Saturday, April 9, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 20 - Come Back

Today's been a really tough day. This is one of the song's that we played at Madison's funeral. Tomorrow is another day!


If I keep holding out Will the light shine through Under this broken roof Its only rain that I feel I've been wishing out the days Ohh ohh oh come back I have been planning out All that I'd say to you Since you slipped away Know that I still remain true I've been wishing out the days Please say that it you hadn't gone now I wouldn't have lost you another way From wherever you are Ohhhh ohh ohh oh oh come back And these days linger on And in the night I've been waiting for The real possibility that I may meet you in my dreams I go to sleep If I don't fall apart, will my memory stay clear So you had to go, And I had to remain here But the strangest thing today So far away and yet you feel so close And I'm not gonna question any other way There must be an open door For you uhh uhh come back And the days they linger on And every night when I'm waiting for The real possibility that I meet you in my dreams Sometimes you're there and you're talking back to me Come the morning I can swear that you're next to me And it's okayyyyy It's's ok Ohh I need you...come back, come back Ahh I need you come back, come back Ohhh I need you come back, come back

Friday, April 8, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 17 - New Orleans' own Hot 8 Brass Band

Tonight was my last Encore show of the season and it ended with a bang. For those of you who don't know what I do for a living, I work at a state university and am the Director of Campus Activities. In the most simplest terms, I lead a department who's focus is foster learning outside of the classroom. We do that in a variety of ways - through involvement in student organizations, leadership development experiences and by providing events/activities for them to attend. One of the areas, I directly coordinate is our performing arts series. In the past three years, it was really become one of my most proud accomplishments. Three years ago we are talking about ending the series because it was a financial drain on the institution. This year, as even worse financial obstacles stand in the way of my school's operations, we won't think about cutting it because it's become a signature series on our campus and in our community. I've worked tirelessly to improve the operations of this program and we are starting to final see the pay off. Last year, the series, for the first time in recent history, ended with a positive balance (of $0 but at least we weren't in the hole). These year, I'm projected to balance out again! Huge accomplishment that just 3-4 year ago was ending with a $30,000+ deficit. For the past three year's there has always been that one show, where I stand in the back of the audience, scan the crowd and shed a tear or two of joy for my accomplishment. Tonight's show was that show for me. During the second act, the band finally got the audience up on their feet and people were singing and dancing. As I watched some of the "seasoned" ticket holders and our students dance along and enjoy this experience together, I was just overcome. We've come a long, long way in three years! I'm also grateful to the series because it allows me to offer the gift of the arts to Samantha. At just two and 1/2, she's seen some pretty amazing shows and performances and LOVES LOVES LOVES every minute of it. "Mommy go see the dancers." "Mommy go see the band." Performance arts is something Sean and I really enjoy and to see Samantha's face light up when she watches the shows is just awesome. In fact, her first show was when she was just 11 days old and she saw Adam Pascal (an original cast member of RENT) perform. Knowing that she will grow up loving music and dance and performance arts makes me excited. She's going to have a better appreciation for some many different talents and different cultures. She'll be exposed to experiences that not everyone is afforded. What a great gift for her!

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 18 - Missouri College Personnel Association

Last August, I had an incredible opportunity presented to me. I had spent the better part of the previous three years away from professional development opportunities and professional associations simply because I was in a new job and was a new parent. Time and balance were my enemy. However, last summer I decided it was time to jump back in. These kinds of experiences are very important in my profession and I had settled into parenthood and directing a department - so it was time. An email had gone out looking for conference volunteers for the Missouri College Personnel Association (MoCPA) fall conference. The Vice-President that I report to was actually the association President and a former boss had been the association President just a few years back. These are both women that I admire and respect so I knew this could be a good group to join. I answered the email and say "hey, I'm interested. Sign me up." As it turned out, a few weeks later the conference chair took another position at another school in ANOTHER state. And as you can imagine - there are some obstacles to running a state conference when you have moved to South Carolina. The other obstacle - the conference was about 10 weeks away and there was A LOT still left to be done! Fast forward a few days later after a conversation with my VP and I was the new annual conference chair! To say the very least, the following eight weeks were stressful! But, I was amazed at how I was able to rally the planning committee and how, collectively, we were able to make some magic happen! As I was preparing the for the conference, I kept hoping for an opportunity to led the conference again the following year (2011). My sense of satisfaction was really high and I had a strong desire to see what I could accomplish with an entire year! Thankfully, I was offered the position again and jumped on the opportunity immediately. As I lead the conference team this year, I am already blown away by our accomplishments and we are still 6 months away from the actual event. This Association has helped me bring my professional life back to life! I'm challenged in a different way than I'm challenged at my actual job. I get to use my passion & skill set for event planning, creating curriculum, creating learning opportunities and leading a team. It's done tremendous things for my self esteem and has helped reinforce to myself that I am good at my job!

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 19 - We Didn't Start The Fire

Today has been a tough and tragic day for our national government. I'm frustrated with both party sides and am disappointment that finger pointing and name calling have become the solution. Hatred for each others parties has become the decision driver and, unfortunately, the only people getting hurt are us. So what's my gratitude for the day...that I live in a country where next November, I can & will work to vote them out of office!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 16: TOMS One Day Without Shoes 2011

Today, I participated in TOMS Shoes "One Day Without Shoes" awareness campaign. If you aren't familiar with TOMS Shoes it is a grassroots company who's motto is one for one - meaning that for every pair of TOMS you purchase, they donate a pair to a child in need. This company is the brain child of Chief Shoe Giver (don't you love that title!) Blake Mycoskie. Blake will be speaking on our campus later this month and our students have really rallied behind his cause. Of course, how can you unchanged by this campaign? I did cheat a little and wore shoes to drop Samantha off at daycare and drive, but other than that no shoes. I left them in my car and walked across campus to start my day. As soon as my feet hit the cold 8am sidewalk, I was immediately appreciative of what "luxuries" I really did have. Throughout the day, I had several challenges because I wasn't wearing shoes - using the public restroom at work and not being allowed in food service areas for lunch because of health codes. Ironically, children who don't wear shoes across the world are also denied privileges - primarily they are denied education and aren't allowed in school. Of course going barefoot in poverty stricken areas also increases illness and infections! Truly a day that I remember ALL day how grateful I really was!

Monday, April 4, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 15 - The power of affirmation

Today, a co-worker shared a compliment that my direct supervisor said about me. Honestly, I was having a really crappy morning prior to that. Instantly, though my day turned around. It is simply amazing how the power of telling someone good job, you are appreciated and/or thank you can make a real difference! As a department supervisor, I strive to make appreciation and affirmation part of my daily work routine. It's not always easy and I'm not perfect at it but man, those days that I go out of my way to say "job well done" or "thank you"- I leave work feeling better. One area it's easy for me to overlook is in my relationship with Sean. I think it's really easy to take advantage of all the good things your partner does, well...because they are your partner - we just assume that they should be doing these things. I'm confident in saying that the times when our marriage struggles the most, is when we take each other for grated and not show our gratitude and appreciation to one other. I should take a lesson from Samantha. We are working her manners right now - please & thank you - and she is really good at showing thanks and appreciation to others. Without missing a beat, EVERY night at dinner she says "Thank you Mommy Daddy for dinner." It's awesome!

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 14 - Having a no plans weekend

The weather this weekend has been amazing! God certainly brought us a great weekend. Sunny and warm all weekend long and the Prescott's had no plans! A perfect weekend in my book. No need to be on a time schedule - we played outside and at the park, watched Basketball, eat ice cream (both days!), took naps with the widows open and a breeze coming through the house. It was as close to perfection as one person could ask for. It's these rare moments that I am grateful just to sit back and enjoy life.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 13 - Family Rules

I find this piece of artwork at TJ Maxx (one of my most favorite stores) and loved it immediately. I didn't really have a place to put it but bought it any ways.

The Prescott Family Rules:

1. Keep your promises

2. Share

3. Think of others before yourself

4. Say I love you

5. Listen to your parents

6. Do your best

7. Say please and thank you

8. Always tell the truth

9. Laugh at yourself

10. Hug often

11. Use kind words

12. Love each other

Not the most profound or life changing rules but it's amazing how many of us don't do these things and we struggle in our lives. I wonder what would happen if the entire world lived by these simply 12 rules. I'll probably never know. But I do know that I'm going to try and live by them everyday and am convinced that it will benefit me ten folds!

Friday, April 1, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 12 - April's Fools Day

Today is April Fool's Day. To celebrate, I made "grilled cheese" for my staff and some for Sean's work. (Though Sean left his at home so the Prescott clan ate them).

These are toasted pound cake slices with orange cream cheese frosting. They looked pretty realistic and several of my staff members won't eat them until I told them what they were.

I didn't make these as much for April Fool's Day but rather I love a theme! I don't go crazy nuts with holiday decorations but I love any moment or holiday where I can go crazy with a theme. It's mostly because I get to use my creativity and that's one of my gifts that I am most thankful for.

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 11 - Teachable Moments

Yesterday (Wednesday), I had a tough day at work and snapped at a student. This is not my usually behavior and it weighed on me pretty heavy throughout the night. The reason I snapped at him was because me made a comment that was out of line - the only problem...he didn't know it was out of line because he wasn't wearing my lenses. He didn't know that I was frustrated and concerned about the financial future of my department. And, honestly, there was no reason he should have know. But, I started the day off on the right foot! This student was actually in the office first thing this morning and we had a REALLY good conversation. First, I apologized. He graciously told me not to worry about it and understood that he had just caught me in a bad moment. But, then I went on to really talk with him about all the pieces that lead up to my frustration. He listened well and I could tell that the "light bulb" came on and he had his teachable moment. Most days this doesn't happen. But, in the moments when they do - these students keep me inspired and keep me coming back to work.

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 10 - My relationship with God

So, I guess most people would have started this 79 day gratitude & thanks journey by giving a shout out to God. At least that's what they do on all those awards shows. "First, I need to thank Jesus Christ for helping me to sell all these movie tickets..." It's certainly not my place to judge others but I do think it's a little suspect that so many people use the name of God & Jesus to build creditability for themselves. And, please I do not want to get in a religious disagreement with anyone who may be reading this. Remember, these are simply my thoughts at this moment in time. One of our greatest gifts to ourselves is the ability to continue to grow, change our minds and walk down a different path later on in life. I am reading a book right now and there is a line in it about the degree of religion and faith these women have in their life. "...the others have somehow, over the years, brokered their own private agreement with God." That's me EXACTLY! I spent the early part of my life attending Baptist church and then, later, a Catholic church. Once I went to college, my faith and religious practice took a back burner in my life. I've never really returned to organized religion since. BUT... I know, believe and feel God's presence everyday. He has provided me many, many blessings; has held my hand down many rocky paths; and has continued to love me even in moments when I have yelled his name in vain and cursed him lot loud (the worse lost in your life can do that to you). One of my many gifts from God is my relationship with two of my closest friends, Maasen & Alicia. They both have a very strong faith and have prayed many a prayers for me. I know God is there for me because I feel their prayers. God and I spend time communicating in the ways that work for us. He understands me and understands that at this moment in my life, I'm not ready for organized religion. He provides me guidance and helps me live a life that is honoring to him. Luckily, he is also a forgiving God because sometimes mistakes happen and my actions don't portray my love for him. SO...maybe it should have been my first post, but we've talk about, God understands and still loves me!