Decisions

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Weigh the Pros and Cons  –  What it is you really want

How much do you want it? – If you don’t really want it, you will not achieve it.

Make your decision – Go for it

Form a plan – What needs accomplished and how? Make a “To Do” list.

One Step at a time – There are no magic wands to “zap” it into being. You need patience and effort.

Check off the parts you have accomplished – Watch your accomplishments accumulate.

Don’t sabotage yourself – Make enlightened choices that will move you forward.

Think Positive – Get rid of the “Stinkin’ Thinkin’”. It’ll drag you down and create obstacles you don’t need.

Seek support – Remember that others can support you as you travel your path. We all need encouragement.

Appreciation Blog

Too often, we get busy or envious of other’s achievements and forget to appreciate and celebrate our own. We

  • see (and potentially want) what others have, but do not see their trials, work and progression.
  • see in our own minds the end result of a project or goal and can feel the “rush” in order gain the end product, rather than appreciate our own efforts to that achievement.
  • grudgingly acknowledge or often complain about the process, but forget that every step in the journey holds valuable lessons for us.
  • tend to forget about the “little” victories in our journey
  • focus only on the setbacks and major victories and forget that there are so many good parts in-between

 

Because of these (and quite possibly more that are not mentioned here), we forget to truly appreciate what we have and are experiencing.

  • Obstacles teach us to think, opportunity for more patience, and problem solve.
  • Trials can help us focus on the important things and increase our patience, strength, and perseverance.
  • Setbacks can let us know that no human is “always right” and helps us grow and learn
  • Small gains are quite often the steps to larger gains, taking us closer to our goals.

 

Some days, we might wish for a magic wand so we can “zap” whatever it is and it would instantaneously be changed to what we desire. However, magic wands would not really allow us to enjoy and truly experience our journey that way. With each step of the process, we have achieved something. Have we recognized what that “something is”?  Were we willing to take a look at this achievement and celebrate it?

 

Yes, there are times when we would all like something more in our lives. I guess that’s why we have goals. It’s good to be content in knowing that things are going forward and we are where we need to be at this point in life. We are achieving our goals and learning more of life’s lessons in the process. Perhaps you can ask yourself:  How am I appreciating and celebrating the achievements in my life?

 

 

Without knowing non-success,

we cannot know true success when it comes….

Without Appreciation,

we might find it difficult to experience

happiness and contentment

in our successes

along our journey.

 

 

 

(See my blog on Acceptance to read about my own disability.)

Time Management Ideas

We often find ourselves out of time for things we want to do. Here are a few ideas that might help.

 

Schedule – Mark down in your datebook (not just work, classes, doctor appointments, ball games, etc.) what you want to do for yourself.

  • Relaxation
  • Time with family and friends
  • “Me Time”
  • Book time
  • Gardening
  • Walk about

 

Blank Spots in our schedule. Sometimes, we see blank spots and feel obligated to fill that spot. It’s OK not to have a “full” schedule. So schedule in things for yourself as well as “blank spots”. Things come up in life that are often unforeseen. These blank spots help you allow for such times.

 

“No” – Saying No can sometimes be difficult because we have “extra time”. We also might not readily use it when someone approaches us because of a need that they have. We need to have discretion. Some things are important and we do what we need to do while other things, not so much. Don’t be afraid to say this word occasionally. You are important, too.

 

Ditch Distractions – Eliminate what is keeping you from succeeding.

  • Unplug occasionally. Schedule time for plugging in and then walk away.
  • Declutter and organize your environment and your mind. Get rid of the “junk”.

 

Self Care – If you are not well, you cannot be there for yourself or others.

  • Take needed breaks
  • Get proper sleep and nourishment
  • Allow time for yourself Take a Fun day or build Fun time into your weekly schedule. We all need to relax and recharge.
  • Take a family outing – It doesn’t have to be anything major. It can be mini day trips or just having fun at home with family.
  • Connect with friends

 

Delegate – You don’t have to do it all. Allow someone else the privilege of helping and pulling their own loads.

 

Plan – Plan ahead. It’s no fun to be so far behind you think you’re first….

 

Set Goals – It’s great to have big goals, but it takes longer to achieve these. If you set smaller goals, you can see the accomplishments add up. This feels great and adds to you motivation.

 

Create positive habits.

  • Use time wisely
    • Eliminate the constant technology interruptions. (alerts from phone, e-mail, etc.)
  • Turn Procrastination into Proaction – Go for it Today rather than waiting for tomorrow.
  • Have fun watching the items on your “to-do” list being crossed off.
  • Remember kindness – to yourself and others.

 

Use Color – Color helps focus your attention on important things. The use of color immediately lets you see what type of event is coming up in our schedule. For example: blue – work schedule/shifts, yellow – appointments, green – kid’s sporting events, etc.

 

Service Dog Team Etiquette

Vest on = Dog Working

 

 

 How to act around a Service dog:        

  • Service Dogs ARE NOT PETS. They are considered Medical Equipment. Do you talk to a wheel chair or cane?
  • DO NOT PET the Service Dog. Don’t touch the dog without asking permission first! This is a distraction and may prevent the dog from tending to the human partner.
  • DO NOT DISTRACT the Service Dog in any way. Distractions are harmful to the team.
    • Do not call the dog.
    • Do not whistle or make sounds to the dog to get their attention
    • Never feed the dog.
    • Never touch the dog specifically without the handler’s permission
  • IGNORE the Service Dog entirely. You’re not being rude if you don’t acknowledge the Service Dog’s presence. They don’t mind. They are used to this when they are working.
  • TALK TO THE PERSON, not the service dog.
  • DON’T ASSUME about the individual’s intelligence, feelings, or capabilities. Don’t ask about their health issues. They do not ask about yours. You do not need to know this information.
  • DO NOT BE AFRAID of the dog. A true service dog has been professionally trained to do their job and have excellent manners.
    • If the dog barks and wants you to follow him/her, then the handler needs help.
    • IF the dog BARKS at you in a menacing way or MISBEHAVES (is not well mannered), these are most likely NOT REAL service dogs.

 

 

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Service Dogs

If you have ever seen a service dog assisting someone, what were your thoughts?

Many people want to talk to or pet the dog. Though the dog would like this, it’s not a good thing to do. For some working dogs, it wouldn’t be a problem. For others, it distracts the dog from doing their work. It also makes it very difficult for the handler. In some cases, it could be dangerous for the handler. It also takes away 2 days of valuable training for the dog. If you really want to talk to or pet the dog, ask the handler first. They are the ones who know best whether or not their working team would be affected by it.

If you see it is a service dog, don’t distract in any way (speaking, petting, making noises, etc.).  If you are unsure whether the dog is a service dog (even though you might be a “dog person” or have a lot of experience with dogs in general), keep to the basic rule: When in doubt, don’t.

 

By Law, there are only two questions you are permitted to ask the individual:

  1. Is the dog a service dog?
  2. What service does he/she perform?

 

At work

Alteration Blog

Many things are hidden in life. One thing that was hidden for me was an acquired disability. I say “acquired” because I was not born with a disability. It resulted from an injury. I still don’t remember details. Before that day of the injury, I was “normal”/fine. Afterwards, my brain began to short circuit. I became angry, self-conscious, scared, and confused how something like that could happen. It turned the world as I knew it in another direction. It gave a new meaning to “anything can happen”.

Seizures can sometimes scare people, both the individual and witnesses of the event. Sometimes, individuals can begin feeling responsible for another person’s discomfort and can become increasingly uncomfortable in others’ presence. I, like many others in this position, wasn’t prepared to handle that and deal with my own situation. I wanted to hide from the world. I began to retreat. When being “out” was absolutely necessary, I fervently prayed that nothing would “happen”. Prayers were not always answered. I, like others with this condition, had no control.

As time passed, I needed to make peace with my altered life. I didn’t have someone to help me “get through it” from a personal standpoint. I had a mom who was a nurse and other “regular” medical personnel. Others didn’t seem to understand what I was feeling. I dismissed the idea of counselors or psychologists, since society’s mentality at the time was that professionals were for people who had real issues, not for someone like me who was dealing with adjustment. I learned to live with the situation that had permanently moved into my life. Adjustment took time in many ways. Medicine began controlling this beast. Then, I began to control my own thoughts and perceptions about me and my life. It was tough.

I was determined to get my “normal” back. But – what was my “normal”? I needed answers – needed to move forward. I couldn’t spend life hidden from the world or myself. The old normal definition no longer applied in my mind or in reality. So, I made a new definition for myself, that I originally called my “new normal”. I also realized that everyone has their own definition of normal. I have accepted who I am. I am me.

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Through the years, I have assisted others in their challenging journey through their new disabling conditions. You do not need to travel this alteration path alone.  Feel free to contact me if you feel that I can help you.

Masks Blog

If you’re like me, I have many masks in my closet. I have a professional mask, where people do not know I have a life outside of the office. I have a “mom” mask that I wear when dealing with my children. I have a private mask that I don when I don’t want to share things with others. And yes, I have the “teacher” mask I wear when in the classroom and one labeled “student” for when I take classes. I have a mask for hiding all the things in life that do not need shown at the particular time. We have masks for social events – several, ranging from ornate and glittery for high-society socials through a variety of “every-day” events. We even have an “I’m OK” mask that presents to the world our healthiness. We even have a “Happiness” mask for those occasions when we really aren’t happy but must keep up appearances. Sometimes, I wonder if we have more masks in our closet than the array of clothes we wear. It can get a bit scary.

 

After a while, as I look deep inside of myself as others do, I wonder if we use our masks so often that human beings might forget who is actually behind the mask. Like you, I have been in situations where the “real me” seems hidden for whatever reason at the time.

 

I remember one time not too long ago, I experienced a situation where I really was dumfounded by the particular comment and wanted to respond “Are you serious?”. However, it was neither the time or place to say this. I realized how quickly I donned my appropriate mask and met the situation in the appropriate way. In short, my feelings stayed hidden, even as I walked away from the situation so that it could not escalate.

 

Over time, I decided that I had too many masks. It was time to de-clutter my mask closet. I began to use less of my masks and allow myself to be known. I didn’t have to hide my talents or abilities. I learned how to begin appropriately expressing my thoughts and feelings. I began coping with my own situations and conditions. I allowed my real self to begin shining through. Sure, there are times when masks still are donned – That’s simply a part of life. However, they are used less frequently, and only when necessary. My closet is not packed any more. I’ve become more free to be me.

 

Chameleons Blog

I had a conversation with a friend the other day. We got on the topic of how we as humans can blend-in with our environment or stand out. It reminded me of a chameleon. As I thought about it, I began to see how we are like the little creatures. We can hide who we really are if we choose or we can boldly go forward so that we can be recognized. We adapt to our surroundings according to the culture or situation we are in.

 

I have, like so many of you, consciously changed my behaviors according to my situation. When at work, I have had to be a team player – one of the crowd (blending in) to pull my work with others’ to get the job done. I have changed my own “coloring” to a “uniform” standard. (There’s no “I” in “team”.) I, like you, have blended in with the crowd in many situations where I was just one of many. I also become part of my environment when I learn, observe, or just want to stay “unnoticed”.

 

I have also struck out in the limelight of teaching, volunteer leadership, etc. where those students, administrators, parents, and community members saw me in some type of leadership position (keeping my true colors of who I am as a teacher/leader). At times, I didn’t bother camouflaging myself because I am who I am. I have a service dog, so hiding my disability really isn’t an option. I’m not sure I know too many moms that can “hide” from their children.

 

We also make our changing ability evident when we are dealing with thoughts and emotions. Some we hide; some we do not. We all have been there. We all choose to blend or be visible.

Acceptance Blog

At workDue to declining hearing, I found myself saying “what” several times. I began getting frustrated. My husband finally talked me into getting my hearing checked. After much thought, I figured it wouldn’t hurt. I got myself ready for maybe a hearing aid – at the most extreme point of the doc’s verdict.  The day came for the appointment, and I was still telling myself it was a waste of time – I was fine. The result: not 1, but 2 hearing aids.  OK, not a good surprise at the time.

As time progressed, so did my hearing loss. I went through a few sets of hearing aids, each more powerful than the next. Finally, I was told that this last pair was the strongest they make. My hearing over time would continue to decline until there was nothing. With each new lower level, I adjusted, then realize that something new was needed.  Finally, I was encouraged by my family to check with a service dog. At first, I resisted. Other people needed it more than me. However, deep down, with some research on the topic, I realized that it might not be a bad thing. I just couldn’t understand other’s speech or hear certain sounds. I wasn’t giving up on life – personal or professional. So, I decided to bite the bullet and make contact, then an application to Canine Companions. And was accepted to be put on the waiting list until a service dog was available.

The call came and I went for training. It was amazing what I thought I needed vs. what I did need. I was matched with a hearing dog. I began opening up to the experience. In just that short of time, I was accepted for me and realized just how much that extra help from a furry team member was already making in my life. The only thing that made me stop and think was that now, I couldn’t hide my hearing disability from others. I had a furry team mate with a vest that told others that I needed help. I was a bit self-conscious about it. But as time and experience traveled on, I realized that he completed my life.  He gave me my confidence back and helped me in ways I really wasn’t aware I needed.

He’s been with me a couple years now. I can’t believe the difference. We go everywhere together. We really are a team. It still surprises people when they learn of my disability. To look at me, you can’t tell that I have hearing issues. I have heard the statement: “You can’t be deaf – you speak.” I have dealt with stares, questions, taught people about service dogs, and even about disabilities. By not hiding, I have helped others learn. I have accepted who I am. I am still me. I can still teach, counsel, and do the things in life I have done in the past and wanted to do. The only limitation is the physical sense of hearing. Other than that, I can be productive just like everyone else. Everyone has limitations, but not all are related to a disabling condition. We all make adjustments for these limitations. We just simply move forward if we want.

They say that many things are Mind over Matter. I mind what I feel matters: living my life, not just existing through it.

 

 

 

(You might also want to read my blog called Alterations.)