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Posts Tagged ‘thanks’

There’s a small cove along the Piscataqua River that separates New Hampshire from Maine. It sits on the east side of the Spaulding Turnpike with a path along the landside and a number of sailboats moored away from the river’s strong current. I’m told that those moorings are rented from the State of NH at some ridiculously low amount per year and that they have been passed down through families because of that.

My breath is often taken away as I come around the entrance ramp and momentarily see that cove at about a 30-degree angle, something not really visible when traveling either north or south on the Spaulding Turnpike. The angle and speed of travel would make trying to take a photo not only silly but also dangerous, although often I wish I could.

Occasionally the sun is so bright it blinds my eyes for a moment. Sometimes there is a bit of fog settling just about the water and light enough to still see the boats. My favorite is when the tide is way out so that the land is exposed and wet, the sun shining from the east. Sometimes the fog is quite thick making the boats appear ghostlike.

From my view yesterday, most of the boats are now gone. Very soon, the trees will take on their fall finery and then shake the leaves away with the winter chill. The view will be different but no less beautiful. Today’s view was very merely gray as there was fog; but while it was hidden, I stand secure in my knowledge and experience that the sun is still rising in the east.

Nonetheless, every morning is a new chance to view Mother Nature doing her work. And so it is with our lives. Each and every day there are examples of God’s love for us. Every day has its own blessings, some repetitive, some unique. It is for that reason that each Seacoast Peers for Careers meeting involved an opportunity to share a blessing for the week as a chance to stop and pause and reflect.

Yet again, I reflect on the words from the Book of Lamentations (3:22-23): “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness.”

… and I raise my heart in thankfulness …

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Gratitude is an attitude that hooks us up to our source of supply. And the more grateful you are, the closer you become to your maker, to the architect of the universe, to the spiritual core of your being. – Bob Proctor

My husband Bob went to check the Powerball number in Sunday’s paper. Lo and behold, whose face should greet him below the fold but mine — yet again. Fame is so yesterday. Yawn. Tee hee. Those of you who have been following my story know that I have been mentioned in a number of articles during the two years I’ve been out of work.

Seriously, along with a young man with a few years of teaching experience, I had been interviewed because of losing our jobs. According to the article, Laid-off area teachers scramble to find work, some 200 teachers had been laid off statewide this year with the southeastern and northern ends of New Hampshire the hardest hit. Fortunately, Lee Sims (the other teacher in the article) was able to quickly find a position at a local private school. Others, of course, are not so lucky.

Even more unfortunate will be the students who will bear the brunt of the loss of teachers and programs.

It was mentioned in the article that I am returning to work in my former school district. A position was created this spring for a K-12 Technology Integrator. Funding was sufficient for a 60% position that would deal with grades 7-12 to support the Maine Learning Technology Initiative one-to-one laptop program. Because I had the experience, education, and certification, I was offered the post.

While it has some components of my former job, it is not the same. Instead of responsibilities for integration, small group instruction, staff support, hardware and network for grades 6-8, I will be working with solely with teachers in two buildings facilitating technology use in their classrooms.

While I would not have turned down a full-time position, I have come to realize that part-time is a good thing at this point in my life. It allows the best of both worlds. I am working at something I enjoy. Yet, I’m hoping to be able to have some time with Bob when he’s not working and also continue doing empowerment group facilitation with Seacoast Peers for Careers.

Things have changed in two years, including me. There are new applications and new expectations. Some teachers I don’t know at all; some know me very well. That’s both good and bad. There’s a new superintendent with her own vision for the district.

What hasn’t changed is my enthusiasm for my craft and gratefulness for all these new blessings in my life.

It’s a new day and a new school year! Here we go!

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It’s official!

Labor Day 2010 will find me engulfed in beginning a new school year and a new job.

I have a 60% position back in Kittery, Maine, as a 7-12 Technology Integrator for MLTI (Maine Learning Technology Initiative) one-to-one laptop program starting August 30.

The light at the end of the tunnel is no longer an on-coming train!

Wish me luck.

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… and on the 7th day, He rested.

Right back there in Genesis, after the creation of the world, even God rested. Now I am not going to get into a theological discussion about whether or not this really happened nor if it did how long it actually took. I’m merely reacting to the fact that even the Creator of the Universe paused from working.

That being said, if it’s good enough for Him, then it’s certainly good enough for me.

Well, one might say, “Diana, you’ve been resting from working for over two years now. Don’t you think that’s about enough?” I’m not really talking about the absence of working but rather engaging in something different in a restorative act, something that brings wholeness to you and enables you to get back into the foray again.

Restoration is something needed for all of us, and maybe more so for the job seeker because there is little affirmation or success happening … For me, I have felt it especially necessary in 2010 as added to the frustrations of the job search, the heart heaviness of worrying about those close to me who are also unemployed, and recent health issues, my mind and spirit were definitely in need of a clearing. (See Coming through the darkness and And the winner is … The Virus.) Fortunately, there has been progress on all fronts with residuals of the virus finally being gone.

Webster’s tells us that restoring is bringing back to a former position or condition; a renewing!

It’s funny the myriad of things that can cause restoration to take place, many being very simple acts, indeed. That simplicity is truly a gift.

For me, summer itself is one of the biggest. I enjoy being able to be barefoot (I’m guilty of it inside all year round) and jacketless, especially in the evening. Since celebrating our 25th anniversary in Florida in 1992, Bob and I have enjoyed a number of February breaks there. Lying on my back on a winter evening, feeling the warm, moist breeze across my face always makes, especially when it’s snowing at home.

Curling up with a good book, sharing Saturday breakfast or Sunday dinner with my little family, having a tears-running-down-your-face laugh with a bunch of friends, being wrapped up in Bob’s arms after a particularly tough day – all of these work their magic to restore my spirit.

Four years ago I added another restorative experience to my list –what has become the annual family vacation week at Bob’s cousin’s house on the Cape. We have spent many Thanksgivings there with the Schuman cousins over the years and finally took Joan and Strat up on their offer to spend a week at the house overlooking the marsh and Cape Cod Bay. This year, it was even more eagerly anticipated.

So last week, Bob, Kim, Kirt, Britt, grandbeagle Reggie and I made our voyage to this magical place with its many restorative powers: Being away from home with the people most important in my life, sleeping with the windows open to the sea breeze, savoring the uninterrupted marsh view, reading lots of books, watching the sunset over Cape Cod Bay from the upper deck and later lying on our backs searching for shooting stars while we try to discern the constellations, and perhaps the most refreshing of all, using the outdoor shower!

ADDENDUM: After posting this blog entry last evening I was reading the current Guideposts magazine this morning and share this quote with you from Catherine Fenwick, Canadian motivational speaker and author of Love and Laughter–A Healing Journey which I may just have to read:

Your body cannot heal without play. Your mind cannot heal without laughter. Your soul cannot heal without joy.

Our days from July 13 to 21 went too quickly – but my body, mind and soul have been restored. I’m ready to take on my world!

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I HAVE LANDED!

That’s how Tim Ashe entitled a recent discussion on the Seacoast Peers for Careers Group on LinkedIn as he announced his good news. I share his words, used with permission, and my comments posted there as well. Hopefully, there will be something you can take and apply to your own job search.

Tim and fellow alum Amy start their new positions March 1.

Tim AsheI have accepted a position to be the Sales Manager at the Laconia Citizen, which is part of Foster’s Daily Democrat. I will be responsible for the revenue generation of 5 sales people. This is a direct result of Liesl Malone and her Hidden Gems series in Seacoast Sunday. The Advertising Director at Foster’s saw the article and reached out to me. Since I have an advertising background and management experience, it seemed like a natural fit. I worked at Foster’s a long time ago for 2 years, so it feels like I’m going home.

I have already contacted Liesl to let her know how much I appreciate her featuring me in her series. What she does for those of us who are unemployed is invaluable. I think we have to keep in mind that, she too, is unemployed, yet she continues to try and give us a voice that can be heard. Thank you again Liesl for everything you have done and continue to do.

I also want to thank Diana Schuman for starting the group. Once I found out about Seacoast Peers for Careers, I attended every week. I found the group to be very comforting and extremely helpful in getting all my ducks in a row. This is a different job market than we have ever experienced before. I think groups like this are essential in helping people focus their energy in the right direction. I learned a great deal about the job search that I never knew before. Groups like this one don’t run themselves. They need people like you and me to participate in order to stay relevant. I hope to stay in touch to see how things are going for everyone. I will be watching for future landings. I will miss seeing everyone on *Wednesdays, but hope this is a sign of things turning around for everyone. Stay positive.

Best of luck to everyone, Tim Ashe

Thank you, Tim, for your kind words for Seacoast Peers for Careers and for me.

This winter season in our lives has resulted in many examples of “paying it forward.” Liesl’s twist on that concept allowed your generous spirit to be viewed by others and had a great result.

Each of the networking/empowerment groups that we have all attended has its own personality; but all of them are comprised of folks willing to share from their experience, their expertise, their knowledge – some of that being acts of paying it forward within themselves. We are the richer for the camaraderie that developed from our sharing and working together.

As you experienced recently, there is much “hoopin’ and hollerin’” at the good news of a landing. While there is, of course, sadness at no longer having the wisdom that you have brought to the table, the joy that we all feel for you is most earnest.

Vaya con Dios, my friend.

*Seacoast Peers for Careers meets Wednesday, 9:30-11 AM, St. John’s UMC, Dover, NH.

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“What?” you ask. Happiness, of course.

Among the people I have met during my season of unemployment have been Howie Lyhte, an incredibly intelligent man who goes out of his way to share articles, tips, hints, with the rest of us who are part of the same list serves and groups. I think he’s been unemployed longer than I have; yet every time I see him, he is completely engaged with whatever is going on and has a welcoming smile on his face.

Another person I have come to know about is Dan DemaioNewton who is Director of Strategy and Business Development at Monster Worldwide. Pretty impressive job, wouldn’t you agree? Well, he has taken the time to create www.betterjobsfaster.org as a place where we work seekers can post resumes, share jobs, learn about upcoming meetings, and uplifting articles like the one that follows which I share with you on this Thanksgiving Eve.

Five Simple Rules to Be Happy

This story was sent to me by our fellow job seeker, Howie Lyhte. He was right, it did make me smile.  I’m sharing it with you in the hope that it also makes you smile and encourages you to focus on that which is most important. – Dan.

Happiness

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.  His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.

‘I love it,’ he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room; just wait. ‘That doesn’t have anything to do with it,’ he 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.

Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you’ve put in.

So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories!’

Thank you for your part in filling my Memory Bank.

I am still depositing.

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.

To all the special people in my life, especially Bob, Kim, Kirt, Britt and GrandBeagle Reggie, thank you for helping fill my Memory bank account! – Diana

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While there are many emotions and personality traits that are important to well being, one particular emotion has been shown to enable people to cope better during life transitions. They are less depressed, handle stress better, are more satisfied with their relationships and lives, and exercise more control over their environments, personal growth, purpose in life, and are less likely to avoid a problem or abuse substances.

What emotion is this? Gratitude.

But this goes beyond just saying, “thank you” when someone holds the door open for you. True gratefulness comes from the conscious decision to recognize the blessings in your life coupled with the emotional feelings that accompany a thankful heart. It is having an “attitude of gratitude” which includes not only counting and taking joy in your blessings, but deliberately displaying pleasure and appreciation to others in word and deed.

One of the things I have tried to bring to Seacoast Peers for Careers is this attitude of gratitude. Each week I ask everyone to share a blessing from the preceding week. When someone new joins the group, I ask the person to share a blessing that occurred BECAUSE of being unemployed. It is so easy for gatherings of people who are hurting (and unemployment does hurt!) to turn into a gripe session with conversations turning negative, blood pressures increasing, and frustrations building. How much better it is to focus on the good things, the things that give pleasure and make our hearts full.

A study by McCollough and Emmons in 2003 had three groups of participants. One group recorded daily events, another wrote down unpleasant experiences, and a third wrote down things for which they were grateful. The gratitude group was more likely to help others, exercise, and complete personal goals. They also reported more determination, optimism, alertness, energy, and enthusiasm. The study further found the people who took time to deliberately record their gratitude were more likely to feel loved and found more kindness reciprocated. These grateful people were grateful regardless of whether or not something special happened during their day. They didn’t just have moments of gratefulness, they had grateful attitudes.

Grateful individuals place less importance on material goods and are less likely to judge their own and others’ success in terms of accumulated possessions. They were less envious of others and more likely to share their possessions with others relative to less grateful persons.

And finally, the study noted that those who regularly attended religious services and engaged in religious activities such as prayer or meditation were more likely to be grateful and more likely to acknowledge a belief in the interconnectedness of all life and a commitment to and responsibility to others. While gratitude does not require a religious faith, faith enhances the ability to be grateful.

All of this resonates deep within my spirit and my belief system and can be summed up with a quote from II Thessalonians.

“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances.”

I believe this is the essence of having an attitude of gratitude. It’s all about choices …

William A. Ward, who wrote many inspirational maxims, said “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?”

Think about that not just two days from now on Thanksgiving but each and every day.

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