The Daily Quote: Sick

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Sick

by Shel Silverstein

“I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay,
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash, and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more–that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut, my eyes are blue–
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke–
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb,
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is–what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is—Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

Today is the first day back at my job after a five day Thanksgiving weekend. Today every one is “sick,” and I am the school Nurse. Granted, some of the children I am seeing are genuinely ill; hiding diarrhea accidents beneath jackets tied around their waists, or green-faced with nausea, or sweaty, pale, & coughing up buckets of mucus.

Mostly, though, everyone is “sick.” I like to call it “I-can’t-itis.” Sometimes it’s more aptly named, “I-have-a-report-due-today-itis,” or a severe case of “Monday.”

I see it every Monday, especially after a long weekend, & fondly recall this poem by Shel Silverstein. Here’s to hoping everyone’s better by Saturday.

Make it a great week. 🙂

The Daily Quote: Hope and Faith

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“Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” – Vaclav Havel

I find this quote to be incredibly true. Along with a passage from the Bible that became a cherished source of comfort & strength for me seven years ago today.

“Now Faith is being sure of what we Hope for and certain of what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1.

These two quotes completely explain a mentality that I have by the grace of God learned & developed over the past seven years, as the Mother of a Micro-preemie.

Today marks my first-born child’s seventh birthday. 🙂 Seven years and 1 month ago, I was pregnant for the first time. At almost 20 weeks pregnant, I was excited, looking forward to finding out the gender of my baby. Sevettn years and 1 month ago, my water broke too soon. I was admitted to the hospital where I spent days & nights wondering if the life inside of me would end, what I might have done to cause it, & praying for her to be given a chance to live. My daughter came 4 weeks later, weighing 1 pound 4 ounces. She was so tiny & fragile, but in my eyes, she was absolutely spectacular. Miraculous. Beautiful. A gift from my Creator.

Several times before her birth, I sat in the hospital room, trying to swallow oceans of information, statistics, emotions, & advice from Doctors, faced with the decision to terminate my pregnancy. The specialists did not expect her to live, and should she happen to survive, they predicted she would suffer with multiple lifelong disabilities and face little chance of walking, talking, or living a normal life.

After she was born, we weren’t able to hold her for the first month. She began having seizures, was sedated, and we were again faced with the decision of ending her care (turning off life support). It was that day that God truly tested me; teaching me & proving to me the meaning & power of Faith and Hope.

I had Hope that my Daughter would pull through if it was within God’s plan. That Hope also encompassed the possibility that she would not, & that God would allow me comfort & understanding in His divine plan & reason for her short life. Hope meant that no matter which way the cards fell, that it would make sense & become clear. That was what Hope meant to me.

I was profoundly tested in my declaration of Faith in the Almighty God. In my choices to hang on by my fingernails, over this cliff of uncertainty, as my daughter’s tiny, short life hung in the balance. As I had watched her survive & struggle to live, all at once I realized that nothing really ever hung in the balance. Faith, as I finally understood it, as it concretely unfolded before me, truly was a sense of certainty in that which I could not see. I had blessed assurance that my baby‘s life was not hanging in the balance, but resting securely in the beautiful, perfect, divine plan of the Almighty. There existed not one speck of insecurity or uncertainty in her situation, but that which existed within Me.

I chose to shed it. Toss it. Let it go.

And I have seen miracles every day ever since. ❤

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The Daily Quote: Change

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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This quote by spiritual & political leader, Mahatma Gandhi, has long been one of my favorites. Alongside the Serenity Prayer & many quotes by the amazing Author & Poet Mchaya Angelou, these words have inspired & moved me to change my own condition, to perpetually grow & improve, & to be a positive & uplifting influence to others.

These influential people taught me, during some of the most difficult times in my life; as an adolescent walking the fine balance between obedience & independence, that I was not powerless & at the mercy of abuse, oppression, & hopelessness.

I learned to be the change in my world. I learned that I had the power within me to change how the negative aspects of my life affected me.

  • I wished adults had been patient with me; I chose to embody patience. I tried harder to listen & understand people before reacting. I tried hard not to become a carbon copy of the people who had hurt me.
  • So often as a child, I wished someone would notice how much I was hurting. As I grew up, I chose to reach out when I saw other kids sad or hurt. I often listened & comforted others, & it began to heal my own wounds.

That which I could not change, began to foster changes in my attitude.

  • I awoke at an early age to the perception that there were others who were less fortunate than me. I saw other kids who came to school hungry, dirty, & sad.
  • I chose to embrace Gratitude, & to discipline myself to stop complaining.
  • I tried to feel compassion for those who were angry & hurtful. I began to see that their actions were caused by pain, & I understood pain.

It is still a daily practice of discipline for me, as an adult, working to embody the changes I wish to see in my world. I work every day to be what I once so desperately needed as a child – for my own children & as a school nurse, for my patients.

  • I needed patience; I must be patient.
  • I needed respect; I must be respectful & teach my children self-respect.
  • I needed support; I must be encouraging & supportive. I must be aware of the needs of my children, & be open when they come to me.
  • I needed love; I must be loving. Kind. Patient. Understanding. Non-judgmental. Unconditionally loving.
  • I needed someone to smile at me & show me that my world would not always be this dark, scary place. It is my goal to always smile at children. At my children, at my patients, at children in the supermarket, & wherever I see them. Always, always offer a smile. You may be the only one who does.

❤ Peace & Blessings,

Angela

The Daily Quote: Thoughts and Children

m“Every thought we think is creating our future.” – Louise Hay

To apply this quote to ourselves promotes positive thinking & positive growth.

To apply this quote to our children brings forth the profound realization that the thoughts & feelings we induce in them now, from the way we speak to them & look at them, to the attention we do or do not pay them, and the confidence or shame we instill in them, are laying the foundation for their future way of thinking. Ultimately, we are influencing what kind of future they make by the way we are training them to think. One of my favorite poems is by Author, Dorothy Law Nolte, Children Learn What They Live. 

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Children Learn What They Live

If a child lives with criticism,

He learns to condemn

If a child lives with hostility,

He learns to fight

If a child lives with ridicule,

He learns to be shy

If a child lives with shame,

He learns to feel guilty

If a child lives with tolerance,

He learns to be patient

If a child lives with encouragement,

He learns confidence

If a child lives with praise,

He learns to appreciate

If a child lives with fairness,

He learns justice

If a child lives with security,

He learns to have faith

If a child lives with approval,

He learns to like himself

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,

He learns to find love in the world

What a beautiful, empowering thought, as Parents, as teachers, as neighbors, as adults in this world, that we can with merely a glance, a smile, a word, a response…in the tiniest of gestures, have such a significant influence on shaping the thoughts & the future of a child. I can still remember instances when, as a child, something an adult did or said, unbeknownst to them, affected the way I would go on to view myself. Some were good, & others were bad. There are little moments that I still can’t shake, where I was ridiculed or snapped at by a stressed out, busy caregiver, & it affected my self confidence. I can still remember looks that adults gave me that made me feel insecure & stupid. Now, as a Mother, an Aunt, a neighbor, & a school nurse, I am very aware of the affect my actions, expressions, & words have on children, whether I intend to or not. Here is what I have taken from the lessons I have learned:

  1. Always smile at children. In the store, in traffic, coming & going, no matter how busy or stressed you are, smile & admire the fresh, new, beautiful, impressionable creations that God has put in your path. You wouldn’t scowl or roll your eyes at a patch of beautiful flowers, a lovely sunset, or a rainbow. Remember, children are a brand new creation, & any time you encounter them, you are imprinting on them an impression of their own self worth, & the nature of people in their world.
  2. Children are to be seen and heard. Allow them to elaborate. Children are SPONGES! They soak up so much information & ideas, & in order to process all that they are being told & taught, seeing, hearing, & feeling, they need to speak! Think about it. If you went to school & never ever were allowed to speak about what you were learning, & your teacher didn’t talk to you or ask you questions, & you were just expected to absorb everything & then be quiet…there is no way you would have learned! Children need to feel that what they are thinking & what they have to say matters. When they have a thought & we listen, it not only provides validation, it provides reassurance – yes, someone is listening to me. It feels good when you have something to say & you can look over & speak to someone & they listen, nod, and join you in conversation. This also teaches children how to navigate conversation, & with practice they learn the social skills; the give & take of conversation. They can only learn this through Practice.
  3. Children need more Questions than Answers. The conversations are so unbalanced between adults & children. We tell them, we instruct them, we remind them, we teach them. How often do we ask them? And what do we ask them? In middle school, a great source of anxiety (besides the usual adolescent chaos) was the “open-ended” question. This was a question that prompted the student to elaborate on an idea; to explain his/her personal reasoning behind an answer. Growing up in a household where the phrase “children are to be seen & not heard” was said on a near daily basis, I had not been allowed to practice the skills necessary to develop my thoughts & opinions & the ability to express them in an open-ended question or essay. My thoughts & answers were not valued in my home, & therefore, I hadn’t had the opportunity to clearly define what I thought about anything, much less write about it. We need to make it a point to deliberately allow the flow of conversation with children to go in the opposite direction. Ask them questions that allow them to speak their independent opinions & feelings. Ask them what they think of things, how they think something works, & why. This is how they begin to naturally hypothesize about the world around them; to develop ideas, logic & reasoning. And when they have elaborate explanations, listen. Don’t be too busy to spend time listening to a child. Foster confidence in their own ideas & thoughts. That is how they become excellent students, artists, leaders, speakers, & anything else they imagine they can be.

The Daily Quote: Gratitude

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God.

-Thomas Merton

With thoughts of the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, I spotted what I think is an excellent new tradition for my family. We don’t always get pumpkins & when we do, there’s always the question of what to do with them after Halloween is over. Here’s an excellent idea. Each day for the month of November, have each family member add something they are thankful for. At the end of the month, it’s a beautiful reminder of all of the reasons we are grateful & blessed. ❤

Thankful Pumpkin