Throwback for the Weekend!

Good Morning!

This weekend I thought I would do a collection of songs I loved back in the day.  They take me to my teen years when things were so much easier, of course you couldn’t have convinced me of that then!

Last week I started writing a brief reason why I chose each song and I will continue to do that, but this weekend it’s purely for the memories!

Bring on the nostalgia!

Okay, so I lied.  I have to speak about this video.  Michael was a HUGE part of my childhood.  I adored him-he was my first boyfriend.  He was always controversial and I’m not here to talk about that.  I think he was THE true definition of a musical artist and a genius.  I bet there’s hardly an artist since the ’80’s who can say they weren’t influenced by him.  I wasn’t sure which song I was going to choose and then I came upon this video of his live performance at the 1988 Grammy Awards.  I knew this was the one, where he was truly in his element.  I love his emotion and connection to the music.  And those dance moves?  EPIC!

What a great start to the weekend!

Have fun!

 

 

10 Things I Would Tell My High School Self

10 Things I WouldTell My High School

This June marks 17 years since I graduated high school.  That seems so crazy to me because it doesn’t feel like 17 years have passed.  I don’t feel like I am old enough to have been out of high school for that long!  No wise comments either!  Hahaha….

A lot has happened in these fast 17 years though.  Some things I wish I had done differently and some choices I wish I would have never made.  But every thing that has happened has shaped me into who I am today and for that I am grateful.

With that being said, there are some things I wish I could go back and tell the young woman I was, but as we know, it’s hard to tell a teenager anything, so would I have listened?  It’s hard to say.  I thought I knew it all and sometimes, there isn’t anything anyone can say to you; you have to learn it for yourself.

Here are 10 things I would tell my high school self:

  1. These really are the days of your life.  I’m not going to say the BEST days of your life because that would imply that there’s nothing to look forward to as an adult.  Also, high school is hard.  Not necessarily in terms of the course work, but it terms of fitting in and making friends.  But these will most likely be the most carefree days of your life.  You will have responsibilities, but in most cases not like you will in adulthood.  Make the most of your high school career- join clubs, play sports, write for the newspaper, run for student council- don’t be afraid.
  2. Don’t spend so much time comparing yourself to others.  You don’t know what their story is and chances are they are just as insecure as you are!  Everyone has a struggle and comparing yourself to someone who you think has it “all” is unfair to yourself.  You are every bit as smart, pretty, funny, athletic, whatever, as they are, you just have to believe it and then cultivate that belief.  Most people are not born with the ability to get a 4.0 GPA.  It takes work and you’re not putting in all the work you could be.  Learn to love your curly hair; it really isn’t the Afro you think it is- didn’t you see that girl at school with the new perm?  People pay big bucks to have what you have naturally!
  3. You get to decide who you are.  You are not defined by who you hang out with- well to a degree.  There is something called guilt by association, it’s not necessarily fair but it’s true.  If you’re hanging out with a crowd that is known to regularly shoplift, even if you don’t, people will assume you do.  They’re not going to take the time to get to know the kids like you have, so be careful and choose your friends wisely.  You get to decide if you’re a shoplifter too or a music geek, a drama nerd, or a loner.  You may hang with all sorts of people but you don’t have to fit a label that others have placed on you.  Your grades also do not determine who you are.  You may not get the best grades but that is because you need to try harder, not because you are a slacker.  What I am saying is this, you have a choice in the person you want to be.  You don’t have to be what other people have said you are; so you mother told you that Lisa gives up when the going gets hard, but why does she get to decide that?  You are YOU, you decide when you “give up” and when you push harder!  You don’t have to go with the flow and just do what is expected of you.  You have a say in how your life is going to go and once you graduate, you will have the ONLY say in how your life is going to go, so you better start thinking for yourself.
  4. Don’t waste so much time on unattainable guys.  I don’t mean unattainable like they are out of your league.  ANY boy would be lucky to spend time with you!  I mean boys who don’t see your worth, your beauty, and who treat you badly.  You never know who could be looking at you while you are chasing boys not worth your time.  I know, you thought you loved him.  He was fun to hang out with and you two were like best friends.  You seemed to understand him but he treated you like crap most of the time.  Don’t you know you deserve more?  He had a lot deeper issues than you could have known and one day you two will make peace, but please know that his treatment of you had FAR more to do with him than you. However, that does NOT mean you should marry the first guy who really pays attention to you and makes you feel special.  Just trust me on this one.
  5. Don’t waste too much time on boys, period.  You need to discover who you are, independent of boys.  This is also one of the things that doesn’t define you- whether or not you have a boyfriend.  At no point in your life should you ever base your happiness or self-worth on having a man.  I am not saying that down the road a loving and respectful relationship won’t be worth it because it is totally worth it.  You need to find out what makes you happy, what your goals and dreams are, what experiences and memories you wish to create for yourself, and then see how having a relationship fits into that.  Build your life around you and the rest will fall into place.
  6. Being popular and having a lot of friends really isn’t all that important.  As the old saying goes, I’d rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies.  You probably don’t fully grasp that concept right now but let me tell you, I know a LOT of people, but very few would I call a true friend.  Not everyone is as kind and trusting as you are.  They won’t nurture your friendship the way you do.  You’ll learn this the hard way over the years.  What is important is being a good person despite what others may do to you.
  7. You are NOT fat!!!  You may not be a size 2 or even an 10, but you are perfect just the way you are.  Your body does not define your worth either!  (see previous blog post:http://bit.ly/1BtLJuO)  You are healthy but you could be taking better care of yourself, you know exercising and eating better.  Overall though, you have a great body!  We are bombarded every day with images of what the media wants us to believe is attractive but it’s not realistic or healthy sometimes.  God gave you the body you need to carry you through life, imperfections and all.  Treat it kindly and respect it for the vessel that it is.
  8. It’s okay to not know what you want to be when you grow up.  I don’t know why “they” think that an 18 year-old knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives!  Seriously, there is too much pressure put on kids to decide their life’s course early on in life, most times before they even truly know WHO they are, let alone WHAT they want to do for the next 50+ years!  College is important and you should go, if not for a career path then for the life lessons you will learn.  Just try not to rack up too much debt!  Live your life a bit, discover your passion, do what makes your insides sing, give back something meaningful to this world.  Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to know it all when you graduate high school!
  9. Go on your class trip!  I’m not sure why you think that staying home and hanging out with your new boyfriend is a good choice.  This is your first opportunity to experience life outside of Maine.  And NYC?!?!  Are you nuts?  I can’t think of a better way to kick off your new-found freedom than a trip to New York City with your best friends!  You should have participated in more fundraisers throughout the years so you wouldn’t feel so guilty about asking your parents for the money.  Or you could have saved money from the 3 jobs you have had all these years!  Start taking advantage of your life!  Once you are settled down, there won’t be too many chances for travel.  Which leads me to…
  10. Save all the $$ you’re spending on cd’s and other useless crap and use it to travel and experience life before college or starting a family!!  If there is just one thing I could impress upon you the most, it is to live your life before you commit yourself to others.  Be you for a while before you become a wife and a mother.  Motherhood is the most amazing thing, but it can wait.  Being a wife can wait.  You can be a girlfriend and still live your life.  If he’s the right man for you, he will support you in this.  He will want you to be wholly YOU so you can reach your full potential.  The world holds many lessons and adventures for you, so let go of your fear of being alone, let go of your need to make everyone else happy, and focus on what makes YOU happy!  Relationships and jobs will come and go but you will always be with you.  Make sure you don’t have any regrets and learn from each mistake you make. Oh, and all that cash you blew on tapes and cd’s?  One day there will be these things called iTunes and YouTube and it will amaze you how you can get all the music you want from them, sometimes for FREE!  No one listens to cd’s anymore and all the ones you have bought end up in a closet, like some sort of shrine….save your money!

There it is, the things I would tell myself if I could go back in time.  I’d like to think that I would at least listen and consider the advice.  It’s easy to say that I am grateful for my life experiences thus far because it’s not like I can turn back the clock.  But I truly believe I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing.  Of course there is room for improvement and some of this advice for my old self holds true for who I am today.  I hope to instill these messages in my two children so that one day they won’t look back and say they wished someone had told them this information in high school.

Tell me what you wish someone would have told you in high school in the comment section below!

 

Amazing things that will happen when you learn to enjoy being Alone

To be comfortable with being alone is really a gift to yourself. I enjoyed this article and I hope you do too!

Be Like Water

aloneeeYOU’LL GET TO RECHARGE.

Often times when we’re surrounded by other people, we’re expending a lot of energy. Trying to keep others happy, make them laugh, soothe their egos, read their emotions, and all of the other rigors that come along with regular interaction.

It can be mentally draining if you’re constantly connected to other people. A little alone time lets you recharge and take a break from the emotionally and mentally taxing job of constant interaction.

YOU’LL REFLECT MORE OFTEN.

Your life is always moving at a crazy fast pace. So fast in fact, that it’s probably rare when you have a moment alone to sit and reflect on your life.

Being alone gives you the perfect opportunity for a little self reflection. Since you aren’t spending so much time processing the thoughts and feelings of others, it’s the best time to turn your focus inwards.

Solitude provides the perfect environment for…

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What kind of memories do you want to create?

Best thing about memories

Recently, my husband acquired some property that is in need of repair.  The previous owners were an old couple and we don’t really know a lot of details, but it seems that the husband passed away and the wife went to live with one of the children.  I assume that the children took whatever mementos, trinkets, and pictures they felt were necessary but I have to say, a great deal was left behind.

The house has been vacant for a number of years and there has been significant water damage to the lower level.  We have sorted through rooms upon rooms of mildewy photos, books, papers, sewing materials, and assorted household items.  In doing so, we’ve learned quite a bit about the sort of people they were; a well-liked, religious African-American family with several children and a penchant for learning everything about anything they could get their hands on.  The man was highly educated, eventually earning his doctorate in education.  I have to assume this was a real feat for him because he came up through the south, having been born in the 1920’s with very little, and during a time when higher education for blacks was not exactly possible or encouraged, to say the least.  The wife was educated as well, though I did  not find as much out about her as I would have liked.  She was, I believe, quite a bit younger than him and probably a homemaker for the most part.

They had hundreds of books, some were VERY old, ranging from great works of literature by Shakespeare, to religions of the world, to the history slavery.  Even the modern literature they owned were by novelists such as Toni Morrison.  There were no fluffy, beach reads to be had in this house.  I would dare say there was not one book there that you could NOT learn from on some level.

There were file cabinets solidly filled with newspaper clippings, cards and letters from friends and family, dissertations the man had written about his travels and his history.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  Collection after collection that, to the untrained eye, would appear to be just a bunch of junk.  But as I was picking through some photos and saving out the undamaged ones (in case the family did not get all that they wanted), it occurred to me- they were hoarders of sorts, but not like the hoarders you see on television.  They didn’t have literal heaps of garbage laying around.  They were hoarding education and their own brand of memories I guess you could say.  They obviously thought the things they were saving were important, so why was I- a stranger- throwing away their prized possessions?

I’ll admit, I was angry at the children of these people.  Why didn’t they care about the things their parents thought were important?  Why hadn’t they taken better care of the place that housed their parent’s memories?  I thought about how I hope that when the time comes, my children will be sorting through my stuff and not some stranger.  I also thought about how I will not leave so MUCH stuff for them to sort.  I wondered what story the things I leave behind would tell my children?  If a stranger were to be throwing out of MY memories, what would they piece together about me based on their findings?

I have piles and piles of my children’s school and artwork saved.  I do throw

These treasures were just unearthed from our kitchen island.

These treasures were just unearthed from our kitchen island.

some of it away but a large portion of it I can’t bear to part with, it is far too cute!  I have a zillion photographs to organize.  I also have some special outfits that my kids wore when they were really little saved so they can share them with their own children.  My mother did this for me and when my daughter was born, I was able to bring her home in the very same sleeper I wore home from the hospital!  It really created a special memory for me and as she got older, she loved hearing the story of how we wore the same outfit.  I still have it tucked away and perhaps she or my son can bring home their child in it, provided they want to and it’s not falling apart!  I hope the items I have saved over the years will express to my children, or whoever, how much I loved my family and my life.

But beyond that, I hope it shows them that I valued creating living moments to remember and memories with my loved ones, not piles of papers and books.  Although the papers and books were interesting, I have to wonder how much of these people’s time was spent collecting these items?  How much of that time could have been spent creating an intangible collection of memories?

We can’t take the things we accumulate with us when we die and I know the last thing I am going to be worried about in my old age is having more “stuff.”  I want to create lasting memories with my family.  I want them to look back on our life together and smile at the things we did together, whether it’s a craft project, a trip, or just camping in the back yard.

Memories are a funny thing though.  I have 35 years worth of memories We don't remember days,stored in my head and sometimes I have a hard time recalling one if put on the spot.  Quick, what’s your favorite memory from your freshman year of high school?  Uh……um……can I get back to you on that?  I lived through it but I don’t remember a lot about it, and NO it’s not because it was so long ago!  If I sit and consider things, I am able to recall specific scenarios but it’s not something I think about often.

When my father passed away almost a year ago, I remember feeling overwhelmed by the thought that I had to remember every single detail about him; every moment we shared had to be logged daily so I wouldn’t forget him.  It tore me up that there were things I could not remember.  But as the days have passed, I realize that I don’t have to keep those memories at the forefront of my mind.  He enters my mind often, all on his own and there are things everywhere that remind me of him or call to mind a certain memory of him; an opportunity to play a practical joke on one of my kids or husband, a song on the radio, a “Remember the time when Papa” story from one of my kids, or my son’s favorite- the classic “Pull my finger,” trick that Papa showed him.

Scents, sounds, places, objects, and other memories can spark a recollection for me, and not just about my father.  I specifically hung metal wind chimes in the tree outside my home when I moved in because it reminded me of summers spent at my grandparent’s house a child.  They lived by the salt water and I spent a fair amount of days on their back porch, listening to the wind chimes and the waves lapping the rocky shoreline.  Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil, coincidentally, also reminds me of those days.  A whiff of Jean Naté body fragrance reminds me of my great-grandmother, who has also passed away.

It’s nice to have objects that you can take out and look at to provide you with

My father's guardian angel coin.

My father’s guardian angel coin.

memories; I have the tiny guardian angel coin that I bought for my father years ago and he proudly made sure to carry in his pocket with all his coins every day.  He would always take out the handful of change and pick through to find it and show me he had it with him whenever he saw me.  I can see and feel where the details of the angels face and wings have been rubbed smooth by his fingers and presumably, all those coins.  It means the world to me and I would be heartbroken if I lost it, but it’s not my father.  He’s in my heart and soul.  He lives there, not in some coin.

So, I will continue to collect my sentimental objects as memory keepers, but I intend to collect far more memories you can’t hold in the palm of your hand.  To me, these are the real crown jewels of my family.

How about you?  What will your collections tell people after you are gone? What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?

I want to  know what you think

 

 

 

 

Music for the Weekend!

HOORAY for Saturday!

I decided to start doing something a little different with these posts.  Their purpose is to share music that I like but I thought if I let you know why I like it, it would help you understand and get to know me better.

I hope you like the music I have chosen.  Be sure to comment and let me know!

 

This song inspires me to let things go.  There’s always going to be something trying to bring you down and you just have to shake it off.  I love to listen to this on the treadmill.

I love the lyric “May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground,
Carry on.”  It’s so profound to me; never give up, never stop moving forward, use your experiences as stepping stones.

I shared this not only because I just love Sam Smith’s voice, but because once you find that person who touches your soul, you should hold on for dear life and cherish them

This song reminds me of my husband, who unknowingly stole my heart with just a look and has been holding my hand ever since.

This song was introduced to me by my friend Angela.  I just heard it for the first time when I created this post and I have to say, it’s pretty cool!

 

Have a great weekend!

.

 

 

How to get your ideas out of Pinterest and into the real world!

So there I was, in between pins of flour and butter free, deep dark chocolate cookies and a really cool coat rack using old door knobs and fencing, when I realized I was LOST.

Lost in Pinterestville!

And worse yet, I’ve doomed nearly 4,000 pins to the same fate!

Pinterestville(1)

Pinterest, in case you don’t know, is an online dream board with, literally, an infinite amount of images to save and sort how you see fit.  It really is an amazing tool if you regularly use and view what you pin.  It can be a colossal time waster as well, if you’re not careful.

I have 71 Pinterest boards and counting,  They range in categories from sinfully yummy treats (board name:  Dying a Slow and Tasty Death), to home ideas I could do now (board name: Casa Dolce Casa-Italian for Home Sweet Home-just trying to class up the place a bit), to things I’d like to do before I die ( board name is, of course: Bucket List), to the shallow end of the pool for eye candy (board name:  Caliente!  Again, trying to class it up and saying HOT in Spanish makes the ogling feel less, well ogle-y).

I’ve been known to spend hours re-naming my boards and organizing my pins!  Some of you may remember my last post on time management (http://bit.ly/1Dn5E45) and how I tend to like avoiding things I have to do.  Pinterest is a right up there with the things I’d rather be doing than cleaning, cooking, or paying the bills.  So I have definitely gotten lost in what I affectionately like to call, Pinterestville.  Sometimes it’s a really great place to get carried away in because it can spark your imagination, light your dreams on fire, or simply just take the day’s stresses away.

In Pinterestville all things are possible.  There’s no drama.  There’s no snarkiness.  At least not at face value.  I could (and probably will!) write a whole other post on the competitiveness it ignites between people.  But, by and large, it is a place to dream and plan.

All my 3,913 pins are really awesome.  That’s why I pinned them!  However, unfortunately for most of them, they stay pinned right where they are, never to see the light of day again.  And what about all that time I took to pin these ideas?  Was it all wasted?  I’ll be honest, some of it was, indeed, wasted.

I know I am not alone though.  Many of us spend hours pinning and creating boards for things we will never make, do, or see.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  How do we drag these pins out of the Black Hole that is Pinterest and get them in your life?

DSCF4133One of the things I have done in the past is to have a couple of friends and their children over for a Pinterest craft party.  We did this around Christmas one year and the kids had a blast making ice cream cone Christmas trees.  I also try to do several crafts I’ve pinned for each holiday with my kids.  It is fun to do in a group setting but I like to spend the one-on-one time with my kids since we’re all usually so busy.

Another thing I have done is invite a couple of girlfriends over for lunch or coffee and have them bring something they’ve pinned and would like to try out.  It’s really cool to see the different kinds of tastes people have.  It’s even more fun if you prepare the items together!  These kinds of “Pinterest Parties” are growing in popularity.

In the past, I’ve scheduled a day a week into our meal planning for new foods.  This is something I haven’t done for quite a while and I think I am going to change that!  It’s good for all of us to try different things but I should probably stick to preparing food from my Eat to Live board and not the Dying a Slow and Tasty Death one.

I’ve pinned enough activities and crafts to do with the kids that none of us should ever complain about being bored!  So here’s to actually DOING them with the kids!  Not only will the time I spent on Pinterest be worthwhile, but stronger family bonds will be formed.  And I foresee a LOT of laughs!

One of the things I like about Pinterest is that people are able to “Follow” you and see what you have pinned and you are able to “Follow” others as well.  It’s really an innovative networking base.  I’ve recently discovered how powerful it is in making a name for my blog.  I create most of the graphics I use in my posts, so once I have a published article, I take the graphics I’ve used and pin them to my Inspired, Blog: Genuinely Speaking, or Put it in Quotations board, depending on how I wish to categorize them.  All of my posts have the ability to be pinned as well.  So every time I pin something of mine, my 168 followers will see it in their news feed and hopefully re-pin it for all their followers to see.  168 followers is not a lot, but I am working on growing that number.  You can follow me by clicking the link below:

https://www.pinterest.com/lisaclark2014/

While I’m sure there will be plenty more times that I use Pinterest to avoid household chores or to stay up late, I’m going to try hard to make sure I don’t get tied up there and even harder to make sure my precious pins are put to good use!  All things considered, there are worse places to get lost!

I’ll see you in Pinterestville!