts. I had been lip-singing a song recorded by Gabby Barrett entitled “Got Me”. You should check it out! Regardless, as I walked and “sang”, INSPIRATION popped into my head. Perhaps it was because I often wonder what inspired a singer to pick a song or to write a song. Who knows… I just know the word popped into my thoughts and tookover the rest of my ponderings.

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To begin with, I thought about a handful of people who have told me in the past weeks/months that I have inspired them. For several, it’s because I’ve started sharing a daily post about my workout in my “turning 50 goal” of becoming healthy. A couple of friends have shared how my morning posts or evening post inspire them to have positive thoughts in a world that tends to be negative. Others have shared how my FB posts bring Light in the dark world of social media and inspired them to ponder what they post. Still another is a girl in my class this year who was also in my 3rd grade class last year. Her mother shared how my writing of children’s books has inspired her to want to become an author. Finding out you inspire others motivates you. It encourages you to keep walking or spending time at the gym. It urges you to make time to share some positive quotes before you go to work. It reminds you to offer a positive thought before bed. And…it urges you to continue to pursue your dream of writing and publishing books.

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Understanding how much knowing I inspire others made me smile and urges me forward, I realized I needed to take time to write about people who inspire me. I could write about Maya Angelou who inspires me to put my thoughts into poetry or countless recording artists (Steven Curtis Chapman, Chris Tomlin, Lauren Daigle, Kelly Clarkson) who inspire me to attempt to write lyrics or to sing with joy. However, I figure they get plenty of people telling them they’re an inspiration. So…I thought…who inspires me? (If you’re not included, that doesn’t mean you don’t inspire me. It simply means that no one wants to read a post that goes on and on and on. For that reason, I’m just picking a handful.)

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As a Christian woman, I’m inspired by Shirley. She’s a senior saint at my church who is one of the most faithful prayer warriors and servants of Christ that I’ve met. A lot of people venture out of active ministry when they reach “great grandma’ age, but not Shirley. I kid you not…she and her daughter lead an hour of preschool/kindergarten Bible study time each month. She’s active in our senior adult ministry, and in the world before Covid…she worked with our women’s ministry including a ministry to the ladies’ prison. I hope my commitment to serve never wanes. I pray that I will become a prayer warrior as devoted as she is. So Shirley, you are an inspiration.

My pastor, Mike Hamby, inspires me weekly through his messages. When I end up missing one in a series due to serving in children’s ministry, he’ll send me the manuscript, so I can read it for myself. Thanks, Pastor Mike, for the spiritual challenges and inspiration.

As a musician, I’m inspired by Jennifer and her father John. Why? Well, lots of reasons. I’ve always been known for a big voice in choir, but mine pales when compared to the strength of hers. Where I sing melody (unless I can beat a harmony line into my brain), she can harmonize with whatever song is in the praise service. I would LOVE to be able to simply hear a melody and know how to harmonize. When I try, I confess, I often sound like an off-key goose, but alas…I try. Then, she can play the piano and/or keyboard. I would love to play the piano, but I don’t think I have the focus to complete the task. Then, her father….he plays the bass. He didn’t always play the bass, but he learned it…and now he uses it to bring God glory. I play the flute….at least I did back in the mid-80s. To be honest, it’s been over 30 years since I used that for God’s glory. In fact, the last time I picked up my flute to attempt to play a song…there were high notes that I didn’t even recall the correct fingering for anymore. Alas, Jennifer & John, thank you for being a musical inspiration.

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As a teacher, I’m currently inspired by my friend Melissa, but in the past…I was inspired by Mr. Stoner, Mr Duggan, and my friend Mary. Each …for their own separate reason. Melissa inspires me by her classroom management and focus. Her students know exactly what she expects. I can’t recall a day where I’ve witnessed the least bit of chaos in her classroom. Now, if you are a teacher or work in a school, you know chaos happens here and there. I’m guessing it happened at some point, but I’ve never seen it. Then, Mary was “the other side of my brain” for many years. We taught 3rd grade together for over ten years. She challenged me to be “more”. More loving to my students, more focused on my lesson planning and differentiating, and more…organized. Still working on the last part, but the kiddos I have this year who were also in my final 3rd grade class assure me that my corner “is a lot better” than it was last year (haha).

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Mr. Stoner was my 6th grade teacher, and he inspired me to bring music into my classroom and to share my personal life (as in cats and family). Mr. Duggan, on the other hand, inspired my use of humor. I mean, “the math fairy” often visited our high school math class, and if humor works in high school…then it’s a definite win in elementary school. Plus, he defused a possible humiliating incident for me by the use of humor and a redirect. I still remember explaining a problem I worked on the board and instead of saying “sixty” it came out “sexy”. Rather than letting my face turn redder as the laughter was directed my way, he rerouted the arrow by saying, “I’ve ALWAYS found math sexy too, Miss Pflaumer.” So, to Melissa, Mary, Mr. Stoner, and Mr. Duggan, thank you for the inspiration

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As a friend, the list is endless, so I’ll mention the acts without mentioning the names for fear of missing one. There are the friends who drove out of their way to unlock my car when I locked the keys inside and delivered the car to my house. There’s the friend who brought a homemade meal to my door on the afternoon HillTopper died suddenly. There’s the friend who works me into her salon schedule because she knows my schedule and makes the cut or highlights happen. There’s the friend who bought a LONG purple iPhone charging cord just because it’s purple and she knew I’d like it. There’s the friend who nicknamed me “Sunshine” and gave me a hug after I had been to too many funerals over just a few weeks. There’s the friends who edit my books because they believe in my dream…one of whom doesn’t even like to read, but she reads it faithfully to help me correct errors. There’s the friend who was in front of me in McDonald’s drive-thru and paid for my breakfast to brighten my day. There’s the friend who buys me a Diet Dr. Pepper when she runs out on her lunch break just for a little pick-me-up. There’s the friend who made me a hot chocolate when I didn’t take my mug down because she knew my students want me to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate regardless of the outside temperature. There’s the waitress who brings me a LARGE to-go water for breakfast on Saturdays because she knows I sweat a lot on Saturdays when working out and try to drink adequate water. There’s the friend who always schedules lunch out with me on my breaks from school, so I can experience a lunch that takes longer than 30 minutes. There are the several people who bring me tomatoes over the summer because EVERYONE knows I’m a mater-lovin’-girl. There’s the friend who write me a sweet note and actually mails it to me to let me know that I matter and make a difference. Not to mention the dozens of friends who buy copies of my children’s books for their kids, grandkids, or themselves to support my dream. All of these and SO many more inspire me to be a more present, more thoughtful, and more selfless friend. Thank you, ladies and gents, for all you do to inspire me.

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As a single lady, Aunt Eva has been my inspiration. In actuality, she was my great aunt. Why does she inspire me though she died countless years ago? I’m glad you asked. She loved her family. She loved God. She was full of joy! As much as I’d love to meet and marry a man who loves God, I know that may not be in my journey. If singleness is my lifelong path, then I pray I will be like Aunt Eva. If my nephew, or great nephew or great niece somewhere down the road, can utter those same things about me when my journey here is over, then what a great testimony!

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My parents commitment to each other inspires me to hold that same commitment to marriage should it ever be a part of my journey. My sister’s devotion to her family and to live with MS joyfully inspires me to emulate those same virtues in my own life. My oldest sister’s commitment to keep being a student reminds me that I’m never finished learning even though I’m a teacher. My brother-in-law has shoveled out my car when plows block it in…even after working a full day at work inspiring me to never be too tired to help family. My nephew and his girlfriend are the ones who initially inspired my “Get Healthy” goal when they came back to Indiana in May. Thank you, sweet family, for all the ways you inspire me.

Finally, my students. They inspire me daily. They inspire me to be creative, be engaging, be entertaining, be the best “Ms. Pflaumer” I can possibly be. To each of you, thanks for the inspiration.

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I encourage you to tell those who inspire you that they do. I also urge you to examine yourself and see how you can be an inspiration to others. I mean, if an overweight single lady can inspire people, then I’m certain you can too!

Oh, my felines inspire me too. How? They inspire me to …. take a nap! Sounds like a great plan!

Pondering of a Perspiring Pedestrian

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Yep, I’m a big fan of alliteration. Anyway, this morning, I walked in the Run the Falls 5k sponsored by King’s Daughters’ Hospital. My sister is in their IT department and asked me several weeks ago if I was interested in walking. We had walked in it back in 2017, I think, so I figured…let’s go for it.

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So, I had two goals:
1. Don’t finish last.
2. Finish in less time than I did the first time I walked in it. (Over 55 minutes)

Due to modifications for Covid-19, they didn’t start us with a “bang”, but rather we were to line up by our “usual mile pace.” This made me laugh. I don’t have a usual mile pace. All depends on where I am, who I’m with, and what transpired earlier in the day. Since I walk at a slower pace than my sister, I opted to start behind her several feet. In fact, I figured I’d be over 15 minutes per mile, so I started near the back. However, the perk of their modifications is the shoe tag recorded our individual start time.

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Now, a couple years ago, I received a surprisingly generous gift from parents of a girl in my 3rd grade classroom. I had her older sister in my class for part of the year a few years prior. Anyway, at the beginning of 2018, they blessed me with a “thank you” gift of an Apple Watch. I used it a bit, but not as much as I could’ve due to it draining the battery on my old iPhone 5s. This summer, I finally upgraded my phone. Several weeks ago, I ran across this sweet token of appreciation and after a few Google searches, I was able to disconnect it from my iPhone 5 and sync it to iPhone SE. So, I was able to start my “outdoor walk” tracker as I crossed the line.

I figured….that might help me make “goal 2”. I estimated if I kept my miles at 18.25 or less….that I could beat my time from the previous walk, I’m gonna be honest….the first mile and last mile were challenging. It seemed as soon as I walked down & up a hill then another hill was looming ahead. Those two miles…were over 18 minutes each, but the middle mile…it was the least challenging, and I think I finished that one in under 17. Whoop! Whoop!

As I walk, I pondered….I prayed….I appreciated….and I encouraged.

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I pondered why I hadn’t thought to either drink some juice or eat something for breakfast before walking over 3 miles. I wondered why my exercise water bottle was so cumbersome to carry while attempting to pick up my pace. I contemplated whether I should just toss it to someone working the walk and ask them to keep it for me until I finished the event. Note to self: If they don’t provide water along the route due to safety precautions, just chug some water in the morning and drink more when it’s finished. I’m not doing that again. Well, unless it’s really hot…then staying upright will be more important that my pace.

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I prayed, first, that I wouldn’t get lightheaded and keel over. That would be so embarrassing! I prayed for my family, friends, and my future. When you’re walking solo, even when you’re attempting to walk quickly…you can always send up prayers to the One who walks with you every step of your journey.

I appreciated the fact that this year’s route was an “up & back” path. Why? Before I even hit the 1 mile marker, runners AND a speed walker were passing me in the opposite direction. Those who knew me shouted out words of encouragement. “You got this, Jodi.” “Keep going!” “Good job.” This same encouragement was shared from church family, colleagues, high school classmates, parents of students who attend the school where I work, and….total strangers. Encouragement was also cheered from the KDH workers. As they saw me huffing and puffing (those hills made ‘smart breathing’ quite challenging), they kept urging me to keep going and reminding me that “you’ve got this”. Thanks, Encouragers, you made the 5K so much more positive having a cheering section as I went.

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I also encouraged. As those church family, friends, & colleagues passed, I’d shout out a “Run, __, Run” or a “Go __”. I figured if cheers helped me then they’d do them likewise…even if their time wasn’t needing the boost. Then, as I rounded the cone and headed back on the last half, I saw a few people whom I had passed. I was able to shout out a “keep going”, “you’ve got this”, and “you can do it” to them as well. I knew those words spurred me on, so I wanted to offer the same to those behind me as well.

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As I walked, I’d fix my eyes on a walker ahead of me and tell myself, “you can pass him/her, just keep focused.” I passed one. I passed another. Then, I passed a pair. After the pair of walkers (who were talking the entire time, so it wasn’t like they were trying to beat a previous time or anything, but it still felt good to pass them.) Next, I focused on one of KDH’s new doctors and the female he was walking with…who was walking her dog. At times, I’d get chuckled…because here I was panting and gasping, and there they were…casually strolling through the park with a dog. He’s carrying a beverage and their dog took a few potty breaks. I kid you not, at one point when the dog lifted his leg, I laughed out loud and thought, “I should write a post and title it “The Male in Front of Me Peed!”. I mean, that title would get more hits than this one.

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When I neared the end, my sister, Sherry, came back out and walked the rest of the way with me, cheering me on, and giving me coaching advice. As I neared the finish line and 55-minutes was close at hand, she told me “pump your arms”, “quicken your pace”. I, in turn assured her, that “I can’t go faster”, “I’m light-headed”, “I’m not going to make it.” To which she countered, “yes you will…it’s just around the the curve….straight ahead….you’ve got this”.

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She was right. I did make it. I beat my time. I wasn’t last. And….thanks to the couple & dog stopping a second or the dog wandering a bit…I even passed them a few steps prior to the timing mat. As I walked through the chute, someone took the strip from my number. Then, a high school student volunteering kneeled to cut off my chip, as I called out to my sister. I was right. I was lightheaded….and my legs started shaking…and the park started spinning. Thankfully, it’s the KDH 5K, so there was assistance immediately as I sipped from that cumbersome water bottle. We figured I needed some sugar or nutrients. Sherry asked if I wanted to walk out to get something, but with my legs still wobbly, we decided…nope. I leaned against the bumper of a vehicle, the KDH EMT stayed with me, and Sherry returned with a banana. After a couple bites of banana and a few more sips of water, we ventured out to the award ceremony.

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My sister, even with a knee that is no longer cooperative and a foot that wasn’t a team-player, received the 3rd place medal for our age group. (Yes, we’re both in the 50-59 age group now). The 3rd place medalist in my previous age group beat my time by over six minutes. However, the one that made me chuckle to myself was the first place overall walker. Why? Remember when I said both runners and a walker passed me before I hit the 1-mile marker? Well, that walker…FINISHED the whole 5K in less time than it took me to walk my first mile. I was impressed, and I laughed. I didn’t laugh at myself, as I was proud of myself for meeting both goals. I laughed because…WOW! I mean, I don’t think I ever want to walk that fast. I think I would share my nephew’s perspective, “If you’re going to walk that fast, you might as well run.” Good job, Fast Walker, I was quite impressed!

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So….the conclusion of my ponderings today have these lessons or precepts for you to consider.

  1. Encourage those you appreciate and appreciate those who encourage you.
  2. Keep your eyes focused on your goal, but don’t be so focused that you can’t find a reason to smile or chuckle along the journey.
  3. There is always ALWAYS something (or someone) to be thankful for.
  4. Celebrate your successes.
  5. Be impressed by the accomplishments of others, but don’t let them take away the pride you have in your own.
  6. Eat or drink something before you walk in a 5K. Ha!

Paranoia Peril

Be honest. I’m not the only person who has taken her temperature more in the past six months than in the past couple of decades. I’m sure others do a “smell test” to ensure their sense of smell & taste are still functioning. Covid has triggered illness paranoia in myself, and I’m guessing others.

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So…yesterday, when I started moving around at school, I noticed my allergy-induced sinus-pressure was throwing my equilibrium off. Then, I noticed I was chilling more than normal (as in the hallways in our school tend to be on the COLD side, so since Covid guidelines mandate keeping our doors open for circulation purposes….it enters my room). Between those two observations, I ventured to the nurse for a temp check. 98.1. Yep, it’s just allergies/sinuses/cold hallways.

We had a good day in 404, and my chills ended. By my prep to ensure all was still well, I ventured back to the nurse. 97.8. Yep, it’s just my Covid-paranoia.

A student stayed after school until 4:30 to work on assignments that he had fallen behind on due to struggles with focus. He rocked it. As I drove home, I didn’t turn the cool vent or the AC on …the heated car felt good. What? That’s odd.

Took my temp at home, and it was over 99….no biggie. By dinner, it was over 100. An hour later, it was over 101. Not good. Requested a substitute, notified administrators, modified lesson plans, sent messages to 4th grade team & inclusion co-teacher. Mom called to check and offered to bring me food or drink today. Went to bed at 9 wondering if I’d need to see a doctor or get a Covid test when I awakened.

In the midst of the sleeping hours, I was suddenly sweating. Yep. Fever broke. Then, I was still in bed at 6:40 when a colleague texted to check on me and ask whether he needed to do anything for my classroom or sub. As I lay there contemplating the day, I thought about all I should accomplish while I’m home today since I was certain my temp would be normal.

Got out of bed, made some breakfast, started a sink of dishes that I didn’t wash last night, took my temp. Under 100.

As I started up GoGuardian to interact with my students and checked Facebook, a couple of statements came back into my mind.

Mom: “If you don’t take time to rest, you’re going to wear yourself out.”
She’s said this for years anytime I’m busy. I realized with my new routine of exercising 5 days a week, my resting hours of an evening have decreased and my no-alarm-Saturdays are gone. Hmmm, maybe this whole thing is my body telling me…STOP….REST.

Krista: (paraphrase) “Maybe all the new changes to your lifestyle haven’t fully been accepted by your physical body yet?”

Hmmm…I can’t remember the last time I stayed in bed past 6:30. Perhaps, my body is saying…”Give me a break, give me a break, break me off a piece…” Nope, wrong song. Perhaps it just needs to be recharged? So, my brief thought of starting my “fall cleaning” with this day off since my fever has subsided will be replaced with a day of napping, reading, and being wallered by my felines. They are much happier than anyone that I’m off today. Let the recharging begin!

Learning to Be Me: Laugh!

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A few years ago, one of my girls looked at me during lunch and said, “Ms. Pflaumer, you laugh more than any teacher in the world!” I asked her if that was a bad thing. She assured me it was a good thing and added, “I’ve just never known anyone that laughs as much as you do!”

It’s true. I laugh daily. If I don’t laugh in my classroom, I most likely laugh at home thanks to my entertaining feline roommates. I laugh.

Do you laugh? As I’m learning who I truly am supposed to be, I’m certainly holding true to the value of daily laughter. I encourage you to do likewise.

You see, laughter is said to be good for your health. I’m not making that help…LAUGHING is good for you! As I was preparing to write my thoughts on this aspect of myself, I did a bit of searching online. Feel free to check out the articles I found on Help Guide and Mayo Clinic websites.

The first article shares how a good strong bout of laughter lessens stress, triggers the release of endorphins, and increases immune cells & infection-fighting antibodies. In the world of Covid-19 with flu season approaching, why not give yourself a daily dose of laughter? Find a funny friend on social media and follow their posts. Find a daily joke site and sign up for their joke-of-the-day messages. Or, just look for the humor of the day. It’s not hard if you’re looking for it. I mean, I was driving behind 3 white pickups last Thursday on my way to the gym and started chuckling because I found it funny. I laughed out loud when I turned left and the first vehicle coming out of the entrance was a white truck. I found it humorous, so I chuckled.

With my get-healthy-over-50 goal, I especially am a fan of the fact that a good round of 10-15 minutes of laughter can burn 40 calories. Obviously to get this perk, it would take more than white vehicles…or even a joke of the day. However, there are plenty of shows or movies you could watch to give yourself a good round of laughter. Perhaps there’s a comedian you enjoy that you could find on YouTube? Give it a try. The laughter will do you good!

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The second article shares how laughter stimulates circulation and helps muscle relaxation. The next time you find yourself tense from stress or your workload, grab the comics from the paper or read a kids book that’s been written with the purpose of causing laughter. I read kids book daily as a teacher and often times I find myself laughing just as quickly as my third or fourth graders. Plus, I’m sure this won’t shock you, but laughter aids in mood management. Laughter can lessen a down mood or anxious mindset. Laughter is powerful.

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Last week, a new student joined my classroom for part of each day. She makes my heart smile. She has a laugh that is genuine and contagious. While I’m reading aloud, I tend to be a “bit” dramatic and animated. She gets tickled and starts laughing. Her laugh is never a little giggle, but it’s always a belly laugh. I try to tune it out in order to finish the book, but I admit…sometimes, I can’t. I have no choice but to laugh with her. The same happens each day before we exit the room and head to the bus. I say or do something that makes her laugh, and her laugh infects me…and I laugh too. So, if laughter is missing from your daily routine, find a friend who laughs. Then, join him/her laughing.

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Alas, some people need more encouragement with this aspect of life than others. A friend of mine is often in a down mood during and after work. When he’d leave work, I’d ask how his day was and his response was almost always grumpy and negative. So, being Jodi…I would try to redirect his mindset. I’d ask him something positive about his day and generally, he could only say he was leaving work. Then, I’d go to my other weapon…laughter. I’d find a meme or a joke that I though would bring a little grin and send it his way. Sometimes it would work, and other times he refused to allow it to have power over his life-stinks view. But…at least I tried. What about you? Do you have a storm-cloud in your life that could use a bit of laughter? Make it your mission to sprinkle chuckles into his/her day. Let the benefit of humor and laughter have a go at overcoming the grumpiness and stress. It might just work!

Jodi’s Tips to Bring More Laughter into Your Life…

  1. Laugh at yourself.
  2. Find the humor in bad situations instead of reasons to moan.
  3. Write down jokes or humorous stories that make you laugh, so you can enjoy them again later.
  4. Not good at making jokes? Find a joke book at your local bookstore.
  5. Checkout TV shows that make you laugh. [You may need to go back a few years or decades to find ones that are clean enough to share with your children or family.]
  6. Buy a DVD (or download) a show of a comedian you like. If they’re good enough, the same material can make you laugh each time you watch it (just like sitcoms).
  7. Spend time with friends and /or family who laugh. Laughter is contagious.
  8. Know what’s funny, and NEVER laugh at someone else’s expense.
  9. Don’t hold back your laughter; let it roll. (Unless you’re at a funeral….or wedding….or in court.)
  10. Don’t go a day without laughing at least once.
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Grimace or Grin? The Choice Is Yours!

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I had planned to write a different post which I started yesterday. Alas, the events of the day bumped it to later, so I could share these thoughts from my day. You see…I had a choice to make today. Would I grimace or would I grin? That was the question.

Let me explain…

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Last night, around 1:30, I awakened, as many middle-aged people do, for a mid-night restroom visit. As I walked through the house, I noticed a dull throb in the back of my head. Not good. As I ventured back to bed, I uttered a hope that it would simply disappear by the time the radio began to play in three more hours. No such luck. If anything, the dull throb had developed into a throbbing ache.

“Don’t fret, Jodi, you know what to do. Grab some migraine meds before you leave and by the time your kiddos arrive…it will be lessened.”

As I reached for the bottle, I realized…EMPTY!! Not good. I grabbed a sad substitute to take with me in case I didn’t find any in my desk. So, as I left my house…it was with a “woe-is-me” perspective on the day. But then….

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I ordered a breakfast sandwich and Diet Dr. Pepper from McDonald’s. I pulled up to the drive-through window and Ruth said, “The man in the previous car paid for yours.” The grimace was replaced with a grin. How sweet! When I arrived to my room, I learned that a parent of one of my previous students had been in the car. When she noticed it was me, she & her husband paid for my breakfast. A drop added to my bucket…. The grin grew.

Derrick, our daytime custodian, told me if I didn’t find any migraine medicine to let him know, and he had some Excedrin I could try. The grin grew.

Krista, our assistant principal, told me who she was certain would have migraine pills on hand, and sure enough Brittany came to the rescue. She came by my room before her first class to ensure I could battle the raging headache. The grin grew.

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As the school day began, I asked my class to try to keep our volume and restroom breaks a bit quieter because of my headache. I mentioned how the light above me was “killing me” currently due to the medicine not kicking in yet. They said, “Just turn it off, Ms. Pflaumer, we can just have the other light on.” I was uncertain that would be sufficient, and one of my girls replied on behalf of the class, “Of course it will, if it will help you feel better.” My heart smiled….

Alas, I finished my carrots on Wednesday and my grape tomatoes were finished yesterday for my lunches. That meant…I only had a small dish of cottage cheese and applesauce for today. Laura, the special ed teacher who co-teaches my inclusion classroom suggested, “I could order our lunch from Jendy’s and run and get it while you take the kids to the cafeteria to pick up their lunches.” Yum! A ham and cheese sandwich was a great addition to my cottage cheese meal. My grin grew…

My lesson plans were formulated by around 5, then I was off to my sister’s to share dinner and watch a movie. We laughed and visited while watching Pitch Perfect 2. My grin grew…

Now, I’m home. My cats are napping on or near me. As soon as this posts, I will be getting ready to head to bed to read a couple chapters of my book.

My headache started coming back a bit this evening, but it’s nowhere as sharp as this morning. I hope it’s gone by 5:30 when the radio starts to play. If not…I will have a choice to make. Will I grimace and grouch….or will I grin and look for the kindnesses and blessings? I pray it will be like today….and I will celebrate the day rather than wallering in gray clouds of gloom.

What about you? Will you grin or grimace in the midst of circumstances? I hope you find reasons to grin. If you need one, send me a message, and I’ll be glad to send some positive thoughts your way.

Learning to Be Me: Encourage!

One would think by the age of 50, I would know who I am. However, what I’ve learned during months of self-analysis is that I often times seem to be who others expect me to be. Always trying to be the people-pleaser. Accepted by others. Gaining my worth from the approval of others. I find myself on a new journey of self-discovery….just trying to learn to be me.

So, as I’ve pondered, I’ve decided to save quotes that help identify myself as the person I truly am. I also continue to delve deeper into my thinking in order to better understand who I am…who I was created to be. Today’s post is focused on the part of me I try to use to help others see their worth.

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I shared my personal motto from college in my previous post. This morning, as I was sweating profusely on the elliptical at Planet Fitness, Fox News shared that today was National Encouragement Day. Who knew? Did you? I mean, I never knew encouragement had its own holiday!

Anyway, as I was spending an hour burning calories, I had plenty of time to ponder the power of encouragement. Over the past few months, I’ve received a lot of encouragement. Each comment, note, or message made me smile…spurred me on. With each memory, I uttered a prayer of thanksgiving for the one who took the time to encourage me, whether it was verbally, via FB messenger, Class Dojo, or email.

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God is so good about placing encouragers in my path when they are most needed. Whether it’s the library employee encouraging my exercise posts, my pastor encouraging my ministry to children, a student’s parent expressing appreciation for communication, FB friends cheering me on as I try to exercise more consistently, students spurring me on to create more parodies, a student reminding me to use my hand sanitizer, or my sister & nephew holding me accountable to living healthier….they EACH were an encouragement.

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Then, as I pondered writing a post today, I thought about when I was more mindful of writing encouragement to others. It seems I’ve allowed busyness to sidetrack a personal ministry that I started decades ago. I’ve said I’m going to restart it, but sadly the follow-through has been lacking. Perhaps, a National Day of Encouragement is the perfect time to make a plan to reactivate it in action and not just word? Yes, I try to be an encouragement on Facebook, but I think I’m overdue to make it a more personal ministry again. What about you?

Who have you encouraged lately? Who has encouraged you? As my college motto proclaims, maybe it’s time for you to turn it around. Perhaps, you could take a moment to send a text, email, social media message to that person and let them know that their encouragement made a difference. What do you say? Are you up for the challenge? Perhaps you can use this “national holiday” as the perfect excuse to encourage someone else? It’s not hard; it just takes time. However, it can take 30 seconds or 30 minutes depending on your mode of delivery. You can do it! What do you have to lose?

Don’t get me wrong. It may not be accepted with overwhelming appreciation, but that’s not the point. The goal of encouraging someone isn’t to gain their appreciation, but it sometimes happens. The goals of encouraging someone else are to keep their candle lit, to keep them heading in the right direction, and to fan their flame of hope. Let’s face it…all of us need cheerleaders at times. Be someone’s cheerleader. Why not start today?

So, is there a coworker that seems downcast? Put a card in his/her mailbox. Do you have a relative struggling with something? Spur them on and let them know you believe in them. As an educator, I know the value of a grown student sending a message to let me know that I was a favorite teacher or sharing something they remember about my classroom. Who is that teacher to you? This year especially, teachers need encouragement. What about a pastor at your church? They are walking a tightrope through this pandemic where each choice is judged by those who don’t know them personally. If they open the doors and restart ministries too soon and someone gets Covid and suffers severely, it will be on their conscience. If they open cautiously or not-at-all, they will be judged as having little faith. Let them know they’re appreciated and how God is using them through this trying time.

So what about it? Will you accept the challenge to express a word of encouragement to someone in your life? Maybe even someone who you don’t know well, but you can tell a word of encouragement is needed. You can do this! Become an encourager. It’s a great habit to start. So why not start now!

Not ___ Enough!

Now, before you start thinking you need to send me a pep talk, I want to say this is the voice that “at times” is in my head. She doesn’t scream as often or as loudly as she has in the past. Perhaps it’s true with age comes wisdom? Perhaps it’s experience brings contentment? No clue. All I’m saying is… if it’s screaming in your head, keep reading. If you know someone who hears this, keep reading.

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Not special enough….
Starting as an insecure teenage girl, I learned that by doing came approval. Youth Sunday at church needs someone to share? Ask Jodi. She’ll do it. Need someone to teach a class? Ask Jodi. She’ll do it. Need someone to serve on a committee? Get Jodi. She’ll do it. Want someone to watch your kids? Jodi will, and she’ll even entertain them with her reading skills. I found myself working, trying, pushing, working, volunteering, serving, working to earn the approval of others….to feel like I mattered. Get the picture. Don’t get me wrong…I enjoy each of those things, but I also found myself saying “yes” when I didn’t really have the desire to do it…in order to please others….to be accepted.

I figured if I DO enough then people would appreciate me. I would matter. Most had no clue these were the thoughts in my head as I tempered my lack of confidence and overwhelming self-doubt with humor and talent. They’re still my “go to”…my crutch. If I was Linus from Peanuts, then my humor & abilities would be “my blanket”. I pondered sharing my struggles, but I would push the thought away in order to protect the “image” of confidence. If I ignored the inner battles, then they would go away. Right? Nope. Nada. #notgonnahappen.

Not attractive enough…
I’m 100% certain that I was/am not the only female to struggle with this one. My teeth aren’t straight or white enough. My hair is too poofy. My weight is too high. I was certain the reason I was “still single” was because men are visual creatures and my “packaging” wasn’t enough to grab their attention. I recall one drive back to Carson-Newman College during my freshman year, my friend Dana was talking about his girlfriend (who I was nothing like). He said, “Jodi, face it…you’re the kind of girl you take home to Mom and then marry. You’re not the kind of girl a guy dates.” I assured him that I didn’t think marriage was possible without dating or courtship. He simply shrugged his shoulders. It seems I’ve forever been a guy’s best pal…the girl he cries about his girlfriend or wife to.

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Perhaps that’s why my commitment to getting healthy hasn’t stuck….because I was doing it “for someone else”. This time, I’m doing it for me. I’m worth it. I need to be healthier. God gave me this body for my life on earth, and I’ve not been a very good steward.

Not worthy enough…
I found this inner battle especially a struggle in the realms of relationships. A friend asked me once, “Jodi, how can I pray for you? What do you need? You’re always there for us, but you don’t tell us how to be there for you.” I was shocked. I couldn’t recall a time when someone asked me that question. If I admitted to someone else my struggles with my self image, then I would be speaking against what God had created. How could I do that? He loved me. He made me. He sent His Son to die for me. How could I speak negatively about His creation? Here’s the thing… Yes, He made me and in a fallen world my body comes with challenges. But…He’s not the one who would choose to go home and not exercise. He’s not the one who had too much junk food in my grocery cart. Those were my choices. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not on one of those fad diets and I’ve not cut anything out of my diet completely. I did Atkins before and lost over 30 pounds, but…I like potatoes….I like bread. That “diet” wasn’t for me. So, I’m just making healthier choices. With the encouragement and accountability of others and my determination to get healthy….I’m hoping these choices stick. With each pound loss and when clothes are looser, I think, “Thanks God…keep me going.”

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Becoming the TRUE me…
Along this journey of “Becoming Jodi”, I’ve created my own motto: “Encourage those you appreciate, and appreciate those who encourage you.” You see, while in college, I started writing notes of encouragement to friends. Some were directed to close friends I cherished while others were mere acquaintances that God prodded me to encourage. I recently realized that I needed to restart that practice. Why? Encouragement matters.

How do I know? Because of those He’s placed in my pathway to encourage me. It was during this past summer, as my 50th birthday was approaching, that I decided it was time to start living healthier. Really, this was long overdue, but slow and steady the journey continues. Knowing how often I’ve attempted to “get healthy” in the past, I knew I’d need encouragement and accountability to keep going. I’m using Facebook to help me with that fact. My sweet friends have been encouraging and some are holding me accountable. For instance, as I went through the library drive-through to pick up a book I had on hold, Ann affirmed my efforts and told me how my exercise posts encourage her. Then, while waiting for my students to take a restroom break at school, Kevin comes by and asks if I’m still walking my parents’ dog (on the days I don’t go to Planet Fitness). Meanwhile, Erin, my neighboring teacher, spurs me on as I drink my gallon of water each day. “Keep drinking more water.” With each exercise post, many friends give me a little cheer to keep spurring me onward. They may only spend a few seconds making their comment, but it matters. It motivates. It encourages me to keep going. Encouragement and accountability matter.

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Not polished enough…
Let’s refocus…my struggle with self-worth wasn’t just in my appearance, but it also manifested itself in my career. I would allow the harsh words of one parent to overshadow the edifying words of many others. I would see the strengths of another teacher and judge my skills in those areas harshly. Now, I find myself in year 25. I still try to improve in areas that I know need polished, but I tell myself “effective” on an evaluation is fine. I know I’m effective. I know my passion and purpose are true, so I need to let those self-degrading issues go. Yet, I admit that a few years in a row my final “label” was “highly effective”. Made my day! However, it also set me up for the feeling of failure when the next year I was 0.50 points away from that “label”. It really means absolutely nothing…maybe a couple extra hundred dollars, but I allowed the “label” to tell me who I was. I allowed the opinions of my administrators to have power over my self-acceptance. You see….I still struggle with that. I still want to be “the best” I can be. There’s nothing wrong with trying to improve yourself, but if it steals your joy then it needs to be put in its place.

Recently, these thoughts have been playing over and over in my self-analysis. In fact, I think these things started stirring last winter when a small group book study challenged me to write 100 positive things about myself. And I failed. I failed miserably. If you go back to my January post called “Toxic or Healing”, you would find a sad list of 15 positives about myself. Actually, they’re more like “mediocre” positives. How could I not find 100 things positive about myself? I mean, the Creator of Heaven and Earth knit me together in my mother’s womb. Was His work sub-par? Nope.

Now, I’m not saying one should be boastful and self-centered, but we should be able to list countless positive things that are true about ourselves. So, feel free to stop reading, but I’m going to attempt to come up with 100 positives about this 50-year-old-lady who loves God. It may take me a while, but I tend to fixate on goals….so I won’t share this post until the goal is achieved. [Started on Wednesday & posted on Friday evening.]

You see, I tend to over-analyze just about everything. Yet, this time, my analysis has been tempered with reality and acceptance. I’ve concluded…..

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  1. I am a teacher who loves her job even on not-so-hot days.
  2. I’m sensible.
  3. I’m an author of children’s books that cause my 4th graders to burst out in laughter in all the right spots.
  4. I’m realistic.
  5. I’m smart.
  6. I’m a lover of figurative language and eager to help both young and old develop an appreciation.
  7. I’m unique.
  8. I’m passionate about things that are important to me.
  9. I’m a good cook.
  10. I’m diligent with my tasks.
  11. I enjoy providing meals for new parents, sick friends, and stressed mothers.
  12. I’m sincere.
  13. I sing.
  14. I’m reflective.
  15. I enjoy writing parodies.
  16. I’m imaginative.
  17. I enjoy teaching kids Bible lessons at my church.
  18. I’m personable.
  19. I love a good pun…or even a bad pun.
  20. I love to laugh and do it daily.
  21. I’m benevolent.
  22. I’m a fine feline mom.
  23. I’m polite.
  24. I’m encouraging.
  25. I’m empathetic.
  26. I can bring stories to life for my students…and the ladies in my Sunday School class.
  27. I’m enthusiastic.
  28. I’m a committed reader.
  29. I’m principled.
  30. My superpower is appreciating a good night’s sleep or sweet afternoon nap.
  31. I’m creative.
  32. I can create “personalities” complete with their own voice and attitude.
  33. I’m capable.
  34. I’m an appreciated dog walker.
  35. I’m faithful…to God…family…and friends.
  36. I am grateful.
  37. I’m a good hugger.
  38. I’m focused.
  39. I’m a fun puppeteer.
  40. I’m optimistic.
  41. I’m a friendly greeter at the church doors on Sunday.
  42. I’m hopeful.
  43. I enjoy writing poetry.
  44. I’m romantic. [One day, someone may find out…]
  45. I’m merciful.
  46. I like mentoring & helping younger teachers and wannabe teachers.
  47. I’m purposeful.
  48. I try to help friends see the positive on their bad days.
  49. I’m supportive.
  50. I attempt to bring joy to others.
  51. I’m animated.
  52. I’m a planner.
  53. I’m cooperative.
  54. I pray for my friends.
  55. I am kind.
  56. I try to maintain a positive perspective…even in the midst of a pandemic!
  57. I’m persistent.
  58. I try to avoid giving up whenever possible.
  59. I’m earnest.
  60. I am a goal setter.
  61. I’m punctual.
    [Unless it’s for my surprise 50th birthday party when I was late due to an unplanned nap.]
  62. I attempt to maintain peace.
  63. I’m humorous.
  64. I can be serious when needed.
  65. I’m focused.
  66. I’m giving.
  67. I’m loyal
  68. I make mistakes, but I own them too.
  69. I’m thoughtful.
  70. I want to make my school, my community, my world a better place.
  71. I enjoy doing & writing drama/skits.
  72. I’m helpful.
  73. I’m a rebel to the stereotypical expectations of this world.
  74. I’m dependable.
  75. I’m a woman of integrity.
  76. I am perfectly imperfect.
  77. I’m joyful.
  78. I’m a devoted church member.
  79. I am talented.
  80. I’m hard working.
  81. I’m a teacher who calls my students “my kids” regardless of their ages.
  82. I’m contagious, as in my faith, my laugh, & my joy. [Thanks, Meridith, for that one!]
  83. I’m a reliable friend.
  84. I celebrate the success of my friends.
  85. I’m appreciative.
  86. I’m a committed employee.
  87. I try to make each day the best it can be.
  88. I’m conscientious.
  89. I’m supportive to my oldest sister Dianna.
  90. I’m the best friend of my sister Sherry.
  91. I’m a reliable and loving daughter to my mom and dad.
  92. I’m the “Best Ant” to my favorite nephew in the whole entire world!
  93. I’m a daughter of the King of Kings.
  94. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
  95. I shine His light on social media.
  96. I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.
  97. I was created in the image of God.
  98. I am blessed.
  99. I’m an original.
  100. I. Am. Enough.

All the Single Ladies…All the Single Ladies…

To be honest, that’s most of the lyrics I know to the popular song. Then, the line “‘Cause if you like it, then you shoulda put a ring on it.” Yep. That’s all I know. I’m sure it won’t surprise anyone who knows me that Beyonce isn’t my usual music choice. Contemporary Christian and country are generally the only genres I listen to. But…this catchy tune…has two lines that stick in my head.

At fifty and “still single” rather than “single again” like many, I’ve thought a lot about singleness and relationships. I’ve sat through sermon series on marriage and relationships that number too many to count with both hands. I’ve seen marriages crumble, but I’ve also witnessed marriages on the brink of destruction flourish and develop stronger than could be imagined. I’ve seen friends change their lives to the point that they seemed like the man in their life had become the sun in their solar system. When the marriage died, I wondered how they were able to regain their focus.

So, along the way of these thirty years when I’d love to have a solid Christian man find me as his treasure, I’ve gained insight. This wisdom isn’t from experience but rather from inferring from the pain and pleasure of dear friends. I hope these bits of truth may help you if you are single….single again…or single still.

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This one should seem obvious, but sometimes it’s a hard truth to swallow. It takes next to no time to send a “good morning” text, “good night” message, or simply an emoji to let you know you’re in their thoughts. If he doesn’t have time for that, he may just not be interested in you for the same purpose you are. You may be dreaming of love and romance while he just wants someone to fill an evening. Value yourself. You are the daughter of a King.

In “Jerry Maguire”, one of my favorite lines was “You complete me.” As romantic as that seems in a rom-com, no one can complete you. Your worth comes from the One who created you. Don’t look to another person for your worth or to make you whole. You are whole! You are wholly loved by the One who died for you. However, I believe it’s perfectly acceptable to hope to find someone who accepts you completely with all your quirks. Perhaps that’s why I’m still single? I have plenty of quirks! Ha.

I’ve had many friends go through divorce. Some of them initiated the act. Some had spouses who decided to end the marriage. Either way, I’ve seen the pain left behind. Yet, I’ve also seen some go through the pain of a marriage ending, the agony of the family unit being skewed, the self-doubt of questioning everything leading up to the divorce, and then witnessed the healing take place. Yes, I’ve seen the “joy in the morning.” It hasn’t happened in each case, but a few of my friends have risen from the ashes of an ended marriage to metamorphose into an amazingly beautiful or gentlemanly butterfly. I’ve seen how the One who hates divorce will take the child who has lived through the event and transform him/her into a joyful servant of the King. It’s as if through the pain of losing who they were in the marriage they find who they are in Christ. Granted, divorce is not the goal, but God can use the broken for His glory.

You are worth it! Remember that. I need to remember that as well. If you have to fight for someone’s time and attention, is it really the person who deserves you? If you’re like me, you may have been blessed with a keen imagination who dreams of “what if” this person or that person actually saw the treasure that you are? Well, if he’s really the prince that deserves you, you wouldn’t have to imagine. He would show you in his words and actions that you matter. Don’t settle for less than God has in store for you.

Fellow daughters of the King of Kings, in this world of social media, online dating, and all the other bells-and-whistles of modern connections, don’t rush. Take your time. If he is willing to also give his time to you, then perhaps he’s worth the risk. Don’t rush, my sister, and pray for His wisdom and discernment.

So, in the end, I really have no great revelation for you as you seek love, romance, marriage, or a peace about the single life. Each of those have been my heart’s cry at some point. To be honest, some months I’ve gone through all of those as my focus. In the end, I want to be who God has created me to be.

I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds it in His hands. The One I call Lord knew my days before a single one took place. I’m thankful that my faith tells me that He knows my path even when I am clueless. I know that my worth comes from Him. I also know that Paul proclaimed singleness as a gift. I’ve laughed at times and thought, “Yep, the gift that no one really wants just like a fruit cake at Christmas.” If it’s the gift He has planned for me, I hope I accept it with as much genuine appreciation as I would if one of my students gave me a fruit cake at Christmas because whatever gift a student gives always makes my heart smile.

In conclusion, remember…you don’t have to be half of a couple to matter! You are a treasure! You can make an impact wherever He has planted you…even if you’re the only flower in the garden.

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Where’s My Cup?

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Have you ever been perusing Facebook or any form of social media and seen a quote or meme that made you ponder? Well, that happened to me this week. I saw this pic, and my mind immediately started pondering its truth or version of the truth. Let me begin with the realization that I agree that we shouldn’t expect another person to make us happy. That’s too big of a weight for anyone to bear. But….it makes me think of the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness depends on the moment while joy is within.

I mean another person can add to your momentary happiness. They can also steal your happiness for the moment by their action or lack thereof. It’s true. Can’t deny it.

However, even when I’m not super-happy, I still have joy. There’s a difference! My joy won’t come from a person…it comes from my faith. Even on not-so-hot-days…I can find my joy as I find my peace that surpasses understanding. Do I have bad days? Of course, but I will choose to find the positive even on the worst of days.

Now, I confess that I’m blessed with a career that I thoroughly enjoy. Granted, I have bad days. There are moments, hours, and sometimes a whole day when things don’t go well or as planned. In fact, in the 25 classes I’ve been “the teacher” to, there have been a handful of years where there have been more challenges than smooth days. Yet, even during those challenging years, I will choose to look for the joy.

A friend of mine works on the line of a manufacturing company. There have been many times this summer when his day hasn’t gone well. As I attempt to cheer him up, I encourage him to find one or two positives. Sometimes, the only positive of the day is getting out of bed and leaving work. It’s a start! Find the positive. If you look hard enough, you can find one…or many.

I’ve had those days. I’ve had days when the positives of the day are the buses have departed, there are no negative messages to reply to, and I get to rest during the evening. Regardless, it’s a positive. It’s a way to find the good in a bad day.

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Years ago…almost a couple decades, I supervised my first student teacher. It was during one of my most challenging years. My student teacher was energetic and perky. The group was challenging. In fact, the group was challenging enough that the administrators told me I needed to stay in the classroom rather than allowing her to experience “full control” with me being gone. Why? Each time I left, chaos happened or someone would get bullied or hurt. After one particularly trying day, we walked back into the building after taking our class to the buses and her face had fallen. Near tears, she said, “I just don’t know what to do.” Knowing that she and I shared the same faith beliefs, I simply said, “You shake it off, come up with a new strategy to try tomorrow, but you NEVER let your job steal your joy.” Several years later, I had the same chat with a different student teacher. You see, I love my job, but not all years are happy positive experiences. Some are challenging and problematic. Both can be reasons for joy….because when that challenging class has a good day….it’s like the Hallelujah Chorus is playing in my heart. I kid you not….and it’s always on key!

So…I write all of this to remind you of a few things…

  1. Don’t let circumstances steal your joy! My joy comes from the Lord.
  2. Always….ALWAYS look for the positive. No matter how small. Maybe someone smiled at you. Woohoo! Maybe a friend sent you a message or gif to remind you that you were in their thoughts that day. Woohoo! Find the positive. It’s there….you just have to look for it.
  3. Finally….remember not to look at your glass half empty. Try to see it half full. If you can’t see it half full, then….just be thankful you have a glass!

Call me Pollyanna…call me naive, but I am the daughter of the King of Kings. So, I will find the sparkle on a gloomy day. I will be thankful for my glass…or my cup. And for today…my cup runneth over!

To Think or Not to Think? That Is the Question.

Thinking from the start…

Okay, so my long-lived joke whenever I show my baby picture is that I was a deep thinker right from the start. To be honest, I probably over-think way too often. In fact, a decade or so ago, a guy that I was dating told me that I tend to over-analyze. Everything. He was right. Still is.

How so? Well, if he didn’t reply to an email, I would ponder all the reasons WHY he didn’t reply. You see, I’m a “read & reply” girl. Even if the reply is a simple “Thanks”, “okay”, or “nope”….I reply. When I try not to reply, I end up feeling guilty. Why? Well, I don’t want someone else to experience the over-thinking experience that I so often go through.

This applies to pretty much everyone concerning everything. You may receive a paragraph, you could receive a long dissertation of all my thoughts, or you could receive the short & simple reply. But….you’ll get a reply.

Being 50, this week I had the “joy” of a colonoscopy. I had heard horror stories of this experience. Well, the stories were never about the procedure but about the day before. Here…I’m going to shoot straight. The “taste” of it wasn’t the worst thing I had ever tasted, but there were episodes of gagging. Why? No one told me that that the medicine part of the prep made the water change its fluidity. So, as I attempted to take a quick slurp from my straw, I quickly realized I was drinking thickish water. Ugh. I’m the girl who can’t eat pears or coconut without cringing due to texture, so the unexpected thick-water was not something I handled. So, I took it as “Extreme Prep”….instead of Extreme Games. Every 10 minutes when the timer sounded, I would talk myself through swallowing another 8 ounces. Then….prep is over, procedure is over, and I await the results.

I literally just returned home from sharing lunch with one of my good friends as well as my sister’s family. Mexican food, Yum! I walked in and saw a missed call from KDH. My overthinking kicked in. Does that mean that my test results were bad and they can’t leave the news on the answering machine? Should I call? Should I wait? I waited and pondered a good 15 minutes before calling….

And they said….

“Just checking how you did after you went home from the procedure?”

Aw, how nice! Then, I started this post and the phone rings again. KDH again. Oh no! I hold my breath…(figuratively not literally). Woohoo! Results were fine, but I need to retest in 5 years due to family history. Woohoo! Not for repeating it in five years but that the results were clear.

Overthinking. It’s a danger.

Thinking is important, but overthinking can steal your joy. How? Let me tell you.

If a parent has their child removed from my classroom, thinking tells me that if a parent doesn’t want me to be the child’s teacher that my year will be smoother if I’m not. Over-thinking causes me to question every interaction I’ve had with the family in the past to see if there’s something I could’ve done differently. You see, most of the time the request doesn’t have anything to do with me as a person or a teacher but is due to the relationship established with the other teacher.

If I text someone who ignores me for a day or two, thinking says that he or she is busy. Over-thinking tells me that they are choosing to ignore me because I’ve been deemed unworthy (At this point, my overthinking triggers a quote from A Knight’s Tale— “You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.”).

What have I learned? I’ve learned that over-thinking always causes self-talk to take a nosedive. Rarely does overthinking build me up or encourage me. Overthinking triggers my battle with self-confidence and tries to tarnish my inner joy.

Now, if you know me….JOY is my thing. I try to be Joyful Jodi, not fake about it….but finding the joy even on the rainy day. Over-thinking is like a storm cloud that tries to block the rays of Joy. Alas, I must not be the only female who tends to overthink because…if you Google it…you’ll find plenty of pages to visit. I shall not. Instead, I’ll visit the Word I have hidden in my heart to remind me to…

Let it go, let it go….
Don’t overthink anymore….
Let it go, let it go,
Kick those negative thoughts out the door….

So, here are a few of the verses that I’ve been trying to use to kick out the negative and simply think about the truth. If your mind ever tends to over-think, maybe these can help you too.