Posted in Conversation Time, Uncategorized

Conversation Time #4

This week’s Question:

What memories do you have of your mother (her name, birth date, birthplace, parents, and so on)?

She’s still alive, so I’m not giving most of that away, either.

My mother is my best friend and always has been. I could never lie to her, she could see straight through me. I learned that pretty early on. It just meant I stopped bothering to try to lie to her. I told her everything and still do. She’s one of the few people in the world I can be honest with and her opinion of me won’t change because of it. I walk around with her face and freak people out (that’s a lot of fun), and we always know exactly what the other is thinking, because we’re pretty close to the same there, too! I’m always surprised when I can do something she doesn’t know how to, and just like Dad lets me talk him into some new form of geekery, Mom lets me talk her into new forms of craftery!

Mom stayed home with us until I was in third grade. She stood at the bus stop with us if she didn’t take us to school, herself. She picked me up from Kindergarten, because it was a half day. When I sent a kid to the hospital for bullying me, she didn’t scream at me! She nodded and let it go! She taught me how to scrub baseboards with a toothbrush for inspections and drove us home to Georgia when we moved back from Louisiana. When she went back to work, she trusted me to be the one with my head screwed on straight. I was the one with the key to the house in my backpack so we could get in after school every day. She taught me to cross stitch when I was eight and to crochet when I was twelve. I taught myself to sew, mostly because I watched her do it for most of my life. She made our clothes and Halloween costumes until work took her time away for that stuff! She crocheted afghans for our beds and was one of the three mom’s in our neighborhood yelling, “Time for Thundercats” while we were on base housing. She would shake her head and let me get away with reducing a chicken leg to scattered shreds of chicken instead of eating it and made me sit at the table for hours until I’d finished my steak. I forced down a fork full of collards and black eyed peas every New Years from birth because she got that “mom look” on her face and I wasn’t going to be the reason we didn’t have money that year!

When I was in High School, she was constantly supporting her overachieving geek of a kid through whatever endeavor she’d thrown herself in. She advocated to get me a better car because I had to be at school so early or so late doing everything from Band to Student Government and life would be easier if I had the means to get myself (and my poor sister) there without waiting for them to get off work or make them late for work taking us. She was at every game, football and basketball, cheering from the sidelines while I did my thing and working her tail off every other minute. She sent me to school with a bucket full of change because the band director told us to “Save our pennies” for a trip to Myrtle Beach that Spring. She could’ve taken it to the bank and exchanged it for paper money, but what fun would that be? It earned her a smirk from Mr. Macleod and then he made me count it all and take it to the bank for a deposit! Everyone loved my mom, too. She was the Band Mom everyone wished was theirs. She was supportive and overlooked silly stuff while still keeping her eye out for stuff we shouldn’t be doing. She was genuinely happy for everyone she adopted as her own, which was almost every member of a 100+ piece marching band. She cheered for them, cried with them, helped them get dressed and french braided their hair (She learned to do that so my hair would stay out of my face while I marched, people!).

In college, it was Mom who did most of my laundry because I fell asleep on the couch waiting for the drier and she didn’t have the heart to wake me up. It was Mom who told me to bring the poor screaming kitten that was under my apartment to her house and she’d take care of it. It was mom who brought a kitten into my apartment to keep me company. It was Mom who sighed with relief when I broke up with my boyfriend and groaned when I started dating another 300 miles away via the internet. It was Mom who was upset when I moved out and didn’t talk to me for a week because it was just too painful that I wasn’t at home where I should be. It was Mom who stocked my cabinets that first month, because “Everyone should have butter and ketchup, Tiffany.”

After college… she knew exactly which wedding dress I would fall in love with the second she laid eyes on it. She planned my wedding and reception and made it look EASY. She was there holding my hand when I signed myself into the hospital for my first C-section, and refusing to let Dad drive as she sped down I16 for the second one, fear for both me and my little Tadpole and tears at not being there earlier streaming from her eyes. When Peanut developed acid reflux and I hadn’t slept in three days? Mom was on the way and stayed with us for a week while I rested and still handled feedings and diapers and, now, medication. After each baby was born, she was there for two full weeks while we settled into life with a newborn! When I broke my ankle, she drove down to drive the girls to school because I couldn’t drive my car and Dana couldn’t be THAT late so often. She’s the one who changed the ice on my ankle after surgery and woke me up for meds. Who else but Mom does that?

Everyone wants their Mom when times get tough, but I can honestly say that I have the mom that EVERYONE wants when times get tough. I have loaned her out quite a few times to people who needed that support in their lives. She’s a great mom, whether she gave birth to you or not!

And now? Now she’s in the SCA, too. Know what? I’m still loaning her out. People still love her. I’m the envy of so many because my mom is the one I can call and don’t even have to ask if I can leave my girls with her while I handle disaster at home (Hurricanes, people. DISASTER!). She’s angry because she can’t help me more. Yeah, you read that right! She says events are different if I’m not around and enjoys them more when I am, even if I’m dragging her around because I can’t sit still. People who live closer have adopted her as theirs, too. So much so that I’m never sure which of the people on her friends list are now my family and which ones are still in the friend zone! And once you’re adopted, she’s got you! You’re screwed thinking you’ll get away with doing stupid stuff like forgetting to eat or not drinking enough water. If you have a baby, you better NOT get anywhere near her without letting her hold it for at least an hour while you go away and do whatever you need to do! She is the perfect grandmother, letting nothing get in between her and time with my monsters, and she accepts their quirky little selves, too.

Because that’s the way she is.

And she’s mine.

And yours.

And yours.

And yeah, yours, too.

But I want her back, got it?

Until next time!

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Posted in Conversation Time, Uncategorized

Conversation Time #3

This week’s question:

What memories do you have of your father (his name, birth date, birthplace, parents, and so on)?

He’s still alive, so I’m not giving most of that away. However, I can talk about my Dad all day long. The problem is always, “Where do I start?”

My Dad is a really great man. I’ve always heard that a girl compares every man she meets to her father and it’s absolutely true. He’s not perfect and never claimed to be. He’s not “totes gorg!” but he’s not half bad to look at, either! He’s not a lot of things. What he is, though, is the best Dad in the world.

When I was little, my Dad encouraged every geeky thing I could think of doing. My friends and I wanted to play “Thundercats,” and not only did he approve, he cut a Sword of Omens  out and decorated it for our “Lion-O,” complete with a bike reflector over the eye! I grew up watching old Star Trek reruns enough to know what a Tribble was and why they were trouble and that Klingons would happily spill your guts for smiling at them! I saw every one of the Star Wars movies in a dark setting (no joke! The living room was pitch black the first time I watched A New Hope and Return of the Jedi was in a theater on base!). I was encouraged to explore Madeline Le’Engle after my 5th grade teacher read it to us, and that reintroduced me to The Lord of the Rings, too (the animated movies!). My Dad (Mom, too!) encouraged my reading addiction, fed it, even!

As I got older, my Dad was the one everyone adopted on the Band bus. He was one of four who were always at every game, helping the drum line unload their instruments from the back of the bus and flipping burgers in the concession stand until I was pretty sure Sponge Bob would’ve been jealous of his skill! Everyone loved my Dad! Even more, everyone knew my Dad would be the one who helped them if they needed it. He bought my first car and took me with him to the salvage yard to find missing pieces for it! He’s the one who showed me how to change my tires and oil, even if he never let me actually do it. He is the one who shook his head and laughed when I told him about my exploits in keeping that car running when I drove it to school and home again, too. He never once let me believe he wasn’t proud of me, that his love for me was anything but full blown. Don’t tell him, but I really didn’t hang the big dipper all by myself. I’m pretty sure he thinks I did. Shhhh!

When I got into college, he was the one quietly making sure I got dinner on Sundays when I came over to wash my clothes. He changed the oil and rotated the tires on my new car, and spoiled my cat. He grilled pork chops and made sure there were a few extras, all while I crashed on the couch because I was overworking myself. He bought my first legal drink when I turned 21.

Since college, he’s supported all my crazy hobbies and trusted me when I said, “Dude, you should really try this. You’ll love it.” I’ve never steered him wrong! First was Harry Potter, then the Wheel of Time. Then I talked him into DragonCon and along came JordanCon. Now, it’s the SCA. He tries to put me off, “Tiff I don’t have time to read such a long series!” and “Do you think I have time for that?!” IN the end, he always gives in and he always sighs a few months down the road and tells me I’m right, while cursing me because he’s antsy to get on the next thing involved in this wonderful new thing I’ve drug him into.

In every single case, though, he doesn’t spend much time being “Tiff’s Dad.” Just like High School when everyone loved my Dad, everyone STILL loves my Dad. His identity becomes his own very quickly, because he is naturally charismatic and friendly and will talk to you about whatever you want to talk about for however long you want to talk. You can try drinking him under the table, but I should warn you that I get my tolerance honestly and so does he.

Just in case that wasn’t enough, I have the pleasure of learning new things about him all the time. I am 38 years old and in all that time, I have never once witnessed his PTSD. Don’t think I was ignorant about it,  though. My Dad survived Vietnam. You don’t get through something like that without long lasting scars. I grew up knowing there were conversations you didn’t start with him, movies he couldn’t watch, and actors and actresses who were forever on his crap-list. I heard stories about his reactions to things, though never actually witnessed it. At least, not until recently. I know part of him always thought anyone knowing his suffering would somehow diminish him in my eyes and nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, I love him more for it. I’m not alone, there, either. Witnessing it didn’t lower my opinion, it reinforced why my opinion is so high.

Memories of my Dad? I have many. I’m the lucky one who gets to keep adding to them, too.

Eat your heart out. He’s mine! 😉

~Until next time!

Posted in 2017, Motherhood

Let your kid be a monster!

That was a total buzzy title, wasn’t it? No, I’m not advocating badly behaved children, here. Sorry if you were hoping to get justification of your kid’s temper tantrums in the grocery store. You’re not going to get it here!

No, what you’re going to get here is a note about letting your kid be who they want to be. This is one area I like to think I excel at, with some slight limitations, of course. Let me introduce you to my girls…

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My oldest, Peanut, is 9 this year. When she was younger, she wanted to be just like my sister. So much so that my sister nicknamed her, “Prissy.” Naturally, my sister became “Aunt Prissy” because if Peanut was being Prissy and acting just like her, then… um… yeah. She loved pink stuff, loved wearing clothes that were frilly and ruffly, enjoyed glamming up everything! She hit about 4 and that started changing. Her teacher spent a month talking about dinosaurs and my little prissy girl was gone, forever! In her place was this confident, excited, little girl who loved everything about dinosaurs! Then she started watching Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles on TV and that was awesome, too! She’s loved dragons her whole life, but suddenly, they weren’t just beautiful things in stories! How to Train Your Dragon made them so much more! Since then, she’s been into Transformers, Legos, and, most recently, Minecraft! She loves building things and got her first set of building blocks at the ripe old age of 18 months! There’s been no turning back, my friends! When she turned 7 and could get “big girl Legos,” HOLY COW! Now she’s 9 and there’s not a single block she’s too young to own! She wants all of the Minecraft kits! I was picked on this weekend for not having Legos of my own and HAZED by my own 9 year old for cackling like a kid because the dragon’s tail was articulated and could move! I’m not even joking! She rolled her eyes at me and told me I was being silly! (Then I didn’t let her play with my dragon because she was picking on me! HA! Take that!) For Halloween, this year, she wanted to be Bumblebee from the Transformers!

Now, let me stop right there for a second. You see, my poor baby girl tells people she should’ve been born a boy because she likes all of that stuff. Her self-esteem is in the toilet, because, as a girl, kids don’t “get” her. She likes all the stuff that the boys like, so conversations with girls who are excited about things like lip gloss and American Girl dolls is just difficult, to say the least. Talking to boys isn’t easy, either, because they can’t understand why a girl would be interested in these things. It breaks my heart and I have fought this with the kids in her class for years, talking about how awesome Star Wars is and arguing about which superhero movie came out first. I want them to see that a grown woman can have this conversation, so why is it strange that a girl their own age can, too. Why does my 9 year old have to feel out of place because she doesn’t fit society’s mold of what’s acceptable for a girl? Why does she have to feel like an outcast because not only is she interested in really complex things, but she’s also gifted in the engineering department and can explain how those things work! She can argue about the structure of things like no one I’ve ever met, my husband included! Sometimes even he, a contracted air craft engineer, has to acknowledge that she’s right and he’s wrong! SHE’S 9! Why is this BAD?! Who the hell decided that it was BAD?! Why can’t I punch them? I have made it my life’s work making sure that beautiful girl understands that she can be smart, interested in building and physics, dragons and dinosaurs, and IT’S NOT WEIRD for her to do so! And when I find the person who’s made her life this difficult so young, I will make you pay for every tear she’s shed about this!

Why? BECAUSE I BOUGHT THAT GIRL A BUMBLEBEE COSTUME and she FREAKIN’ ROCKED IT for Halloween! And she was happy about it, too!

Tadpole's first pedicure

Then, let me introduce you to my youngest, Tadpole, who is 5 this year. This is my princess. Every convention you hear associated with girls, this one lives and breathes! She loves mani-pedi day, refuses to wear a skirt that isn’t “foofy,” would wear a tiara and high heels every day if I let her, plays with dolls, and collects what she calls “mama stuff” for her baby.  If it sparkles, she loves it! She is drawn to makeup and “smelly stuff,” and wants me to share mine every morning before school. Her favorite color is pink! She loves Monster High, Ever After High, and My Little Pony.  She’s only interested in Legos because they’ve started making Monster High kits! She sings, plays her bright pink guitar like a rock star, and even named her guinea pig, “Princess.” What did she want to be for Halloween? The Queen of Hearts! That skirt was so thick in tulle she took up about 3 feet of space when she stood up!

Now, time to stop here. After that last diatribe about my oldest daughter, you’re expecting me to rant about her “girlishness.” You’re not going to find that, I’m afraid. You see, that’s who she is. She is all about everything that is “fantastic” and I refuse to make her feel bad for that, any more than I make her sister feel bad for her dinosaur addiction! No one will ever pick on her for not being girly enough. No one will ever shake their head at her for not being what they expect and she’ll never have that “I don’t fit in” moment like her sister. My little general will tell you exactly what’s wrong with that idea, anyway. Everyone accepts Tadpole, everyone adores Tadpole. I’m glad for that, in a big way, though a small part of me knows that, some day, she’s going to find the people that don’t accept her or don’t like her and it’s going to hurt her very deeply. Like her mother, she feels every negative thing soul-deep. You fuss at her for ANYTHING, even something small like not putting her plate in the sink, and she’ll squish up her face and cry. She’s not trying to manipulate you, either. She’s genuinely upset that you’re angry with her! I fear for her heart in the years to come, I do.

AND IT’S FINE!

Do you know why it’s fine? Because I firmly believe in letting my girls be whatever monster they want to be! I make sure the oldest one is wearing underwear and that the youngest has something on her legs when it’s cold, but otherwise, they are their own people. Just as they should be! It’s my job as their mother to help make them comfortable in their own skin, to accept themselves for the person they chose to become, to not be influenced by what people think they “should” be doing, but by what they’re comfortable with doing. I’m not here to be their friend and I make sure they are adhering to common decency expectations (“please,” “thank you,” “yes, ma’am,” “no, sir,”… that’s the least of it!). I’m teaching them to be hard working, to not expect things to be given to them, and to be sympathetic to the needs of others. I’m (trying) to teach them organization and clean spaces (hahaha… trying to teach myself, too!). What I refuse to teach them, however, is that society’s version of what is acceptable is correct. Why? Because it’s not. Not even close. What is acceptable? Acceptance, itself.

For those of you who know my girls, please take this to heart. They do not conform to society’s ideals. I’m making sure they don’t even know what those are. But, if their manners are lacking, please point it out! I need them to hear that it’s not acceptable from someone else, too, so they know I’m not just making it up. If their behavior is not in keeping with the fundamental idea of treating people with kindness, I want to know!

I am a very nice person. I avoid confrontation ALL THE TIME! However, if you try to tell Peanut she’s not normal, I will be all over you. If you try to tell Tadpole that she’s too girly, I will make you wish you’d kept your opinions to yourself. I am ruthless when it comes to my girls. Let there be no mistake. They, and you, are completely free to…

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Until next time,

~Tiff

 

Posted in Growth Mindset, Optimum Health

Implementing Growth Mindset-Affirmations

I’m coming at this from three different angles, so I really hope I don’t confuse the crap out of you. Heck, I hope I don’t confuse the crap out of ME! You see, I’m in a unique place of needing to adopt this for myself, needing to make sure both of my daughters understand it and believe it, and to get it into my class’s heads, too. Twenty-eight people! All at the same time!

NO PRESSURE, TIFF!

So, the easiest way to start this, once you understand that your brain CAN grow and that you CAN make your memory better, which WILL enhance your learning no matter how old you are or how “bad” at something you believe yourself to be, is to BELIEVE something good about yourself. Affirmations have been popular for years! That whole concept of “if you believe it, you can do it,” and “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right*,” mentality has been true since… well, I’m 38 and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t told this, so… yeah. In fact, here’s a little motivational video to drive home my point:

I love Youtube!

How does that affect growth mindset? Well, that part is easy. If you hear something often enough, you’ll believe it’s true. In education, we’ve been trained that if a child hears that they’re good at something, they’ll strive to prove it. If they hear that they’re bad at something, and that being bad at that thing is ok, then they’ll only live up to that expectation. So, saying, “I’m bad at Math,” around your kids subliminally tells them that it’s ok to not try to get any better at Math and that if you struggle at it, then you’re obviously not good at it and that’s ok. I know what you’re thinking. “Maybe they are bad at Math, Tiff.” Yeah, no.

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I have a sneaky suspicion I’m going to use that one, a lot.

You see, just because you struggle with it, doesn’t mean you’re bad at it. It means… nothing. It means you need to work on it in order to get better at it. Those people who seem to be “good” at it? I’ll bet you a dollar to a doughnut, they’ve had the groundwork for that skill laid for them prior to being introduced to this. They may not have even realized it was being laid down! Those Kindergarten teachers are TRICKY with those “play” centers, people! Heck, I’M TRICKY, too! Third graders don’t realize I’ve just taught them algebra until they are in pre-algebra and the light bulb goes off! Something as simple as letting a 4 year old hand the money to a cashier to pay for something and get change back can grossly affect how they handle the concept of money, later! It seems silly, sure, but you’ll be surprised how those little minds are processing that! It’s a beautiful thing!

Think about all the stories you hear about doctors who tell patients they’re never going to walk again and you see them dancing at their own wedding two years later? Or the cancer patient who had 6 months to live celebrating 20 years of being cancer free? They believed they could… so they did! Does it work all the time? No. It’s not a miracle cure for everything that ails you. However, it does make the pill easier to swallow, the physical therapy worth the pain, and the research paper worth researching!

Let’s get this entry back on track, now that I’ve (hopefully) proven my point about this muscle between our ears!

Short recap… NO ONE IS BAD AT MATH! 

There, all better.

How am I going to apply that knowledge? That’s where we start getting our fingers in some dirt, my friends! First, we have to find the things that we believe about ourselves that illustrate a FIXED mindset (or actually believe that you can’t do something).

For my class:

I’m going to start this for the month with my class using whole class affirmations. I am going to work with them in small groups to incorporate the affirmation in a weekly format to their days, complete with meetings to discuss how they worked towards their affirmation, whether they actually believed it, and how it made their week easier/harder. I’m going to work with each kid towards finding their own affirmations and working towards making them truths by the end of the year. It’s a tall order, but I think it’s worth it. That’s what my mornings and dismissal times are for, right?

For my children:

I started them with affirmations over the summer and they’ve sort of fallen to the wayside. My youngest one still randomly pulls one and grins when I read it to her, so maybe they’re working for her. My oldest, on the other hand, needs the most encouragement and has the lowest self-esteem. I’m going to make pulling that sucker out of the bowl every Monday morning a part of the routine. I’m going to make incorporating that affirmation into their day a daily discussion that we have both going to school and coming home. That’s what our commute is for, right?

For myself:

This may be the hardest part, so doing it may be an affirmation in itself. I’m going to chose an affirmation every week and work on that thing, just the same as I expect the girls to do. I’ll let them hold me accountable for it, too. I’ll write mine down every Monday, too. I’ll create a page in my bullet journal for each week with that phrase and explanations of how I proved it all week. I’ll even share it with you, whoever is reading this blog.

And since this is posting on Tuesday, I’ll even give you a heads up… my affirmation for this week is:

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Until next time!

~Tiff

Posted in 2017, About me, Conversation Time

Conversation Time-2

This week’s Question is:

 

When and where were you born? Describe your home, your neighborhood, and the town you grew up in.

 

I’m not exactly going to tell you where I was born, but I will totally tell you about the first place I remember every single detail about… Base Housing in New Orleans. We moved there when I was 4 and moved away when I was 8, so there are some really good memories in there.

First, the building we lived in was one of three apartment style buildings that made up one of the many horseshoes around a circular road. Inside the center of all of those horseshoes was a HUGE playground, the likes of which I wish my kids had access to these days. The buildings had condo-styled apartments, with common spaces downstairs and bedrooms upstairs, and smaller apartments that were just on top or bottom. Ours was a 3 bedroom, 2 and a half bath condo. My sister and I shared a big room on the back side of the building, my brother was in the room next to us, then the Master was on the front side of the building. There was a full bathroom in the hallway outside my parents’ room, and they had a bathroom, too (it might’ve just been a half bath, I honestly don’t remember!). There was another half bath downstairs. We had both a dining room and a breakfast nook, a living room, and foyer on the first floor. There was also a storage shed outside and to the right of the front door, AND, I believe, we were allowed two parking spaces out front (one covered and one not).

In the center of our little horseshoe was a big grassy space that was surrounded by more parking spaces. It was kind of shaped like a mushroom, so that’s what we called it. I spent more time in that grass than I did anywhere else. My best friend lived across the mushroom in the building opposite ours and another friend lived on the end of that same building. We would go out and play every day, school or no, and be outside until Thundercats came on. Then one of our parents would open the door and yell that it was time for our show and we’d all pile into that house for 30 minutes. I don’t know if it was arranged or planned, whose house we were hanging out in that day, but the other parents never had to wonder where we were at that time. We’d be out again when it was done.

The sidewalk fronted all three buildings and connected each horseshoe together, too. One side had steps that adjusted for the height of the buildings from the main street, the other side had a handicapped ramp.

During the year, the Charles Chips truck would come through the neighborhood and deliver the shipments of potato chips and cookies we looked forward to every month. My mom went to Home Interior parties and I vividly remember the stacks of petit fours I would devour while all the kids were packed into a bedroom to play or watch TV during the parties. On base, there was a bowling alley and a movie theater, both of which we frequented. My parents were in a bowling league and we used to go see movies for 50 cents during the summer, too. I saw Return of the Jedi in that that theater; The Last Unicorn, too. We’d go to the BX, which shared the parking lot with the bowling alley and movie theater, stock up on junk food, and go have a picnic in front of the front row where we could stretch out and munch food.

There was a creek across the street that we used to go craw dad fishing in, and we’d feed the craw dads to the fish in the huge tank my dad had in the living room. They were oscars as long as your forearm and they’d scare the crap out of anyone but my dad. Watching big burly guys scream and flinch when those fish came to take food out of your hand was entertaining!

So many memories I have of New Orleans and most of them surrounding that apartment. I hope yours are as happy!

Until next time,

~Tiff

Posted in 2017

Mourning the loss of a great man…

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This has been a difficult week for my family. On Tuesday, we lost the patriarch of the Glover clan, my Granddaddy. He was nearly 95 years old and has lived a long and vivid life. Losing him was still a rather hard blow to us, though. His health had deteriorated over the last few months. He was undergoing treatment at a rehabilitation facility, as a matter of fact, when he passed away. In a horrible part of my head, I was preparing myself for this and had been for years. I told my friend that I didn’t trust Granddaddy getting better. He was getting better because he’d made peace with leaving. I was hoping he’d do the usual thing and show me how wrong I was, because he was certainly stubborn enough to do that. He didn’t, though.

Granddaddy isn’t someone I talk about very often, never really has been. In the past few days, I’ve been trying to pull on memories of him, anecdotes I could share with my kids, and I realized that I’m woefully short on them. Not because I wasn’t around him, though, honestly, I wasn’t around him overmuch. Moving to Savannah didn’t help that, either. I realized, though, through some soul searching and racking my heart for what I DID feel for the man, that the reason I couldn’t come up with but a few stories to tell was because… he was just there. He was my granddaddy. He was always tall and reserved, but never withdrawn. His love for his family was never in question, you never doubted for a second that he loved you and was pretty sure you were responsible for hanging some of those stars in the heavens (not the moon, though. That was all Grandmama.). The memories I have of him are of him telling stories about the people he grew up with, fought with in the war, or the trouble his kids got into growing up. My Dad was particularly good at that last one, so those stories always made me laugh and his war stories always proved that Dad got that gene honestly!

He was proud of his Irish and Native American heritage. It was a pride he instilled in his kids, his oldest, particularly. It has always been a source of pride for us and we owe that to him. He never focused on any negative issues surrounding his heritage and, instead, made every one of them into some amusing anecdote that made you smile with pride, too. Stubbornness? Temper? Iron-lined stomach? Mile-high alcohol tolerance? Charisma? The man had all of that in spades! No one, except his wife, ever complained about how long Granddaddy could talk, and that was yet another gift his bloodline carried on from generation to generation.

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I could talk about his time in World War II. I could talk about his many years of working with the printers in Smyrna. I could talk about a thousand things that made him the man he was, but that’s not the man I grew up loving. The man I grew up loving was a giant of a man, well over six feet tall and broad shouldered enough to make you think he was taking over for Atlas some day. He had a dark complexion and jet black hair, with these brown eyes that I never saw hold anything but love in them. His favorite phrase was “and the like,” and he could charm his way into a Hooters like no one I’ve ever met. I’ll tell you a few stories about him, though they will never do the wonderful man I love justice. Be prepared to laugh and shake your head at them, though. I get that part honestly, too.

Story Time:

He lost most of his vision before they moved from Blue Ridge to Jasper, but when no one could get his Cadillac out of the garage, damned if he didn’t grab the keys and do it himself! What’s more, he did it using only his peripheral vision and didn’t so much as scratch the paint!

When we were stationed in New Orleans, we’d drive up for Christmas and stay with my grandparents. My grandmother had bought all four of her grandchildren these Snoopy sleeping bags that snapped up the side. She’d lay all four of us grandkids out in her formal living room, where the tree was set up until they’d enclosed the carport many years later. We were so excited to be there, sleeping on the floor in those sleeping bags at Christmas time, that sleep was a JOKE! We’d laugh and talk and the adults would get so irritated with us. After our parents’ coming in did no good, Granddaddy came in and scared the sleep out of us. You see, according to my Granddaddy, there was a witch who lived in the woods behind their house. At night, she would walk the neighborhood and find the kids who were still awake. She would haul them off with her, to her cabin in the woods, where she would boil them in her big pot and TURN THEM TO SOAP! Now, to a quartet of kids, this was the worst possible thing, next to being turned into broccoli or turnips. He’d go back to bed and we’d try harder to stay quiet. Just when we’d nearly given up on that, the breeze would blow outside. They had a gas light on the porch, which flickered. They had holly bushes lining the front of the porch. There was a street light across the street, but at an angle, so every shadow was elongated. They even had a porch swing that would creak when it moved. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. The breeze moved the holly branches, the gas light flickered adding some yellow glare to the shadows as the swing creaked and the branches scratched the porch railing… we were SURE SOAPY SALLY WAS COMING TO GET US! Needless to say, we were quiet, because we didn’t want her to know we were still awake. The next thing we knew, it was morning! HE WON!

Yeah, that was my Granddaddy.

Now, he’s sleeping in heaven, leaving these memories behind to keep us warm as a winter storm threatens to roll us over. I’m glad he isn’t hurting, anymore. I’m glad he’s resting, finally. I’m glad he’s with his brother and mom and son. I know he’s watching over us, shaking his head at us as much as we’re shaking our heads at him. So, this is my goodbye to my Granddaddy. I won’t be able to attend his funeral, due to some rotten timing. I will, however, wear his love in my heart for the rest of my life. I only pray I can leave my kids and their kids with this same feeling when it’s my turn to go.

To quote a Randy Travis song from WAY back… “It’s a love without end, Amen.”

 

Until we meet again, Granddaddy…

I love you.

~Tiff

 

Posted in 2017, About me, Growth Mindset, Motherhood, Optimum Health, Tired of being Tired, Word of the Month

My Word for the January 2017: Growth

I’ve decided, rather than pick a word for the whole year, I’m going to pick one for each month and work towards achieving that word by the end of it. I’m going to tailor my Level 10 Life towards that word, in the hopes that using that word as a focus will help me move towards achieving it.

My word for this month is 7bd1f3842c7da29a4d2e0ef6fad3dfdc.

Dictionary.com defines growth as: the act or process, or a manner of growing; development; gradual increase.

So, how does that apply to the Level 10 Life concept? Well, there are 10 areas of the L10L concept and all you have to do is apply that word to each one. Here is an example circular spread I found online (here) to show you the 10 areas:

wheel-of-life

 

Well, let’s walk through it:

Area 1- Family and Friends= Growing my relationship with my family and friends has a lot to do with interacting with them. I’m going to do this a few ways this month: dating my family, writing letters to my brother and to a friend I’ve been horrible about keeping up with, and continuing to pray for their well being each night.

Area 2- Personal Growth and Development= the word is right there, people! In my case, I’m going to do this by working my way through Growth Mindset trainings and books to get as close to proficient in it as possible! I will probably have to put off starting my Masters until Summer so I can afford it, which makes me angry, but… nothing I can do about that.

Area 3- Spirituality= I need to learn how to meditate. Research and implementation will begin this week. In some ways, this can be Personal Growth, too, so there’s that!

Area 4-Finances= I suck with money, let’s just get that out, now. I pay my bills, but the rest… yeah. This will be the year that changes. On January 1st, I set up a savings account and I will put money in it every time I get paid. My goal is to have $1,000 sitting in that account for emergencies by the end of the year. I’m growing the habit of being conscious of money. I also need to get back on the coupon bandwagon. That’s another goal on my 100 things list!

Area 5- Career/Business= I’m applying that Growth Mindset to my daily life, even in my classroom. My class will be learning it with me, and I will try to take each day with the opportunity to grow in mind in my classroom. There’s so much to learn from each class. I need to remember that, too.

Area 6-Significant Other= I’m going to date my husband and spend time with him, just us!

Area 7-Fun & Recreation= I’m doing some work this winter learning about plants and seeds. You may not consider it fun, but I totally do. I’m dating my family, which is, by definition, fun. I’m also working on my 100 things list, which has a ton of fun things on it. My growth in this area is mostly in trying things and getting my backside off the couch!

Area 8- Contribution/Giving= A donation to the United Way is taken out of my paycheck every two weeks. That’s rather passive. I want to grow in this area, too. I’d like to attack the people at school, honestly. Start a “Random Acts” kind of thing where I just do something nice for a random person. I like seeing people’s faces when they are on the receiving end of it. I handed the guy I buy my newspapers from an extra $20 the other day. He’s a really nice guy who caught me in a math blunder and, instead of being a jerk about it, he was actually very gracious in his correction. I owed him some of that money, but, more importantly, I know he needs the money and I had it to spare. The smile on his face was totally worth it.

Area 9- Health/Fitness= I fell off the wagon with my health plan in the last few months and I need to get back on it. Since it’ll be easier once my schedule is back to normal, I will start this when I get back to work. I also want to hit 10K steps every day and to do that I’ll need to go for a walk every evening. There’s a really nasty weather system moving through this week, so I also need to clean up my treadmill and get it moved into the house so I can actually use it. This is my growth area here this month.

Area 10-Physical Environment= Holy cow! I need to get my physical space back in order. Something I’ve learned about depression, mostly by living it, is that when it hits you, your physical space goes to hell. My motivation for putting things away was nil for three months. At home, at school… I couldn’t keep up with it. I’m in a better place than I was, so now I’m going to tackle it. Christmas started the fix-up in my house, so now it will spread to my classroom, too. I want it all done by the end of the month.

 

 

So, there it is! My plan for my Level 10 Life with the focus of Growth this month. I’ll reflect on this when I choose next month’s word. Come play along with me!

What’s your word this month? How are you working towards accomplishing it?

Until next time!

~Tiff