Page 1- London Bridge is Falling Down… Time to Fix that Thing!

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There are a couple ways to fix things in life- 

In regard to our own personal being, we are responsible for that fix or change. 

In regard to other people, we can only hope to help, if help is wanted. 

In regard to people who do not want to be fixed, or change for the greater good, my advice is to walk away… before your bridge falls down and you can not fix it at all. 

In the children’s nursery rhyme and game, London Bridge is Falling Down, innocent children talk about this bridge which is falling down and then they repeatedly give options for how to fix the uncontrollable. 

They suggest using rocks and stones, but quickly decide that rocks and stones would break down too fast. They suggest using silver and gold but are afraid it will be stolen so they propose a watch man. They question whether the watch man will stay awake so they will give him a pipe so he will stay awake all night… but finally they decide that pipe may break and never actually conclude with a solution. They are unable to collaborate on a way to repair the bridge, which according to Walt Disney was one off of the Great Wonders of the world. 

During a life time, there are so many times we question whether we are making the right choice, whether we are being left out, whether we have made the right choice in order for our bridge to remain standing strong. 

I have come to the conclusion that we can only believe in what today is, because we cannot predict tomorrow. We cannot change what has passed. We cannot change the uncontrollable, we can only be responsible for our own actions. 

Taking the high road is not  always easy, but I believe it is the best road. Your bridge will stand sturdy, through fire, rain, heart break, sorrow and loss if you believe in yourself and the impact you can have on even one other person. 

Be strong. Use your strength to keep that bridge from falling. If it has fallen, use strength, purpose and vision to build it back stronger that it was before. 

London bridge can be built, and never break again. It is all up to you. 

Page 1- The Lists of Life

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I have lists for everything. I have a bucket list. I have a list of beliefs. I have a list of things I intend to accomplish before I turn 40. I have a list of character traits I would like my person to have (which at this point in my life needs to be revisited.) I have a list of songs every person should hear in their lifetime, either because the words are incredibly meaningful or amazing or because the music itself is haunting and alluring. 

Some people think these lists are a little crazy. Some people think they are funny. My students, however, enjoy making their own lists based on my examples. The make them at the beginning of the year with doubt and scepticism and revisit them at the end of the year with awe and acceptance of who they are and who they have become in one simple school year. I explain the importance of lists. 

Lists are important because they change. You can re-order them. No one else can tell you what to put on them and you never have to share them if you don’t want to. Lists can become longer and they can become shorter. Lists are all up to the person creating them. Here is my most important list. This is the list that changes the least, but of course, does change through courses of events in life.

My Beliefs

1. I believe in the power of love. 

2. I believe that children are our future and they should all be given equal access to opportunity. 

3. I believe in second chances. 

4. I believe in the beauty of movement. 

5. I believe that music can cure the pain of a broken heart. 

6, I believe in old souls, new souls and in between souls. 

7. I believe in the gift of giving life. 

8. I believe all little boys AND little girls should learn how to tie a tie. 

9. I believe in the spirit of Santa Claus.

10. I believe that people should not be judged because they choose to love who they want to love. 

11. I believe that tattoos are legit as long as they stand for something and they are in a place you can hide them in case of great job interview. 

12. I believe that people have more than one  soul mate. 

13. I believe that heaven and hell are places that we are taught about but we don’t actually go there. 

14. I believe in hard work. 

15. I believe in true love. 

16. I believe that if you ” build it, they will come.”

17. I believe that positivity breeds positivity. 

18. I believe that monogamy for humans is unnatural and has to be worked at tremendously hard by both parties. 

19. I believe that beauty comes from the soul. 

“Believing take…

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“Believing takes practice.” ~ Madeline L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

Ticky Tack Houses and Believing in What you Stand For

There was a time in my life where my grandmother was very critical and cynical of not only my mother and step-father, but of me and several of my siblings. We were too chubby, the job my step- father had was not good enough and how ON EARTH COULD MY MOTHER POSSIBLY THINK taking in foster children was a good idea. In her [humble] opinion, it was an absurd idea and a waste of resources. My grandfather would tell her to go easy, this was his daughter after all. That did not help, ever. At one point, you see, my grandma was just~ my grandma. 

She played “Katy Cooker” with me and bought me my own cooking utensils so I could do what she was doing in the kitchen. She played (to the best of her high and tight) ability with me like a normal grandma would, until the day I said the words, “I’m full” at her very proper dinner table. That was it… Katy Cooker disappeared that night and I was formally introduced to a new language. I was told THAT NIGHT that I was rude and I was to say, “I’ve had an adequate sufficiency.” Who says that? Well, I do now.. laughing of course and so do my children… with different versions… ” I have been adequately sufficed, or I have been sufficiently adequated.” I find this humorous. My grandma, even now, does not. She has calmed down a bit~ but her BELIEFS remain the same. 

When we moved slightly closer for my step-dad’s job, it was not close enough. However, finally after many years of renting, my parents were able to purchase their own home. I was unhappy about this because I was in middle school and slightly rebellious but I overcame that quickly, realizing this was a good thing. 

My grandparents came to visit for the first time and my grandpa was so proud of my mom for being able to buy this house. Was it beautiful and big and in the Country Club? Absolutely not. We were like Mother Hubbard in shoe. There were a lot of us in a tiny house with one bathroom, but it was ours. 

My grandmother took one look at it and told my mom, “what a ticky tack house!” For the first time ever I heard my mom stand up to her. It felt good. My mom stood firm and let my grandma know that she did not have to be in the center of what my mom believed in. My mom believed in helping others. That belief included buying a home, regardless of the fact that it was not perfect, it was not huge and it was not in Sacramento where my grandparents lived. It was ours. It was filled with love. 

Ultimately, my grandmother did not believe that when my grandfather passed away someday, that we would still be “her family.” She had a funny way of showing that she wanted our love cultivated in her garden! However, we never stopped loving our grandma. We resented her at times, but the love only grew for her and we always let her know. She did not believe in the love my mom instilled in us because she had no children of her own. She was a step-parent and had acted like the step-parents you ready about in V.C. Andrews books. 

Believing does take practice. You have to believe in what you stand for. Sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone to remain true to yourself and what you ultimately believe in because following is much safer than leading. 

When my grandpa did pass away, another hero was lost and we were all devastated. More than anyone, though, my grandma couldn’t pick herself back up. Because we believed in the power of love, we were there. My mom may have shrunk away for a time, only because she too was in an immense amount of pain, but the kids were there. We were there for her because we believed that not only was she our grandma who had been there and adequately loved us, but because in that Ticky Tack house, beliefs were instilled in us that that will live on forever. 

Page 1~ True Heroes

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Unsung Heroes

Unsung Heroes

I think the word hero is often times misinterpreted as something or someone who moves the earth, stops criminals with telepathy and webs and can be easily depicted in comic book form.  Heroes, to me, are people who put others above themselves for the greater good and do not seek to be rewarded.

Our youth understand that firemen/women are heroes. They are directly taught this in school and hopefully by their parents as well. They understand that military personnel are heroes because they protect our country. Hopefully, as they get older, they understand that the men and women who serve our country, regardless of political beliefs also protect their personal freedoms.

There are many “known” heroes that we learn about as we grow up. Sometimes, though, we miss out on the best ones. Sometimes we don’t know we are living, breathing and eating in the same space as one of the greatest heroes of all.

My mom was an amazing, unstoppable, (hard-headed) hero. She was not just a hero to me. She was a hero to more people than even I knew. She was a home to high risk, medically fragile foster children and babies (at least 56.) She was the mother of 9 children, 6 of which she adopted (out of that outstanding number previously stated.) She was a mother to my friends, she was a wealth of knowledge, she was the kind of friend that cannot be replaced, she was the motherly advice you didn’t ask for but got anyway, she was a kind and honest heart , and she was, most importantly, our mother.

My mother’s legacy continues on because not only was she an amazing woman throughout her life, she gave life through death. She was an organ donor. My mom saved people’s lives the night she died. She spent her life saving children.

When she died, she brought peace to other families and fixed other broken hearts in ways only she could by giving the gift of sight, by alleviating the pain of ten years of dialysis, and by helping burn patients, cancer patients …. and the list goes on. There are some days I am certain I see her. I get real close… sometimes I want to reach out and touch the person, or just talk to them to make sure.. but I catch myself and remember~ she is gone. She is a hero. My personal hero who has left me with the gift of strength to deal with adversity and the ability to sing when I want to cry. That is my mom, today is her birthday… a true hero lives on.

Page 1- The Glad Game

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Pollyanna Syndrome- (n) illness caused by a series of either unfortunate or just plain crappy events which happen with increased frequency throughout ones life. 

The Glad Game- (n) A cure; remedy, for those suffering from Pollyanna Syndrome, allowing said sufferer to find sunshine through the clouds, make lemonade out of lemons, and find purpose in every thing that goes awry.

It seems clear now, as an adult, why our parents did some of the things they did while we were growing up. For me, one of those things was “making” me become obsessed with Orphan Annie and Pollyanna. I am positively sure my mother somehow sideswiped me with those movies so I would always have two things occurring in my life. 

  1. I would always remember that somebody, somewhere was in a worse situation than I was, ever… (so basically stop complaining.)
  2. I would always, somehow, try to find the good in people and in the moment or surroundings.

It is often seemingly impossible to find good in every situation, but it is possible to breathe deep, walk away, glance back and remember something sensational about even the most sinister person you have encountered. It is all about perspective. 

It occured to me last night as I was having a very difficult time finding the good anywhere but in my pillow, that I had not shown gratitude or rather, expressed what I was feeling “glad” about in some time.  

A very good friend of mine was asking me what was going on in my life at the time and as I was telling her, she asked how I was possibly holding it all together. At that moment, she decided I should win an award for maintaining sanity through torturous situations… (her words were slightly more offensive!) I told her it was time to play: 

The Glad Game.  

“Well, what on earth do you have to be glad about?!” 

I could list a whole lot of things I am glad about. Having a roof over my head, a car to drive, healthy children, food to eat…. but at this point I was having more fun giving her ACTUAL Pollyanna “what would you do?” scenarios. That, is what I was glad about. I made her laugh and I know she needed to. 

The only way to stay up, when things are looking really dark, is to multiply your negatives until you get a positive.  I promise, there will always be something there to be glad about. 

Did I mention that Pollyannas really piss people off? Purposeful, Promising, Patient, Pollyanna type people usually do. 🙂 Be patient with them too. They really are trying to make the world a nicer place. 

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Page 1

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“… When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” ~ Paulo Coelho

Only time can tell how many stories one person has to tell, or how much information one brain can analyze.  As human beings, as individuals, as teachers, mothers, fathers, religious leaders, politicians, atheists, comedians and ok, even talk show hosts~ it is our job to be story tellers. It is our duty to pass down the First Pages, the highlights, the wonders and the details of our lives for the next generations to come. 

For me, the  journey through my First Pages is one that is not in any sort of order. It is filled with an abundance of love, broken hearted tears that only some people will have to experience in their life time, an extreme amount of gratitude and a persistent urge to absorb more information as I go. I can only become stronger if I learn from my failures and set backs. 

So, First Pages is a map and remembrance and stand up comedy show of errors dedicated to the village that raised me, the pillars of strength that allow me space to lean on, and to wonderful, loving, unique, beautiful young people in my life that guide me and teach me along the way.  

Welcome to my brightly painted,  wildly diverse,  and slightly (ok VERY) dysfunctional journey through life. Image