A place where I can share interesting ideas and maybe get a few things off my chest

Archive for May, 2010

Rampaging Appreciation

I am currently listening to an audio book by Esther and Jerry Hicks.  It is the second half of “Ask and It Is Given” and talks about different processes for improving your mood and mindset, or as they call it, “raising your vibrational rate”.

“Rampaging Appreciation” is along the same lines as the age-old sage advice to count your blessings, or the 12-Step Gratitude List.  Abraham (for whom Esther and Jerry purport to speak) advises that this exercise can be done anyplace and anytime for immediate vibrational boosting, but is most effective when done regularly, in writing.

For your enjoyment, amusement, edification – whatever applies – I offer my first session of Rampaging Appreciation, live, from my office in Oldsmar, Florida.

I love my desk.  It is nice and big with plenty of desktop space for my computer and my bright lamp and all the desktop essentials, leaving plenty of room for writing space for my journaling, too.

I love my bright lamp for when it’s raining and I need extra light for my brain.

I love my big Goddess coffee mug.  It holds LOTS of coffee.

I love my mug rugs that I got years ago, handcrafted through Martin Luther Homes.

I love my computer and my flat screen, which helps me have extra room on top of my desk.  I love being able to listen to music on it and watch videos and talk to Josh during the day through IM.  I love having all kinds of photos as my desktop background, currently one of my beautiful granddaughter sitting in the middle of a field of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes

I love my curved keyboard.  

I love my little goddess figure holding a crystal sphere in her lap.

I love my computer speaker system that lets me listen in stereo without having to wear headphones.

I being able to check books out from the library so that I can read and have access to a lot more material than if I had to purchase each item.

I love the pull-outs on either side of my desk so I have plenty of room to spread out when I need it.

I love my big bulletin board, where I can pin upcoming events and maps and papers that I don’t want to lose (like the marriage license).

I love my blue water bottle that reminds me to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

I love my Rolodex that I found for $2 at the thrift store.  The base, plus the dividers and all the cards, would have cost me about $40 new at the office supply.

I love air conditioning.

I love my office, which is in the back of the house, far enough away from the front living room that I don’t have to listen to the sounds of the Encore Western Channel all day. 

I guess that’s enough for now.  I’m feeling pretty darned good.  I suggest everyone give this Rampaging Appreciation stuff a try.

Toastmasters Speech #1 – The Icebreaker

I recently joined the Top of the Morning Toastmasters group. It meets right here in Oldsmar, at 7:30 on Wednesday mornings. I understand your disbelief in the idea of me being anywhere (besides my own bed) voluntarily at 7:30 a.m., but Wednesday is also the day that Mother goes to the senior center, and I have to set my alarm for 6 a.m. to make sure she’s up and has coffee before her van arrives. I’m up anyway, so it seemed like a good plan.

And so it has proven to be. This morning I gave my Icebreaker speech, which is the first project in the Competent Communicator’s workbook. I have actually done this project before, but that was over two years ago in Kerrville, so I thought I’d just start all over, since I hadn’t gotten very far anyway.

The Icebreaker Speech is supposed to be for four to six minutes. I ran through it last night with Steve, who clocked me at a little over five minutes. He cautioned me about being nervous and talking faster than normal, which would speed up my time. This morning, I concentrated on speaking at an even pace, and ended up talking for 8 minutes and 12 seconds. There’s a timer’s light box that gives the speaker cues on how much time is left depending on what lights are lit. I didn’t even notice the light box until all the lights were lit – and I had no idea how long they had been. Oh, well.

I’m including the prepared text of the speech below, but since I didn’t practice it as much as I should have, it’s not exactly what I said. I missed a couple of things, and added a couple more, but it’s basically the same.

One of the things I found very interesting was my opening. I’ve been trying to figure out who I am and where I am going, outside-world-wise, for the past few years. Maybe this is the answer, and I just have to figure out exactly what that means.

My name is Kay St. John, and I am a story-teller. My friends and loved ones are well-acquainted with the phrases “I have a story about that” and “Do you want the short version or the long version?” The short version will tell you all you need to know, but the long version is usually much more entertaining.

The memories of my childhood and the knowledge of events in my family are stored in my brain as fables, cautionary tales, fairy tales, and bedtime stories. I’d like to share a few of those with you this morning.

When my Papaw, Daddy’s daddy, was a small child, his father was killed in a logging accident. He left a widow with three young children, one still a babe in arms. Her husband’s family members offered to take the older children, as they were old enough to put to work but she would have to figure out something to do with the baby. She thanked them, kept all her children with her, and did laundry for men in the logging camp to support her family. This story taught me that mothers in our family take care of their children.

When Momma and Daddy first married, he was fresh out of the Navy, and worked a small farm as sharecroppers. I grew up hearing about how Daddy had chopped wood for the stove and Momma had used the pump on the porch to draw water to be heated on that wood stove for my sister’s baths when she was a baby. After a few years, Mom and Dad packed up and left Magnolia, Arkansas for Lubbock, Texas, where my brother was born. Mamaw, Daddy’s mother, was very upset and told them they were going to starve to death in Texas. Daddy replied, “What’s the difference? We’re starving to death here.” That story taught me about taking initiative.

After Lubbock, where my brother was born, the family moved to Houston, where I was born. When I was about a year old, Daddy was laid off from his job. He went to Dallas, where he found work, worked for a week to get a paycheck. Mother had packed up the house while he was gone, so when he got off work that Friday, he rented a truck, drove to Houston, they worked all night packing up the truck, and then drove back to Dallas with Daddy driving and Momma, my 14-year-old sister, 7-year-old brother, 1-year-old me, and the dog, all in the cab of the moving truck. When we got to Dallas, to the house Daddy had rented, they unloaded the truck so that it could be returned within the 24-hour rental period, so they wouldn’t have to pay the 2nd day truck rental. This story taught me that sometimes you’ve just gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

With my sister being fourteen years older, I heard many stories about her childhood and adolescence, many of which had to do with her being a normal rebellious teenager – and being vocal about her opinions and intentions. I don’t know that there was much difference in how many times each of us was grounded as a teenager, but I was NEVER grounded for something I had yet to do. The stories of my sister taught me that if I could control anything, I could control what came out of my mouth.

Now I tell my own stories – of how while my children were growing up, I got my bachelor’s degree on the 17-year plan. I attended school and worked part-time, taking college classes in between PTA meetings, piano and swimming lessons, and serving as Lutheran Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teacher, Cub Scout Den Mother, Girl Scout Leader and High School Band Mom. I sewed summer play clothes, Easter dresses, and Halloween costumes. My alter-ego was OmniMom – omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent Mom. I loved it.

My degree plan was based on the idea that as I had been reading anthropology, sociology, and psychology for fun, it would be nice to have a piece of paper indicating that I knew a little bit about at least one of these subjects. After only four years at the University of Texas at Dallas, I graduate with a BA in Psychology, with a Sociology minor.

I spent five years working in a small halfway house for people coming out of the psych ward, and then another five years working at a much bigger halfway house for parolees and probationers. My pay was about the same, sometimes a bit less, than I had made as a bookkeeper while I was working my way through college. And after ten years, I was quite ready for a break from direct client contact. I went back to bookkeeping.

A little over three years ago, my long-widowed mother decided she no longer wanted to live by herself way out in East Texas. I had moved from Dallas to Kerrville shortly before that, and we agreed that she would sell her house and move to Kerrville to live with me. I thought I would be getting a roommate, but during the move I realized that she really shouldn’t have been living alone as long as she had, and I had to become accustomed to being a caregiver for my mother. We have both come a long way in our new roles since then.

I also have a great story of how I came to move to Tampa, but it’s a pretty long tale in and of itself, so I will save it for another time, except to say that I will be getting a new name in less than three weeks.

Basic Unity Principles

As noted previously, I attended a service at the Unity Church of Palm Harbor yesterday.  I received a visitor packet which included a copy of the Basic Unity Principles, as outlined by Connie Fillmore in her book “Keys to the Kingdom”.  I think these principles are the closest thing I’ve seen to my current belief set.  However, after attending the Lutheran church for almost 20 years, it seems to me that Unity services need more singing.

Basic Unity Principles
1. God is absolute good, everywhere present.
2. Human beings have a spark of divinity within them, and Christ spirit within.  Their very essence is of God, and therefore they are also inherently good.
3. Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking.  Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought.
4. Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind and therefore brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity, and everything good.
5. Knowing and understanding the laws of life, also called Truth, are not enough.  A person must also live the truth that he or she knows.

I went to an unusual writing workshop yesterday. It was given by Janet Conner, author of Writing Down Your Soul: How to Activate and Listen to the Extraordinary Voice Within  and presented at the Unity Church of Palm Harbor. She gave a short talk at both the morning services and then had the workshop there after a light lunch for attendees.

I had borrowed her book from the library a few weeks ago, after reading a small piece she wrote for the Unity daily meditation magazine “The Daily Word”.  She talks about using a form of journaling as a prayerful, meditative practice, carrying on a dialogue with God, something along the lines of Neale Donald Walsch’s “Conversations With God”.

As I had already read her book, and had actually started the meditative, interactive journaling she describes and promotes, I was a few steps ahead of some of the other participants.  We listened to music designed to put us into a meditative brain-wave state, and what kept popping into my head during our writing session was that I needed to start writing, and specifically that I needed to start blogging again.  I haven’t written much of anything here since moving to Tampa, but it looks like I will be soon.

Tag Cloud