2012 – A year of discomfort

I found this delightful poem that sums up my year of No Comfort Weekly Challenges. It’s a reminder of WHY it’s good to get uncomfortable.

In setting this challenge for myself, I looked for things that took me down different roads (figuratively and literally),

  • made me expose a bit more of myself,
  • encouraged me to look at other points of views,
  • pushed me to wear clothes that revealed the person underneath,
  • helped me engage in new online connections,
  • directed me to volunteer as an editor,
  • led me to take an Adobe InDesign class,
  • nudged me to leave a job,
  • assisted me with finding a new one –  and so much more.

I met others who took the challenge and followed their adventures as well. It was fun and best of all, it’s part of my psyche now.

Flyfishing
Now if I could only catch something!

Here is the poem – I did not write it but found it on the internet (where else?)

MY COMFORT ZONE
By Author Unknown

I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn’t fail.
The same four walls and busywork were really more like jail.
I longed so much to do the things I’d never done before,
But stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor.

I said it didn’t matter that I wasn’t doing much.
I said I didn’t care for things like commission checks and such.
I claimed to be so busy with the things inside the zone,
But deep inside I longed for something special of my own.

I couldn’t let my life go by just watching others win.
I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength I’d never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone goodbye and closed and locked the door.

If you’re in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true.
Reach for your future with a smile; success is there for you!

Here’s to an exciting and fun filled New Year!

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Who needs Santa anyway?

present1Last January I did something really fun … I went Christmas shopping for me! I found some items that I adored and since they were on sale, I found more items I adored and bought them. I brought them home, wrapped them up and put some love notes on them (to me from Santa) and stuck them in my closet.

Once the tree went up this year, the lovely gifts nestled under it, waiting for me to open them. What was so wonderful was – I didn’t have a clue what was inside. (For once memory failure is a good thing!)

Then the waiting really began… I couldn’t open them alone (duh!) so I waited until I could get someone on Skype to join me in the unfolding of these gifts. Finally I connected with my sister and we enjoyed the unwrapping and excitement of what could possibly be inside. It was a hoot because I really didn’t know what was inside and I loved each and every gift! Sweet!!

Merry Christmas to me, to you and to one and all!

Hope you’re smiling!

Was it only last year I wrote this???

Happily ... after retirement

I adore Christmas and love it even more now that I have a 3-year-old in my life. The lights, songs, glitter and presents are something unique and wonderful in his eyes. Excitement is in the air and the beat of Christmas is palpable.

Santa ClauseA child makes this all real for me in a way that takes me back to when I was a young mother watching my sons giggle with anticipation. And it reminds me of what a wonderful event Christmas was to me as a child. Funny how that goes away when I grow up…and when they grow up and leave the nest.

I’m blessed to have Christmas come alive. I am truly blessed.

I hope your day is filled with light, love and sweetness!

Merry Christmas!

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Newtown, CT is my town

Newtown, CT is my town.

I don’t live there. I’ve never been there. I will never go there but…

I have children. I have a grandson. I have a son who is a teacher. I have many friends who are teachers.

My heart broke for Newtown as it did for the following shootings in 2012:

  • December 11, 2012. On Tuesday, 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts killed 2 people and himself with a stolen rifle in Clackamas Town Center, Oregon. His motive is unknown.
  • September 27, 2012. Five were shot to death by 36-year-old Andrew Engeldinger at Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis, MN. Three others were wounded. Engeldinger went on a rampage after losing his job, ultimately killing himself.
  • August 5, 2012. Six Sikh temple members were killed when 40-year-old US Army veteran Wade Michael Page opened fire in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Four others were injured, and Page killed himself.
  • July 20, 2012. During the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, CO, 24-year-old James Holmes killed 12 people and wounded 58. Holmes was arrested outside the theater.
  • May 29, 2012. Ian Stawicki opened fire on Cafe Racer Espresso in Seattle, WA, killing 5 and himself after a citywide manhunt.
  • April 6, 2012. Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32, shot 5 black men in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in racially motivated shooting spree. Three died.
  • April 2, 2012. A former student, 43-year-old One L. Goh killed 7 people at Oikos University, a Korean Christian college in Oakland, CA. The shooting was the sixth-deadliest school massacre in the US and the deadliest attack on a school since the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
  • February 27, 2012. Three students were killed by Thomas “TJ” Lane, another student, in a rampage at Chardon High School in Chardon, OH. Three others were injured.

This information was found at A Timeline Of Mass Shootings In The US Since Columbine. 

These senseless killings destroy futures, create nightmares, remove security, and leave a lifelong legacy of sadness.  Now that the tears have dried up … I want to know what I can do to make it stop. To prevent the next spree.

I want to help make a difference.

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The Gift of Love During a Time of Sadness

Yesterday I tended to a sick 4-year old grandson. He didn’t wake until 11:30 am. He coughed and was listless. He tugged on his ear. I took him to the doctors to find he had an ear infection and a lung infection. He was really hurting.

Sometime after he woke and after Shrek and Max and Ruby videos, I had a glimpse of live television and found out about the mass shootings in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. All these beautiful children and teachers – all in the right place, doing what they were supposed to be doing and dying in an instant.

I didn’t leave the TV on because it would have held me captive. I didn’t want to explain to my 4-year old why 5-year olds were dead. So, it wasn’t until the evening news that I saw an image of a young woman holding a phone wild with grief as she learned her sister (a teacher) was one of the dead.

My thoughts wandered to all my teacher friends and how their lives would be affected if this happened to them. My thoughts slowly went to my son … a first grade teacher and my world crumbled.  I was a total mess.

Now I was in their shoes. Now I understood their grief and anger. Now, unlike that woman in the photo – I was able to pick up the phone and let my son know how much he mattered, how much he was loved, how much I missed him.

When I called my son, the conversation was all one-sided. It was me doing all the talking, non-stop, words tumbling all over the airwaves …remembering past deaths, sadnesses, and hurts. It was me recounting the one thing I failed to do after each death – to stand together and talk about it. To cry together. To hug together. To speak the words of loss, love, longing, and all those things that bind you to other humans.

I asked him to do that with his friends and teachers. I asked him to address the topic with others who went home to an empty house. He said he would.

My gifts to all of you today are love and communication. Let’s keep the conversation going about this topic and if you want to talk, write me and we can talk offline.  (mkatherine55@gmail.com)

With love – Margekatherine

Gift # 14: ‘Tis the Season

In this lovely season of gifting, parties, light, love and activity is also the season of eating.caloriecount

My next gift is a free online tool that helps you track your food intake and your exercise output. I’ve found that for me, losing weight is about tracking my food intake. The exercise part is easy for me but ‘tracking that ‘one cookie’ or ‘small nibble’ or second helping of … is what slips by me.

Calorie-count.com will help you as you set your goals, track your food, visit with others in the community, and learn about yourself.  For me, I use it – it works, I am focused and then I forget or get lazy. Each time I return I fall in love all over again with the simplicity of the tool and how it keeps me on target.

If you decide to join and want a buddy, send me an email and so we can connect! – (mkatherine55@gmail.com)

Calorie-Count (caloriecount.about.com)

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Lucky Gift # 13: Refdesk

Refdesk.com your one stop visit for references, puzzles, maps, dictionaries ... and so much more!
Refdesk.com your one stop visit for references, puzzles, maps, dictionaries … and so much more! 

If you’re looking for an online reference for an item – begin here at refdesk.com (Reference Desk).

This page is CHOCK full of fun sites, links to news, dictionaries, weather, good news, quotes, encyclopedias, pictures and words of the day, daily diversions (think games, humor, book lists, horoscopes, view of the night sky, almanacs…)

The best thing about Refdesk.com is that it really is a good source to reference information and it’s a wonderful place to just spend time looking. It’s a portal site which means it points you to other sites. All the links on this page actually work.

It’s free information for everyone. 

—-

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The gift of Freecycle on 12/12/12

freecycle1My Gift to you on 12/12/12 is the gift of recycling using Freecycle. This nonprofit organization is a way to recycle your items to others who are in need of your discards. And it’s the perfect way for you to locate items that others are discarding.

I’ve used Freecycle many times and just last month someone who was in need of a 32 in JVC color TV that I wanted to give way – emailed me to say she could use it for her church group. Done. Out of my door and into hers.

Once I post what I have to offer … I get to decide who receives it. It isn’t about who responded first – It’s my item and I decide. Below is the official information about it. Once you sign up, you can go to the website and see who is offering what items. You can also have emails sent directly to you as they are posted.

I love this idea and the fact that it’s global makes it even better.

Welcome! The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 5,082 groups with 9,244,525 members around the world. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them’s good people). Membership is free. To sign up, find your community by entering it into the search box above or by clicking on ‘Browse Groups’ above the search box. Have fun!

http://www.freecycle.org/

Get LinkedIn and Get Connected: Gift #11

LinkedIn is a social networking website for people in professional occupations. This site is like a living resume. You can enter information about your skills, classes, volunteer work, new promotions, or just highlight the areas you want others to know about.

LinkedIn lets you invite others to join your network, write recommendation for colleagues and to offer endorsements.

Find a job using LinkedIn.comEmployers list jobs on this website and if you apply, these employers will be sure to check your data, recommendations and perhaps contact people in your network.

Wikipedia has a list of possible ways your network can be used:

  • A contact network is built up consisting of their direct connections, the connections of each of their connections (termed second-degree connections) and also the connections of second-degree connections (termed third-degree connections). This can be used to gain an introduction to someone a person wishes to know through a mutual contact.
  • Users can upload their resume or design their own profile in order to showcase work and community experiences.
  • It can then be used to find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in one’s contact network.
  • Employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates.
  • Job seekers can review the profile of hiring managers and discover which of their existing contacts can introduce them.
  • Users can post their own photos and view photos of others to aid in identification.
  • Users can now follow different companies and can get notification about the new joining and offers available.
  • Users can save (i.e. bookmark) jobs which they would like to apply for.

Are you on LinkedIn? Right now there are more than over 170 million subscribers.

Care to join my network? If so, just enter my name (Marge Katherine) and see if I show up.  I hope to see you there!

Let’s Meetup: Gift #10

meetup1Shall we stop learning for a bit and focus instead on getting social?

There is a wonderful network called Meetup.com where you can join in with others who are involved in activities that interest you. Depending on where you live, you can find groups that share common interest such as politics, dating, books, hiking, movies, pets, careers, etc. The image to the right is a list of categories for you to choose from.

The image below shows where you enter your zip code or city and your topic of choice and to find a nearby group. Not sure what you want? Just enter your zip code and have a gander at what appears. You will be amazed!

Use meetup.com to connect locally

Can’t find a group near you? Sign up to become an Organizer and start one yourself. You’re sure to meet people who share your passion.  Starting your own group will cost you (the Organizer) $12 per month.

For instance, I started a book group using Meetup. Once we reached seven members we decided to close the Meetup account and carry one using email as our main contact tool. Meetup brought us together and served it’s purpose. We have been going strong for two years now!

Meetup.com is international.

You can find groups in Auckland, New Zealand or Auckland Park, England, UK

Dublin, Ireland or or Dublin Virginia USA

Zurich Switzerland or Zurich Ontario, Canada

Meetup is the perfect way to connect – in person. Find out where the group meets then show up. Simple. Done.

According to Wikipedia:

The attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, was pivotal to the formation of this social network. Meetup co-founder Scott Heiferman publicly stated that the manner in which people in New York came together in the aftermath of that traumatic event inspired him to use the Internet to make it easier for people to connect with strangers in their community. Meetup, Inc. is based in New York City.

Until tomorrow … Enjoy!