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BY Amanda

03/01 Direct Link
I'm reminded of a story about a senior citizen who moved into a nursing home. As she was escorted to her room, the nurse was pointing out all the benefits and attributes of her new home. The new occupant smiled and said "that's ok dear, I already love it". The nurse was puzzled and asked how this could be possible as the newcomer hadn't been shown around yet. She replied, "I made up my mind to love it before I came."
 
Life is all about perception and choice. No matter the challenge they prevail.
03/02 Direct Link
I have decided to do something different with my entries for this month. I used to be a prolific journal writer. These days 100 words is about my limit. It's not that I"m not interested, but with my commitments totally close to 100 hours a week, there just isn't any other time available. One of the reasons why I used to write a journal is for my family (and their family) to be able to read who I am and what is special to me. So, I have decided that this month my entries will be dedicated for them.
03/03 Direct Link
I asked you to be mindful of your language the other day because I'd rather you swore than blasphemed. You said that you didn't believe in God and I told you that was fine, but I do. I thought about it later and realised that the statement "I believe in God" is probably the understatement of the century, because I've had a relationship with Him for as long as I can remember. I don't just believe in Him, I know Him. He's literally the father of my Spirit. That knowledge is one of the most precious things I have. 
03/04 Direct Link

Honesty's really important to me. It takes a brave person to be totally honest, especially with themselves. I think that's one of the hardest things to do - mostly because I don't think we often realise we're lying to ourselves. Being strong enough to admit when you're wrong and sincerely apologise and try to make things right is a virtue that is sadly lacking in today's society. Don't fall victim to the temptation to justify the things you do wrong. Wrong is wrong and you can't move forward until you acknowledge that, and two wrongs never ever make a right!

03/05 Direct Link
Your character is yours to build as you choose. Circumstances will affect what happens to you, but you choose (sometimes unconsciously, I'll admit) how you respond. If you learn that, you will go far in the world. No one else can damage your character. They can dent your reputation for a while, but who you really are will always come out in the end. Be true to yourself. Make sure you walk the talk, whatever that might be for you. Remember that kindness, courtesy, patience, a gentle word, empathy and tolerance are never weaknesses.
03/06 Direct Link
When life gets tough, as it does for all of us from time to time, there are many ways that you can respond. By all means take a little while to acknowledge the pain, no one expects you not to feel or to be a robot. But then, the most effective way I have learned to deal with the tough times in life, is to look outwards. You can make such a huge difference just by observing others needs and sometimes just following your gut. Kindness really does make not only the recipient but the giver feel better - I promise!
03/07 Direct Link
I have a sign on the pin board over my desk that says "Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle". Unfortunately, while I really agree with the sentiment, I don't do this half as well as I'd like to. People don't wear a sign explaining all their challenges so we can judge why they do things, occasionally we might be privvy to additional knowledge, but generally we're not. I've never failed to be grateful for the times when I bit back an unkind, but probably justified response, but I've often regretted the alternative.
03/08 Direct Link

Choice and accountability are metaphorically two opposing ends of the same stick. They are inextricably linked and you just can't have one without the other. While the right to choose is something that I would fight passionately for, let's not forget that every choice has a consequence and while we are usually free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences. Neither are they always obvious. Some choices, even little ones, have far reaching consequences that go on for years, and no one promised they would either be logical or fair. That's just how it is...

03/09 Direct Link
For my boys...

Today's entry is the most important of all. If you remember nothing else, I want you to remember these things.

I love you - with all my heart and soul. There is never anything that you could do that would stop me from loving you.

I believe in you - you are amazing, awesome men. You are true and loyal friends and show integrity, kindness, love and compassion. You have huge potential, more than you can imagine. You will achieve great things in your lives. Never stop striving!

I look at you and know I did something right. 
03/10 Direct Link
I was talking with some friends on the weekend about ways to combat depression and general ill health, and surprisingly we all came up with the same solutions. Firstly - we all felt better when we kept busy. While it might be tempting to take it easy and pamper yourself when you're not well, the outcome is not positive for me (and apparently for others).There is something very therapeutic about having a reason to get out of bed in the morning and having things that need to be done, and I feel better and sleep better if I've accomplished things.
03/11 Direct Link
I rush around so much that I sometimes forget to just take some time out to relax. That might sound like a bit of a contradiction to yesterday's entry but it's not really. Mostly for me, relaxing means doing something different that I enjoy. Life is for living! You only get one shot at it and so I try to make the most of every single day.I'll never get today (or this moment) back again. But, it's important to have balance and taking time out to enjoy the scenery (whatever that might equate to for you) is important.
03/12 Direct Link
Stepping outside of our comfort zone is by it's very definition uncomfortable, but uncomfortable isn't necessarily bad. I drove onto a ferry today. That might not seem like a big thing for most people, but it was a first for me, and not entirely comfortable. I expected to just drive forward and be allocated a parking space, but they packed us in like sardines and it was organized chaos. I was a bit scared that I wouldn't be able to get out and didn't want to look silly. But, as usually happens my fears were unfounded and all was well.
03/13 Direct Link
I wouldn't say that I'm overly sentimental, in fact, I've been told that I'm quite hard at times. I hide my soft side quite well most of the time, and so the tears were very out of character for me. It was such a magnificant specimen, from head to tail it almost filled the entire lane. If it had stayed very still, I might have managed to miss it. I'd have tried very hard to. We were travelling at over 100 km/hr and I couldn't swerve. But it ran and the island now has one less goanna. That's sad.
03/14 Direct Link
One only has to look at me to know that food and I are very good friends. I try to be good but there's just too many yummy experiences out there, and good food is a nice experience for me. Unfortunately, lack of discipline will eventually catch up with you. Those who argue that we should eat, drink and be merry and enjoy today without thought of tomorrow skip the bit about having a crap quality of life before you die. It's not an instant process. You only get one body and it's smart to take good care of it.
03/15 Direct Link

Not that I'm unwell and my body is giving up. It's not - in fact, apart from not being able to shake a bout of bronchitis for some weeks my body is holding up quite well. But, for all that, I'm carrying a few more pounds than is comfortable nowadays. I'm a little more breathless playing with my grandchildren than I'd like and the lift is a much more comfortable option than the stairs. However, middle age is not a stage my body is particularly enjoying. What is wonderful is the sense of self and confidence that I now enjoy.

03/16 Direct Link
I wish I had been more self-assured when I was younger. I missed out on so much because I was just too self conscious to pursue it. My mother's voice in my head was probably meant to urge me on, instead it reinforced my shortcomings. I hope I haven't done that to my children, or my grandchildren. I hope that they can seize every moment, embrace every challenge, enjoy every day and find power in the knowledge that I believe in them, see their potential, but accept without reserve who they are. I hope I offer encouragement but not pressure.
03/17 Direct Link
I've had a tough time at work lately. Things have been said about me that are both untrue and unkind. I've tried hard to rise above them but they hurt a lot. Unkind words can't be taken back. Once they're said there's no way they can be unsaid, and it takes a concerted effort not to have them taint my day and stay in my head. They also affect other people's perceptions of who you are. Gossip is insidious and unfair, especially as the gossiper usually remains an anonymous and silent enemy. Don't gossip - it's not cool!
03/18 Direct Link
A friend of mine emailed me today. He is slowly giving up something he loves because of the criticism of another. I stopped singing for years when I was first married because my husband made jokes about it. I don't know if he meant it unkindly or if he just thought it was a joke, but the end result was the same. Never let someone else steal your dream! Other people's perception of you is just that - it's their perception. It isn't necessarily accurate. I'm not saying don't try to improve yourself, but don't let others dictate who you are!
03/19 Direct Link
Today is Saturday and I had a very different day planned. My plan was to study until around 6pm and then go out to dinner. D had the opportunity to work this morning so I spent a wonderful time with my grandsons having breakfast at McDonalds and watching them play on the playground equipment and then spent the afternoon with a friend who just needed some company. I will pay for it later as there is a considerable amount of necessary work that I didn't get done, but life's like that some days. People are more important than things!
03/20 Direct Link
It's important to have a day of rest each week. Whether like me, it has religious significance or not, it's still important to take time out. I always come back to work more refreshed, more renewed and accomplish more for having had a day off. Last semester I worked straight through for a few weeks trying to get good enough grades to pass a subject - it felt like the subject from hell. At the end of 6 weeks I was physically and mentally exhausted. Taking time out is really important. Today I had a long nap and it was great!
03/21 Direct Link
I'm finding it really tough going at work at the moment, but in every challenge there are things to learn. I'm learning patience, endurance and perseverence. I'm also learning to rely on my own assessment of myself rather than obtaining validation from others. I'm a good person and I do my job to the best of my ability. I'm not perfect and I never promised I would be, but I am good at what I do. It's hard not to be angry at injustice, but no one promised a fair world. The key now is to learn from the experience.
03/22 Direct Link
A good rule of thumb (although there are obvious exceptions) is "if all else fails - then laugh". A good sense of humour will get you through when life seems bleak. Often we can't change our circumstances. We can really only change how we perceive them, or how we handle them. Now, I'm not suggesting that the next time someone tells you they lost their family pet or have a terminal illness you should laugh hysterically, but in general, most things in life are more bearable if a little humour is introduced. Humour has got me through some very sticky times. 
03/23 Direct Link
Hobbies are really important. Most of us don't have jobs that allow us to pursue our creative side, and we really do all have one. Yours might not be a conventional creative side, but I'm betting whatever it is, it's in there just waiting for the opportunity to be seen or heard. Whatever it is, try to find just a little time to allow it to come through. Your life will be much richer for it. Not all hobbies are creative, I know, but most of them have some kind of creativity to them if you look hard enough.
03/24 Direct Link
As a child I got love and approval horribly intertwined. To me they were inseparable entities. My parents demand for perfection somehow translated into a belief that you weren't loveable, or worthy of being loved if you weren't perfect. As I was far from perfect - and never will be- I've spent many years striving for the unattainable and devaluing myself because of it. A few years ago I finally came to the realization that I would never be the scholar my mother demanded or the perfect daughter my father demanded and stopped trying and accepted the absence of their love.
03/25 Direct Link
My love for my children and my grandchildren is unconditional. It doesn't depend on how they behaved, how they look or what grades they get. Their job is what they do, not who they are. I am not invested in their successes and not disappointed by their failures. I rejoice with them with things go well, and comfort them when things aren't so great, but their efforts are not a reflection of my parenting ability. We are each individuals of infinite worth. Some things we do well, others not so well, but that's what we do, not who we are.
03/26 Direct Link
I'm having a wobbly day today and it's not pleasant. On days like this it's important to remember that it's just a day, not a week, a year or a lifetime, which is what it can feel like. I manage to generalise very well at times and it's really unhealthy. I can go from "I don't understand that" to "I'm stupid" to "I'm hopeless" in almost a split second and it's dumb! I'm not dumb but the action is. There are only 5 things I can say with confidence, I'm human, alive, complex, unique, and fallible. I'm a HACUF.
03/27 Direct Link

For all my advice about balance I've had the most tiring weekend trying to finish an assignment and incorporate friend and family time. That means that "sleep time" has not been in balance with everything else and I'm tireder than I want to admit. As I get older 4 hours sleep just isn't enough, in fact, sometimes 8 hours sleep isn't enough. The problem is that my schedule doesn't allow for 8 hours most nights. I could cut back on what I do and sleep more but then I'd miss out on some things. So, really, tired isn't so bad.

03/28 Direct Link
Somebody yelled at me in an email today. I think if you have a problem with a person, unless you need written evidence of the interraction, then at least have the decency to speak to them. In this instance, I'd made an honest mistake with someone's roster. The particular dates aren't until the beginning of May so it isn't as if there isn't time to correct it. When I had calmed a little, I wanted to write back and say for goodness sake - chill out!! Instead, I was polite and apologetic. Some days professionalism has a high price.
03/29 Direct Link
I'm such a procrastinator! I start off really well at the beginning of each semester, but it's hard going and I generally get behind. I have an assignment due in a few days and I'm about a third of the way through. It's complex and it will take a considerable amount of time. If I had been diligent, it would have been done by now and I could still be ahead. Instead, I've put it off while I've done other less important but more pleasant things and I'll pay for it over the weekend. Sometimes, I'm just not smart!
03/30 Direct Link
If you say you're going to do something then you should do it. It's really frustrating when you can't count on people. I guess we've all done it and I should be more sympathetic, but it was really important to me and it happens a lot. It's important that people know that they can rely on you. But, can you ever really rely on someone else? Sooner or later they will let you down because they are human, and sometime you'll do the same - either to them or to another. But it shouldn't stop you from trying not to.
03/31 Direct Link
Final thought for the month...

This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good, but what I do today is important, because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.

When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in it's place something I have traded it for. I want it to be gain, not loss, good and not evil, success and not failure, in order that I shall not forget the price I have paid for it.