Grandma’s Wisdom

hands-grandmother
Be it a true tale or not, the following story, circulating on Facebook, is fraught with wisdom. Perhaps you have read or heard the story before. We can always be reminded of our abilities to make empowering choices. Perhaps, the story is a new one that will open your minds and hearts. I can almost hear my own grandmother speaking these words of warmth. Enjoy and pass on. Sammy@TURNINGSTONEchoice

“The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised, and proud lady, fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.
After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. ‘I love it,’ she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight year old having just been presented with a new puppy.
‘Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room . . . just wait.’
‘That doesn’t have anything to do with it,’ she replied. ‘Happiness is something you decide on, ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged; it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice: I can spend the day in bed, recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and, as long as my eyes open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.’
Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.”

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

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The Intangible Wish List

I wish

The content Thanksgiving spirit in November has officially been thrown out with the leftover turkey and gravy, and the height of consumerism has taken over. Wish lists have been distributed. Anxiety- filled shoppers are buying everything in their paths before the clock strikes. I wish. . . has taken over the beginning of many conversations. My oldest son’s list is completely above his current socio-economic status, but then again, it is a wish list. Amusing longings pop up on Google when typing in – I wish, like I wish to lease a Subaru, I wish I could get rid of this cough and my fav, I wish I had curly hair. Through a search, I came across the Urban Art Project,” I Wish This Was. . .” by Candy Chang. Noticing an abundant number of abandoned buildings in her hometown of New Orleans, she created bright-red, fill-in-the-blank stickers with the words, “I WISH THIS WAS. . . ,” and the community would share their hopes for a particular building, like I wish this was a grocery store or a laundromat. Reading about the community response made me think of our children and how they are like empty buildings with potential. As parents and teachers, we place our red stickers of I wish on them and I wonder if they have the time to think about what they wish for. Not the laundry list of things, but the intangible wishes of their hearts. The intangible wishes could include I wish I had a friend, I wish I had more confidence, or I wish I was happy. The tricky thing about an intangible wish list is we can’t run out and buy it and stick a red bow on top of it. How priceless would it be to hear their intangible wishes and let them know they have the ability to make self-empowering choices to grant their own wishes?
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

http://candychang.com/i-wish-this-was/

Everyday Thankfulness – Why is it so hard to do?

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At any moment in time, it’s easy to be welled up with thanksgiving when the “big things” in life come around, like receiving an unexpected gift, a promotion, or being cued by a holiday. But that moment is just that, a fleeting feeling of gratitude, and then it’s back to the same-old attitude. Why is it so difficult to have everyday thankfulness for the little things we take for granted, which really aren’t little at all, like clean drinking water, a roof over our heads, and food to eat? The key to unlocking this virtue may be an understanding of the reasons we struggle to maintain a grateful attitude. Sometimes, gratitude is the victim of short-term memory loss. We forget all about our past and current benefits and grumble on forward. We tend to take for granted the people closest to us and simple, everyday things in our lives. This ungratefulness shapes our interactions.

I recall, after Hurricane Sandy, being without electricity for several days, and, when the power came back on, I was overwhelmingly grateful. Today, I don’t have that same attitude, since I’m not without. I leave lights on when I shouldn’t, and everything that has a plug is in an outlet, and I’m not being very energy conscious. (Don’t judge. You aren’t, either). I guess absence does make the heart grow fonder.
So, again, why is it hard to keep a positive attitude and maintain inner gratitude? There could be a link to a theory related to positive thinking and negative thinking. The latter is coined Brain Negativity Bias. According to Wikipedia, Brain Negativity Bias is a psychological phenomenon in which humans have a greater recall of unpleasant memories, compared with positive ones. Humans are much more likely to recall, and to be influenced by, the negative experiences of the past. Basically, our brains tend to focus on negativity, and this could very well be a major cause of our uphill battle to thankfulness. Some modes of thought explain that this is in place as a survival mechanism, allowing us to detect and to respond to dangerous stimuli. So we are fighting nature and our own brain. Ugh!! Are we just natural-born ingrates? If we are always leaning into our negative thoughts and experiences, then thankfulness is almost out of reach. I did say, “almost.”

There are ways to foster gratitude by consciously focusing and engaging our brain in an empowering choice to be grateful. We can also develop a small ritual of sharing something we are grateful for each day or writing it down at the end of the day. With the reference of a journal filled with grateful moments, perhaps we can reverse our short-term memory loss. One of the most gracious ladies I know on this planet shared with a large group of women her experience with bitterness, and she did not like the woman she was becoming. She decided to write down three things she was grateful for every day for 30 days. Some days were a major stretch, like the ability to breath in air, but she continued to focus on the positive gifts each day gave her. It must have worked, because, like I mentioned, she is incredibly gracious, and people would have never known she was going through a hard time.

How will you maintain the spirit of Thanksgiving 365 days of the year? Happy Thanksgiving!

~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Thankful Annoyances

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What is wrong with my brain today? It just does not want to focus and get with the program, which is today’s blog deadline. I’ve got excellent Thanksgiving and gratitude topics to chat about, but I think I’ve got the dreaded case of writer’s blah! Plus, the computer ate my original blog, which I was not too thrilled about, a sign I probably should not publish. I’m totally complaining on a blog that is supposed to be encouraging thankfulness (insert laughter). But, aren’t the days filled with typical annoyances that pick away at our thankfulness until we are generally sour, curdled up, stinking milk? I don’t want to be stinking milk. A recent experience of spilled milk in the back of my car, left to grow an ungodly toxic smell, is a little too real of how behaviors and attitudes can stink up our world. The old saying, “Don’t cry over spilled milk” needs some tweaking. We slowly accept a complaint here and there, and before we are aware of it, we have adopted a spirit of grumbling. This can lead to a weighed down spirit and a position of feeling low and out of control. Instead of deriving a wonder list of the things we are thankful for could we actually be thankful for the annoyances. Use them as tools to learning and growing in our ability to make self-empowering choices. We cannot always control the circumstances of our lives but we do control how we react to them. I’m thankful the computer decided to digest my original article and give me an opportunity to share an everyday issue rather than the perfunctory article on gratitude or thanksgiving. Besides, there is still time to write that one.

~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

ANGST – Book Review

Angst
Steven, Sarah, and Johnny are three best friends attempting to navigate the perils of freshman year in high school while dealing with the realities of teen life. Steven is coping with the return of his biological father and attempting to prove his worth for his father’s attention and time. Sarah is in her first romantic relationship with an older, mysterious, sophomore and is verbally tormented by a group of girls. Johnny seeks to live up to his father’s legacy on the football field and wrestles with his emotions for Sarah. Angst chronicles the personal stories of each individual as they grow apart over time but reunite in a dramatic conclusion.
Angst is a gem of a book! The author strikes the tone of the teen perfectly through his three main characters. Teen readers will relate and parents if you are wondering what is going on in your teenagers head and in their world, read this book. Nothing is off-limits, the real issues, pressures and doubts, but not without palpable solutions. A fast read and a super-cool ending!

Available on amazon.com here http://www.amazon.com/Angst-Christopher-Avery/dp/0984002200/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_dnr_1
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Releasing Mistakes

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Once upon a time, I loathed writing. It was the subject I feared because my writing skills were awful. You see, I could not spell well and because I feared the mistakes I knew I would make, I refused to write words I fully comprehended but had no idea how to spell. To this day, I still struggle with spelling and now understand my challenge as a spelling disorder and not a reflection of my intelligence. This was such a huge obstacle, mainly because I did not understand why I was so “stupid.” I knew what the word was, how to use it and when to use it, but how to spell was elusive. Secondly, and probably most importantly, I chose to be silent about my struggle and continued to fall behind in my writing lessons. If not for the wisdom and compassion of my fifth grade teacher, perhaps I would not have the courage to write this blog today. Understanding the contradiction of my simple prose vs. my higher level speaking vocabulary (I talked a lot), this teacher casually walked up to me during a painful writing session and whispered, “Sam, please write the way you talk, and I don’t care if you misspell. It will be great.” In that single moment, I was liberated from the shackles of error because I was given permission to make mistakes, a lot of mistakes, and, “It would be great.” I am positive my spelling issues were more severe than my “Releaser” had imagined, but I had a new found freedom that would grow, and, although I would continue to make the same mistakes over and over, I actually would make fewer of them over the longer road ahead. I have come a long way from loathing writing, and I enjoy it immensely (a word I happened to misspell). I might not be the next Maya Angelou, but I am growing out from the wisdom of a teacher who understood the bigger picture of allowing mistakes and encouraging mistakes to get to the real lessons. Which students will you be releasing today from bondages that keep them from growing and learning?

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

Positive Thoughts Control Destiny

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In an effort to organize and prepare for the new school year, I shuffled through last year’s school notebooks, and came across a poem taped to the inside cover of a black and white composition book. Perhaps, you use this poem in your classrooms or in your homes to stay positive. Perhaps, you realize the power of a simple thought can determine a destiny. Enjoy and share with others.

Things to Remember By: Pete Johnson

Always Remember
To keep your thoughts positive,
because your thoughts become your words.
To keep your words positive,
because your words become your actions.
To keep your actions positive,
because your actions become your habits.
And to keep your habits positive,
because your habits become your destiny.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice