Motivational Talks

I am extremely proud of myself this morning. It is 8:50 here in the NW Corner of Oklahoma, and I have been up for 2 1/2 hours. I know, there are many of you out there who do that on a daily basis…I do not. I don’t like mornings and mornings seem to return that feeling. If I am not required to get up, I usually don’t. So what prompted my early rise?

Exercising…yup. I woke up this morning because one of my best friends asked me to go to the gym with her when she got off work at 7am. You know she has to be one of my besties because I only laughed for a minute or so before I slowly agreed. And you know what? I got up, I drank a little coffee, I got myself dressed, and I walked on a treadmill for the first time (I think I’ll even go faster next time). I didn’t fall, I didn’t look too funny, and we went swimming in the gym’s pool after 15 minutes on the treadmill. Its been a great morning. I think I know why..it wasn’t my friend, even though she’s great. It wasn’t the endorphin rush from exercising because, let’s face it, I didn’t go that fast. It wasn’t even the boost from swimming, which is one of my favorite things EVER!

The reason this morning feels so great is because I CHOSE to go. I wasn’t forced. No one came in yelling and shaking me until I dragged my behind out of bed and stumbled along with them. No, I CHOSE to get up, I CHOSE to work out, and I CHOOSE to write instead of going back to sleep now. I am CHOOSING a healthier life style because it is time. I am CHOOSING to work on my books instead of mindlessly flip channels because my readers, my friends, you guys…you who I feel so connected to through words on a screen or page…deserve the best and my books deserve that respect and loving attention. I CHOOSE to be more, not a vapid shallow excuse of myself, but a full on no-holds-barred crazy cyclone of Beth.

There were plenty of things holding me back before, and probably plenty that will hold me back again soon, but what are they really? They’re the perceptions I have of what other people may or may not be thinking. They’re societal preconceptions and fading norms that I cling to as excuses. They’re my ‘look’, as in “I’m too fat to go to the gym..” (let me tell you what…I’m a big girl but today there was a woman significantly larger than I..and she was GETTING IT! I was so proud) or “people here don’t really wear those kinds of things…” or…or…or…STOP IT!

Whatever you think is holding you back, is just what you think. It isn’t what the rest of the world thinks, it isn’t even what 90% of the population think about you. Its you and whoever made the snide comment that lives in the back of your mind and gives you an excuse not to. Don’t give excuses, don’t make up reasons, just find a way. Door’s closed? Windows are locked? Check the roof…but don’t actually break in to someone’s home because that is bad juju and you won’t accomplish most of your goals from jail.

Until next time, I hope you have a blessed and phenomenal day! May your motivation and inspiration outweigh your excuses and fear of perspiration.

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The Mustache

I’ve realized recently that my blog routine has been lacking in originality. I got in to spotlighting other authors, discussing, art(ists), and talking about my goals, but I stopped sharing a lot of my work. Part of that is because I haven’t had a huge volume of new work lately, an issue I think can be partially fixed by trying to provide you with some new ESTyree Originals. Happily, my sleeping self seems to have agreed with the need for more because I woke up to several text to email lines that seem to make up a free form poem. I’m not sure what I was dreaming about but I will now present to you:

Mustache

 

(The lines I received exactly)

if form emerged from the shadows shapeless save for

the mustache that waved gently in the breeze on either

side of the presumably male face

No words were spoken

no sound was made

the only movement in the room was that acccursed mustache

It seemed to dance

taunting us

waving at us

curling in the air creating shadows within the shadows

the only form with is shape do in shape with recognizable form

the only thing touched by the breeze

It was a living thing that mustache

hitching a ride on a shadow on the hint of a ghost of light

a living thing come to visit in the deep dark of a cold midnight

A dancing mustache come for a dream

all I wanted we found out where are stories

 

I know, weird right? Like I said…no idea what I was on about BUT…kind of a hauntingly eerie poetic piece. Let’s clean it up a bit and see what a coherent Beth can do with it, shall we?

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(A little bit of spit shine)

A form emerged from the shadows

Shapeless and long save for the mustache that waved

Moving gently in the breeze on either side of a presumably male face.

No words were spoken,

No Sound was made,

The only movement in the room

Came from that accursed mustache,

The handlebar contours bouncing lightly.

It seemed to dance,

Taunting us with its moves

Waving at us from across the room.

Curling in the air and creating shadows within shadows,

The only form with a real shape,

The only shape with recognizable form,

The only thing touched by the breeze.

It was a living thing, that mustache,

And it hitched a ride on a shadow,

On the hint of a ghost of light.

A living thing come to visit in the deep, dark

Of a cold midnight.

A dancing mustache, come for a dream.

All it wanted, we discovered, were our stories.

We gladly shared them.

Elizabeth S. Tyree

Please leave me a comment or two letting me know what you think. Did you like this piece? Should I share more of my personal writings? Do you have some writings you’d like for us to see?

Until next time, May you have a wonderful and blessed day! Happy Groundhog’s Day, Happy February, Happy Month, Happy Life…may the blessings and inspirations flow for you.

 

Positive vs. Negative

Have you ever had ‘one of those days’ or weeks, or months, where you felt empty, drained, upset, uninspired, or even worthless? Of course you have! Unless you are a toddler reading this post to yourself on the super cool new tablet from Sprout, then I’m sure you’ve had at least a few hours of self doubt and/or inspiration blockage no matter what it is that you do (I’m not being paid to advertise, but these suckers are pretty cool!).

So what causes things to weigh on us like this? Why is it that we can feel happy one minute and sad, lonely, and uncreative the next? Part of it is that we live in a society where, despite (or perhaps because of) the rapidly growing number of selfies, people are constantly talking badly about themselves.

According to the post I recently read by Peggy Bert (found here), the ratio of positive comments needed to offset a negative is at least 2-to-1 in our most basic relationships. If you look at closer relationships, such as partners, parents, siblings, etc. the ratio can move up much higher, even up to 5 positive acts or comments required to offset every 1 negative.

So here is my question: If a negative comment from a boss, coworker, or friend needs at least 2 positives to offset that vibe…how many more does it take to offset a negative personal comment? How quickly can you shake it off when it is YOU doing the sniping at yourself?  I understand being bogged down, feeling anxious or trapped or claustrophobic in your own skin. In fact, that was yesterday for me. I have a lot of those days, my personal history includes some things that tend to sometimes make those days nightmares in my own mind. I’m sure most of us have those. It becomes more difficult to listen to my friends, my daughter’s sweet “You’re the Best Mama EVA” seems fake, and I want to throw all my clothes in the trash, burn them along with my writing notebooks, and run far away (well, drive in an air conditioned vehicle…but far far away). But eventually I have to just stop. I look around and see that, yes, there are more clothes to fold (shouldn’t have thrown them all on the floor…), yes, there are more dishes to wash, and ohmygoodness yes there are more toys to put away (HOW, HOW DID SHE GET SO MANY???), but there are also happy little monkey noises, a one eyed lop sided old rottie grinning at me, and the dragons in my head clamoring for attention.

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Maybe I’m not a size 10, maybe I’m not one of those girls, and yeah, maybe I am a big ol’ nerdy nerd who stays at home most of the time. But when I stop to look at what I have and what I do…I am pretty okie dokie; and, when I start doing positive things for myself, other positive things seem to follow. For example, for no good reason at all I got up last Saturday, did my hair and makeup, and put on a cute new dress. I thought I was staying at home, but it made me feel good. Mom, Monkey, and myself wound up wondering around town, getting compliments on how cute we all are, and finding an adorable little retro antique child’s ironing board!

Monkey and the ironing board....which is currently being used as a table.

Monkey and the ironing board….which is currently being used as a table.

Sometimes all it takes is a break. Yesterday, I got a babysitter (Thanks MOM!), went to lunch, met up with a good friend, hung out talking about my writing and his awesome new wife, and slowly without even trying, the weird angry paranoid sadness started melting away. I even got to go out again last night to watch Inside Out, and I woke up this morning with a smile on my face and the energy to do more today.

Happiness is infectious, so is negativity. When you are upset, the people around you are brought down and negativity can flow more easily. When you have a tendency to cut yourself or others down, even in jest, other people see and reciprocate in like manners. But if you let yourself think positively, even though it is HARD sometimes, then the people around you will notice that too.

Just a little sappy, happy pep talk to start your day off. I hope that it is full of joy, positive actions and comments, and blessings! May your inspiration flow and the river of your dreams never run dry!

Torture

Words softly whispered in the back of my mind.
Quiet and quick, so sneaky and swift,
I can’t catch them.
What torture is this? Leaving me aching,
Like a lover gone too soon.
Leaving me still longing to be held.

What fresh smack of the whip is this?
There they go again!
Circling, taunting, whispering:
There goes my story.
Not blocked, but not written either.

How can I write what I can’t catch?

The Trouble with Writing

I am an author and I am a teacher of the future of writing…and the trouble with all of that is this: some days writing feels like no trouble at all.

That shouldn’t be a problem, right? On days like that I should be skipping happily (in slow motion of course) across meadows of perky flowers with their little faces turned to the sun as they wave merrily in a light breeze. And sometimes I do allow myself that little daydream moment where I realize that I have spent ten minutes on the computer and somehow managed to crank out a week’s worth of word count and I do a happy dance around the house.

Then I start to worry. First of all, when is it all going to start crashing down? Because nothing in a writer’s life will stay lined up long enough for us to get that feeling all day every day (and I don’t think it should). But mostly I worry about my students getting that feeling. If they begin to feel that writing comes easily all of the time then how will they feel when it doesn’t?

I teach a grade in which my students will be taking a state mandated writing test at the end of February. STATE MANDATED WRITING TEST. why yes, I am freaking out, thank you for asking. So what happens when they open the test booklet, look at the response questions, and totally blank from the stress? I have 80 students. How many of them will be freaking out at that point? I know I would be! In fact, I know I WILL be!

Maybe the real problem with writing isn’t that somedays are more difficult than others. Perhaps the problem is that we spend so much time worrying about the eventual writer’s block or poorly written draft that we set ourselves and psych ourselves out, thus creating the blockage we worried about.

*SIGH*

Since today is the first official day of my Christmas break, maybe I should focus on my own writing for a few days and try to rejuvenate myself for the intensity of writing that will follow. I’m sure everyday will bring us a new trouble with writing!

Salads in a Mason Jar?

Ok, I’m not usually one to blog specifically about my food. In fact, I’ve been on here over a year and this is maybe the third time I’ve specifically set out to write about food. That’s just not my niche, per se, though I do love to eat!

But I had to come on and tell you…I gave in to peer pressure. I know, I know, that’s not how it’s supposed to go. Just say No! And walk away…or change the conversation and distract people with my winning smile. Well, neither worked and I’ve been seeing more and more discussion of all things Mason Jar related (anyone else still just want to call them canning jars and make pickles? No, just me? Ok then…). Among those things have been an uprising of Mason Jar Food.

Snack sticks dipped in dressing and sealed tightly in a jar for later, legumes and lettuce piled in pleasing rows, and even full on salads stacked bottom to top and apparently retaining crispness for 5 full days! Some of these amazing concoctions were even *gasp* decorated!

As you can see, I didn’t go anywhere near that far. In fact, I almost gave up on the idea when I realized that there were no eggs in the fridge, so I couldn’t put any in my salad, which meant that I couldn’t follow that recipe. In fact, I was amazingly close to deciding that not having lunch tomorrow was a good price to pay for a quick Netflix bender before bed.

However, I snatched up a pickle jar and got to work.

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Not only am I using an old (clean!) pickle jar instead of a new Mason jar, but I also *DOUBLE GASP* did not wind up following any of the other super healthy and disgustingly good for you recipes I found listed for these things. One little step at a time I suppose.

Mine looks pretty good, though I was out of a few things I typically put in salad (like cucumbers and boiled eggs) and I’m looking forward to trying to tomorrow.

Have you ever tried one of these? Got any Mason Jar recipes you absolutely love? I’m on a health kick so you’ve got about 7.5 hours to throw your two cents in before I’m lazy again!

Have a blessed night/day/in between!

Toddler Quotes

There are many lovely things that happen with the “terrible” two era. One of those things, at least in my house, happens to be a plethora of quotables to keep my daughter embarrassed well through her teens and beyond.

Here, for your reading pleasure, are the contenders for this week’s top spot:

1) on the occasion of explaining a red mark on her neck
Monkey – “Jesse hit me”
Me (Mom) – “why?”
Monkey – “I don’t know. Jesse hit me.”
Gaga (grandma) – “what did you do to Jesse?”
Monkey (exaggerated and very Southern) – OH NO! MY PONY FALLED DOWN!”

2) when choosing a cd in the car
I hold up Jimmy Buffett and Taylor Swift. She almost always wants Taylor Swift. Not this time! The reason? Jimmy Buffett’s case is yellow with red writing which, according to Monkey, makes it Curious George and The Man’s favorite cd. Or in her words “Jooge and the Hat’s music”

And

3) Gaga – “which button is the mute?”
Monkey – “the one that says MUTANT!”

Bonus – uh oh wait Mommy the monsters are coming…THE MONSTERS! (FYI-she’s talkin Monsters Inc. and we have to let them catch up most of the time. Though she randomly decides to play scared…I guess of Randal)

Do you have a favorite toddler saying? Want to vote on one of these? Just wanted to stop by and say hello? Leave a comment and let me know!

Have a blessed week!IMG_0934.JPG

How did December get here?

I looked at the calendar earlier and it told me that today is December 1st but I’m not sure how that happened. I have pages of handwritten notes that testify to me and they say I still have half of NaNo to go…plenty of time to write and get it typed up. I guess I lost those two weeks (and their short stories…oops) because here we are, December. The month of hyperactivity, bludgeoning over good sales, and my mother screaming “LIGHTS” as we drive down the road.

We have 3 full weeks until Christmas break, 1 week before my friends’ Harry Potter wedding shower (I’ll post pictures if their presents from us afterwards…they’re awesome!), 1 week and 1 day before the Bible Chair Christmas party, and various mind melting, class and work interrupting activities to keep us busy in the mean time. At least I can torture my students with a mixture of Christmas and Halloween instrumental rock so they never know what’s coming next. *insert maniacal laughter here.

What are you all up to? Did you win NaNo and, as a winner, are you now basking in the afterglow? Did you somehow lose weeks as I did, so that you have no idea how many words you wrote? Are you caught in the vicious Christmas cycle and therefore have no time for such things as books or word counts? I want to know!

Leave a message and have a Marvelous Monday!

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On another note…our ClassroomCalendar seems to have been a last minute participant in No Shave November…look at that beard!

Thankful Thursday

This should be Writing Wednesday but I forgot my computer yesterday so here we are, yet another week with a wonky schedule and no discernible organization. *Sigh* welcome to my life.

So here we are, a chilly Thursday in November wherein I should be writing feverishly. Instead, I am kind of sort of writing during the ten minute journaling sprints my students do in each class each day (5 days of 4 5-10 minute journaling times a day..but my students are not independent enough to allow me to just WRITE). My two stories are coming together nicely, which is pretty awesome since there are details in the second that I haven’t found out yet because of the first. *Another Sigh*

And reading, did I mention reading yet? No, well here it is. Our school principal has challenged the elementary as a whole to read a combined 45,000,000 pages. If we reach that goal by December 18th, she will kiss a pig. We are all excited about this prospect! To further their chances of seeing this happen, we are about to start reading in class again. I am planning on reading aloud Tim Tingle’s “How I Became a Ghost.” If you haven’t read any of his stuff…DO IT! He is an amazing author and wonderful man…did I mention that its National Native American Month and he writes about Choctaw Folk Tales? Yeah Buddy!

That’s my little slice of the pie for the moment…tell me about yours! I look forward to hearing about NaNo word counts, plot bunnies, new reading experiences, and the random ice cream headaches.

Have A Blessed and WARM day!