Monday, February 10, 2020
So to help quiet those thoughts in my mind and bring back the JOY, I have been doing a combination of things...but it boils down to three main things: Praying, Journaling and Blogging. All of these things work beautifully to restore and maintain my sanity. Sometimes it's hard to find the time to Journal or Blogg, but the awesome thing about prayer is I can do it any time, anywhere and I know God is listening. Very good to know that. God has helped me out of more than one "sticky" situation, and always manages to help me climb out of a deep barrel.
Sometimes I think I should have majored in Philosophy instead of Journalism...Yikes my brain hurts. In any case, need to take a break from all this "joy seeking" and pack another box for the big move. Thanks for listening.
Sunday, December 1, 2019
Today is the first day of Advent on the Christian calendar. Advent means "coming" in Latin and as Christians we are preparing our hearts and minds for the coming of the celebration of the birth of Christ. John the Baptist proclaimed this coming in Mark 1 2-3: As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.' "
It is also the beginning of the stressful season with all those TO-DO lists that will most likely weave their way into everyone's lives these days. Things we do to "prepare the way of the Lord.."
Set up tree...shop for gifts...prepare for Christmas party...bake cookies...plan Christmas meals...set-up guest rooms...write Christmas letter and cards..... (just to name a few)
The holiday season is different for everyone, perhaps everyone's lists have different priorities, but I believe that we could all benefit by adding Find Joy to our lists.
Yet, sometimes as Christians we forget what the beauty of the season is all about: celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Yes, it's obvious....but sometimes we need to bring back the GRATITUDE for blessings and bring back the JOY.
I personally find encouragement in seeking joy, it helps make the rough part of our journey more tolerable. So I will try to find the Joy in the every day....even if it is a little squirrel frolicking in the snow. Julie Etta Smith
Friday, November 15, 2019
|Me stressed? Nah....I've done this so many times before.|
Speaking of the stress of moving, to help diminish the stress and help clarify things in my own mind; I am doing my favorite activity: writing. It's a little healthier than drinking, which is a close second for stress reduction. I still pursue the joy of libations, depends on the day. Yet writing still is incredibly therapeutic for me...so here I am at the keyboard again.
In any case, when we moved 3 years ago I blogged about it. I dug out one of my old blogs on the subject that I had written just prior to our move. I discovered that I was incredibly distraught at the time because I had not completed the book based on my Grandmother's diaries. Fear not, after all the craziness of the move, I did settle in and complete the book. My relatives who knew and loved my Grandmother as I do, were pleased that the book is a fitting remembrance of my Grandmother. I am so glad that I was able to accomplish that task for my family. Hopefully, I can continue to pursue my writing and "keep on plugging", I do have another book in the works. I will survive this move as well and perhaps even complete the book "in progress".
Monday, July 22, 2019
|Photo by: Aleksander Antonijevic|
So getting to the chuckle that was brought to my day.... as I slipped on the exercise pants, when I saw the Danskin label I thought of myself as a pretty Portly Ballerina. Now I was being gentle with myself- I didn't say a FAT ballerina; I was so kind to use the euphemism "portly". Then it brought a smile to my face when I realized what I would look like trying to attempt ballet. Yet, I dressed, went to the gym and felt strangely empowered by being thankful for what my body CAN do, not dwelling on the things I CAN'T do. I also try very hard to focus on what my body can do, not what it looks like. Yes, my legs are fat, my knees hurt....but my legs still work, and my knees bend. Perhaps it takes me longer to climb a flight of stairs than it did a few years back, but by golly I can still do it.
3 Cheers for Julie. Yes, I want to stress the importance of being your own cheering section.
Now perhaps I have a biased opinion, because I never took ballet. Yet I hold in high regard the beauty of the art form of dance and am always amazed how an accomplished dancer, ballet and other forms of dance, can discipline their bodies to perform incredible athletic feats. Truly an inspiration. I did however take a one semester course in Jazz Dancing. Oh my gosh. What an incredibly fun class. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but never did get the full routine down pat. As I said previously, not a good dancer. I remember to this day it was to Chaka Khan's "I Feel for you"....great song. Click on this link to hear that good ol' song and I think you will agree, it's very "danceable:
https://youtu.be/hX9E44mClKs In the class, there were many fancy dance steps and motions, in many different sequences. Even if I "messed up" several times, it was so great just becoming immersed in the dance and moving your body to the music. Isn't that the point of dancing? That's why I always have music to move me at the gym. Helps motivate me.
So on that playlist from my MP3 player I use at the gym, many of the songs help me to rise above "body image" and work to keep the body I have healthier and happy. In terms of female body image and empowerment, Meghan Trainor has many songs to inspire. One of my favorite lines is from "All About that Bass" : several lines encourage loving the body we have: Meghan sings: " Yeah, it's pretty clear, I ain't no size two....I see the magazines working that Photoshop. We know that shit ain't real. Come on now, make it stop...Cause every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top."
Julie E. Smith
Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Although sometimes the note taking is not for quite such a concrete purpose, but rather just to clarify my own random ramblings in my brain. Like many people, it helps me to remember things. This concept of my propensity for frequent note-taking came to mind today at a Weight Watchers meeting. A fellow meeting attendee inquired, "You're taking notes?" I explained: "Yeah, I know it's weird...but it really helps to remember all the pointers and great ideas that are shared at meetings."
She seemed to think that made sense, or maybe she was just being polite, but it really doesn't worry me. That's just who I am...a journalist and a note taker. I don't trust my memory and it really does help to highlight what I view as important. I have even been known to jot notes on the church bulletin when a particular sermon has inspired me to pursue further discussion or reading. I have generated several blog topics that way...(Thanks Pastor Barry for your inspiration.) So I just keep on taking notes and hopefully keep on learning new things. One can never live long enough on this earth to know everything...there is always something new to learn.
So I keep writing, reading and learning as a perpetual student in a variety of areas of study. Of course I have my favorites, and I doubt I will ever go back to studying Algebra or Trigonometry....Argghhhh...scary thought!! Yet having the opportunity to always learn something new is a blessing. Albert Einstein expressed this well by saying: "Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it."
My mother is truly an inspiration to me. And to her grandchildren as well. She always finds something new to discuss and to learn about with other people: always ready to embark on new learning adventures. She is a "newspaper article clipper" and has an uncanny knack for knowing just what the people in her life are interested in. Any article on the National Parks (one of my passions) always finds its way to me. One of my sons is a civil engineer living in Alaska and working to assist with reliable energy sources. You can bet Mom always finds energy development and Alaska articles for him. Well, you get the idea and the list goes on for her finding new information that affects the lives of those she loves. She obtained her undergrad and Masters degree quite some time ago....but the learning just keeps on going.
When I travel and have a brochure in hand, its funny that additional notes always end up on the side margins. I have little tid-bits of information that I know I will forget if I don't jot them down. I own several journals that I take such joy in filling up the pages. Some are used for story ideas, some just for the sheer joy of writing. I know we are still in the peak of summer...but the Back to School sales will be upon us soon. Every August (sometimes even late July) I delight in the crisp, white pages in the spiral notebooks and packets upon packets of pens and pencils. All waiting to be used. My husband has to keep me away from those aisles in the store...I probably have enough journals, spiral notebooks and pens to last at least five or six years....I better get busy.
Julie Etta Smith
Monday, May 13, 2019
|My Alma Mater: TRHS- Des Moines,IA|
Yet, in someways the special building or place can evoke memories that stand alone-devoid of any connections to other people in your life. Perhaps those places serve a purpose in our memory in and of themselves. They help to provide a highly personal collection of memories that is exclusively our own, ours and ours alone. An example I'm thinking of from my child hood is a special place I used to go near my Grandmother's house. I used to "escape" there to be alone with my thoughts and also to reconnect with nature. It was in the nearby woods, close enough to the road so I wouldn't feel lost, but nestled in the trees so I could feel alone. There was a huge slab of stone, quite comfortable to sit upon. I dubbed it my "thinking rock". Whenever we went to visit, I sought it out to have some precious "Me time".
|"Sometimes, I guess there just aren't enough rocks"|
The discussion about what triggers the memory most, people or places, can be revised very quickly when one finds out that it is not the sense of sight that is the strongest sense for triggering memory. Out of all of our 5 senses, scientists have confirmed that the sense of smell is the strongest for memory recall. Here is a ranking, that is generally agreed upon in the scientific community, of how our five senses rate in assisting us with our memory recall.
- Smell - Certain smells can trigger vivid memories almost instantaneously.
- Taste - Taste is closely linked to smell, so it also has a powerful connection to memory,
- Touch - Textures and certain feelings can bring out old memories.
- Sight- Most people consider this the most important sense, however it does not rank high on the list for triggering memory.
- Sound - I found this very ironic that sound is the least important sense for recalling memories. Hard to believe when I think of all my favorite music from my high school and college days. Maybe this ranking is different for different people (?)
It's interesting though that memories are frequently revised and embellished, sometimes we only remember what we want to remember. Again it's the old self-preservation of the psyche, wanting to protect one's self. Who can blame you?
However memories are triggered for you, they are an important part of what defines us as a person and helps to keep us mentally happy and healthy. Whatever form they take: a building, a photograph, the scent of your aunt's favorite casserole, just cherish them and let them be refreshed now and then so they don't become lost in a dusty, remote corner of the psyche. Bring on the nostalgia, it's good for the soul. JES
Friday, April 12, 2019
Long before texting and Facebook acronyms were in vogue, the pervasive use of acronyms in everyday conversations and written communications has been evident. Think of the very first acronym you probably learned in elementary school, or earlier: the USA (United States of America) Some acronyms of this nature are so pervasive and commonly used, they take on a life of their own and almost become a word in and of themselves.
|Have you had your daily dose of alphabet soup today?|
Yet many acronyms are only familiar to certain groups that use them with common shared interests. This frequently streamlines communications and assists in getting your message across…if the people you are conversing with understand what the acronym stands for. How many times have you found yourself thinking….Oh Kaaaay, well what does that mean? The use of acronyms is very common and almost always found in a group of persons that share the same interest; they all use the same types of languages and phrases to share information about their common interest.
I was recently prompted to write about acronyms because of recent “overuse” of them in many modern conversations: especially pharmaceutical commercials. Oh Gracious! There are so many ailments that have been assigned so many different acronyms that even if you did become ill, how do you know what it is you are dealing with? Also, how do you know if the recommended medication is for you? Obviously, talk to your doctor first. If you have reason to know what any of these letters stand for, I would imagine you would be discussing this with your medical provider….not pondering the possibilities from network television. Nevertheless, it is truly amazing the letters that get thrown out there frequently to confuse the subject matter. Bear in mind, too that you best not be mixing up your letters! ED (Erectile Dysfunction) is quite different from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), which is different from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). When you hear a commercial on NBC (National Broadcast Corporation) about MBC (Metastatic Breast Cancer) you will know that are talking about breast cancer, not the station affiliate. I heard that commercial several times and I thought they were saying NBC. Closer listening helped me to identify it as MBC. I’m not making light of the illnesses, I am just saying it gets very confusing throwing all that verbiage around. There are so many more, but here are just a few: MD (Macular Degeneration), COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)….just to name a few.
Video Gamers, both on-line and solo versions, have developed a whole new language today including of course several acronyms for communicating with your fellow gamers. Here are a few that those who play are probably very familiar with: DD (Dungeons and Dragons), GG (Good Game) BG (Bad Game or Battleground, depending on the context), BRB (Be Right Back…even the most dedicated gamer has to take a bathroom break now and then…) DPS (Damage Per Second)
On the topics of sports and leisure, wow….the field of sports seems to even have the pharmaceuticals beat when it comes to the use of acronyms. Some of these are just so automatic; you don’t even think that the NFL stands for the National Football League….you just think NFL. Nevertheless here are a few more to load up your bowl of alphabet soup: AFC(American Football Conference, NFC (National Football Conference) NBA (National Basketball Association), WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association), NHL (National Hockey League) PGA (Professional Golf Association)…..well, you get the idea and I bet you can name a whole lot more.
In the work place, acronyms are very pervasive and definitely serve their purpose. Every occupation has their own set of acronyms and abbreviations used fluently and frequently. Since I am married to an engineer and have a son who is also an engineer I am “privy” to many of the acronyms used in that field. Here is just a sampling: ASCE(American Society of Civil Engineers), IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), PMP (Project Management Plan), PE(Professional Engineer), EIT(Engineer in Training), CEM (Certified Energy Manager), PPE(Personal Protection Equipment, safety glasses, etc,)
Sometimes awkward moments, and frequently humorous results, occur when conversations including acronyms are not understood by both parties. True story: a friend of mine was discussing current issues when the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement came up. My friend was not familiar with that particular acronym and could not understand how the Bureau of Land Management-BLM fit in with that story. Embarrassment followed and a little light of recognition came on. Ohhhhh, that BLM! It is also funny how one extra letter can change the whole meaning: if you recently received a map and directions from your local AAA (American Automobile Association) you can find your way to your AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meeting.
The texting and Facebook acronyms open up a whole new category of acronyms that are too varied and numerous to include in this blog. Yet, I bet many of us know the frequently used ones, and choose to use our favorites time and again. Right? LOL!(Laugh Out Loud) So I bid you adieu for now and TTYL(Talk To You Later) JES (not truly an acronym, but I use it a lot: Julie E. Smith)