Tag Archives: Revelation

Ready to Break in the Summer!

17 May

I Love Summer Break!“No more pencils! No more books! No more teacher’s dirty looks!” Students chant this with excitement at the end of the semester, but they’re not the only ones excited for the summer break. Though many teachers still have about a month to go, most college semesters have ended or are drawing to a close. Some people scoff at the idea of teachers having a summer break and don’t believe they deserve a few months “off,” but most of us work really hard and put in an insurmountable amount of hours working tirelessly for our students to be successful in our courses, not to mention administrative duties.

What’s interesting, however, is that I am not looking forward to my break so that I can just relax all day and do nothing. I’m actually already thinking of ways that I can improve my lessons for the fall semester and putting together new course materials. There are so many home projects, writing projects and activities with my daughter I’m looking forward to doing.  Of course, I’m looking forward to vacationing, but I’m eager to accomplish the tasks on my checklist as well. I wonder if I’m the only one looking forward to all of the work I can get done during my summer break???

All the best,

Tanya

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What My Students Taught Me

10 May

The pastStack of Essays month has been filled with hectic office hours and a deluge of  research papers trying their best to overwhelm me. My ability to be stern yet empathetic has constantly been challenged by the plethora of excuses regarding late papers. Upon wanting to let out a deep sigh along with a grumble, I received a visit from a former student who was genuinely concerned when he heard I had broken a bone in my wrist recently. Though he did not earn an “A” in my course, he shared how he always  left my class feeling like he actually learned something.

He was the first of quite a few visits and emails within the past couple of weeks from former and current students offering praise and appreciation for my teaching skills. As much as I do look forward to the summer break, I sincerely do love teaching and being able to have a positive impact on my students. My students have taught me that even when it may not seem like I am getting through to them, I am. The end of the semester three ring circus is worth it for all of my students as they keep me rejuvenated and looking forward to the semesters to come.

All the best,

Tanya

Split Second Decisions Hoping for Second Chances

22 Mar

Day-in-60-SecondsSingle moments can forever change our lives. Do you recall times of just wishing you could change the last few minutes leading up to that trivial decision? Just a few days ago, I received some disturbing news which made me think about how our split second decisions can impact the course of our lives.

A young woman and former student I mentored for two years was on the front page of a newspaper for allegedly shooting at the father of her one year old child while he was holding the baby. Neither of them were injured, yet this is a very serious crime. Of course, I do not know the circumstances  surrounding this event which could have ended far more tragically, but I do know that this decision which was acted out in a matter of seconds will forever change her life and the lives of those involved directly and indirectly.

Even though I was mainly her mentor while she was enrolled at the college, she was always respectful and sweet towards me, and stayed in contact after she left the college. What pushed her to this point? I wonder if there’s something more that I could have done to offer guidance or support. What if I took a few more seconds out of my day to reach out to her? Would her decision had been different? People get so busy with their lives, including me from time to time. As much as I make an effort to be there for others, there usually is someone who may be going through a difficult time, yet I was negligent in making the time to even be aware that they needed my support.

Sometimes, the decisions we make or choose not to make do not allow for second chances. It only takes a few seconds to change the course of not just our lives but the lives of others for better or for worst. Regardless of the outcome, I am hopeful that she will learn and grow in a positive way from this experience and will not allow her split second decision to dictate the course of the rest of her life.

All the best,

Tanya

Driving Me Away!

15 Mar

Tanya Harris aka AnonomzMost of us are excited when we purchase a new car or even a used car. We make sure it’s always polished and clean inside and out. The maintenance is done without delay, and we’re overly conscientious making sure there are no scratches or dings on its exterior. The car takes care of us, and we take care of it. As time goes by, however, regular wear and tear occurs, and no matter how much effort we put into maintaining our vehicles, problems, some unforeseen and some imminent, drive a wedge between us and the car we once loved.

I’ve had my present vehicle for a little over eight years and am grateful for all of the many places it’s allowed me to go. It took me on my interview at the college where I now work six years ago. It took me to the hospital to give birth to my daughter almost a year ago. Without it, I would have missed some of the best moments of my life. For a good while, I’ve been driving without a car note which has been wonderful. Unfortunately, within the past year, my car has had one problem after another causing me to put  a substantial amount of money into it as though I’m paying a car note. Lately, I’ve begun to question if it is worth it and if I am better off getting a new vehicle.

The more I deliberate over this decision, the more I connect it to relationships. Most start off where everything is wonderful, just like a smooth ride. We’re happy, do what we need to do to maintain those relationships, yet regular wear and tear occurs. This is typically where some of us are ready to “trade in” the relationship while others are willing to invest a little more time since the relationship has had good moments. Then there are instances where some major problems occur that require much more than basic maintenance.  Some problems may be so costly that they’re not even be worth fixing. Nevertheless, we hold onto some relationships for longer than we should because of the wonderful moments we had in the past,  they are convenient, we’ve invested a lot of time or even money or we are just hesitant to start new ones. Of course, people are not cars and have more value, but I do wonder how many of us keep relationships going when so many issues in them are driving us away. I know I’m guilty of doing this. Are you?

All the best,

Tanya

Is What You Perceive What You Believe?

8 Mar
Duck! Rabbit!

From Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld

Not long ago, I attended a workshop  where the presenter displayed a picture of what appeared to be a duck to some and a rabbit to others. Though he said there was no right or wrong answer, I still wonder why I saw the rabbit first? Today, I read a passage in my Taoism book about how there are no objective viewpoints because our perceptions always get in the way. This is very true because I’ve learned that my perception has the power to dictate the direction in which I am headed or not headed.

When I was a child and into early adulthood, I struggled with low self-esteem and simply felt isolated.  Often, I convinced myself that I was not good enough and allowed my own perceptions to control me and how I interacted with people.

Getting beyond my negative perceptions of myself, some of which sadly were perpetuated by others, was a major hurdle to overcome. Clearly, my perceptions impacted my actions and reactions. If I said I am overwhelmed, I felt overwhelmed. If I believed no one liked me, no one liked me. If I thought I would not achieve a goal, I would not achieve the goal, and if I did, then it was luck. A little over a decade ago, I became more cognizant of my thoughts and perceptions. Instead of looking at a situation and feeling defeated, I came up with motivational affirmations and focused on the positive aspects of my life and life in general to keep me moving forward. This is a practice I still employ today.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would look like if I figured out the power of believing what I perceived years ago. How many more achievements would I have? How many more lives could I have impacted in a positive way? Then I realize that I am missing the point and should just be in this moment enjoying all of the many blessings in my life.  No, my life is not “perfect,” but I am so grateful for the life I have. We all are given the opportunity to create our own perceptions, and I have chosen to perceive my life as wonderful. What do you believe about yours? Do you see the rabbit or the duck?

All the best,

Tanya

The Touch of Life After Death

1 Mar

touch-of-life-michelangeloHaving the occasional brush with death has caused me to have an even greater appreciation for life. But sometimes it is not the brush with death but learning about the life of another person after his or her death that encourages me to live life to the fullest and have a positive impact on others. Today, I attended the memorial service of my good friend’s mother who passed away from cancer. I never had the opportunity to meet her, but after attending such a lovely service, I could feel her spirit and came to know how wonderful she was within just a couple of hours.

Something that moved me was how consistent she was. Oftentimes, people are one way with their family and friends, another way in their romantic lives and a totally different way in their professional lives. This lovely woman was compassionate in all aspects of her life. Not just her family, but her friends and co-workers spoke so highly about her. The reverend who gave to eulogy used the word “authentic” to describe her and focused on how she was willing to help anyone in need.

Sometimes we may all get caught up in our daily lives, but it’s moments like these that really make me want to be a better person and to be even more conscientious about making my daily interactions with not just those people I know personally but people in general to be positive and meaningful. It’s amazing how someone’s death, a sad moment, can spark hope and compassion in the lives of the living. Dealing with the death of loved ones is never easy, but if and when you have to, I hope that you will be able to add something something positive to the lives of others.

All the best,

Tanya

Shop ‘Til I Drop: Well Sort of…

18 Jan

empty-cartAre you a shopaholic with tons of shoes and clothes in your closet worn once or not at all. Maybe you’re a therapy shopper who feels better after buying that $500 handbag. Me: I’m a shop-around-see-items-I-like-load-up-my-cart-then-drop it-off-and-not-purchase-one-thing-shopper (The abridged version: “shop and drop shopper”). Yes, it is a mouthful, but sadly, this is who I’ve become, and I just don’t know how to break the cycle.

It all started back in 2006/2007 when I stepped out on faith and left my full time job to follow my passion to teach college courses.  Initially, I only had a part-time position and struggled to make ends meet.  I’ve never been one to spend frivolously, but I learned how to be frugal and only purchase the absolute necessities.  Now, seven years later with a stable position as a full-time professor, my indecisiveness while shopping has heightened for some reason, and I have such a difficult time even making basic purchases.  It has become a joke for anyone who goes shopping with me.  For example, I’ll select cute outfits, shoes, or items at the local Home Goods store, but by the time we are ready to go to the cashier, I have purged most of the items from my cart. My sister will laugh and say, “I knew you weren’t going to really buy anything,” and my husband will make fun of me for deliberating so long over making even a $10 purchase as I try to determine if I really should buy the item. “You can always return it,” he says.  Even though I know this, I still had my latest shop and drop episode this past Friday.

It wouldn’t be so big of an issue if I didn’t shop for a while in a store, load up my cart with reasonably priced and sale priced items that could be considered necessities, not just “wants,” then put most of them back. Later on, I’ll give it some thought, return to the store  and find out that the item I want has been purchased by someone else. I vow to work on this habit of shopping and dropping as I have let too many good deals slip through my fingers.  If you have any advice, please feel free to share.

All the best.

Tanya

Life: What My Baby Senses…

23 Nov

Tanya Franklin & Baby QuinnMy baby girl gazes at me, touches my face, strokes my hair or grabs anything else within reach.  She savors her sweet potatoes, apples or bananas grasping the spoon to get more. Listening intently, she responds to her name and other stimuli. The smell of her poopy diapers and gas (which can smell like a grown man) does not faze her at all. Though I’m in awe at how quickly she’s growing in her first half year, I’m amazed at how she is able to operate at a level where she can take everything in slowly and become immersed in what she is doing. Observing Quinn makes me wonder why do so many adults fly through life without sensing it?

Sight: We’ve been here for a couple of decades or longer but struggle to gaze into the eyes of the person or people we claim to love with the same warmth a baby who has only been here for a few months can offer.

Touch: I love that my baby is so fascinated with my face and wants to explore it with those drooly little fingers.  For some people, it has been years since they have experienced subtle touches  that convey affection (minus the drool of course).

Taste: We are in a rush eating our meals on the run, wolfing down our food without really tasting and enjoying it like a baby might (minus the messiness of course).  When I feed Quinn, I make sure she has swallowed her food before I give her another spoonful, but on occasion I’m guilty of not completely chewing and swallowing my food before putting another piece in my mouth. I find that I have more enjoyment in eating when I take my time.

Hear: Sometimes there is an overwhelming amount of mind chatter or distractions around us, and we’re unable to listen to our inner voices.  Most babies, especially mine, has no problem listening to her inner voice that says, “I’m happy,” I’m hungry,” “I’m sleepy,” or “I’m just in need of some attention.” Nevertheless, there are times when I don’t listen to that voice telling me,”You’re taking on too much,” “You’re hungry” or “You need some ‘me’ time.”

Smell: Though there are benefits to smelling, I wish I was able to not get caught up in the “smell” as Quinn is capable of doing. It’s difficult to resist the aroma of certain unhealthy foods luring me, and some odors have been pungent enough to stop me in my tracks, distracting and preventing me from doing the task at hand.

Quinn has taught me  several lessons I plan on applying to my life, and I sense that there are many more learning opportunities to come courtesy of my baby girl!

All the best,

Tanya

Case #1: Judge versus the Jury

16 Nov

judge-orders-“Only God can judge me! People are always hating! No one asked for your opinion! It’s my life!” are phrases most people have uttered or at least heard uttered at some point in their lives. Lately, I’ve been scrutinizing my own actions and think a trial is in order.

Though I try my best to be positive, supportive and motivational, there have been times when I’ve been accused of judging and wonder if those accusations were valid and if I should be concerned with being perceived as a judge. Needless to say, I am apprehensive about being a judge, but how can I live life without judging? Just about everything involves it; from grading papers to taking time to evaluate my own actions, I cannot escape it.  Judging is one of the ways that we are able to improve ourselves and quality of life and to make sure we are on the right track.

I often wonder why it is acceptable and even welcomed when people are judged in a positive way such as a compliment about an outfit, hair, performance at work, parenting skills, etc..  Who ever stops people and questions why they are judging them when it is something positive? Of course,  when people point out any flaws or shortcomings, most would dismiss them as unwelcome judgments and suggest that these people mind their own business.

When it comes to the justification of judging, I think it is always important to consider the intention of the person who is playing the role of the judge and the significance this person has on your life.  Is the person trying to lift you up or tear you apart? Regardless if the judgment is negative or positive, is it being presented in a kind and caring way or cruel and insensitive?

It is important to consider if you are deflecting the real issue by focusing on this “so-called judge.” Why is it that whenever we are called out on something negative or counterproductive, like being procrastinators, habitually late or even harshly judging others with hurtful intentions, we are upset when somebody has the audacity to judge us? Why can’t it be that they love us and hold us accountable for our actions or to a higher standard than we may hold ourselves?  If everyone only provided positive judgments, would simply relying on how we judge ourselves be adequate? Sometimes, how we judge ourselves and see ourselves is way off base, and we need those “judges,” who God may place in our lives, to hold up those mirrors and reflect back what we refuse to see is really there.

As I take some time to deliberate further, please feel free to share your views on this touchy topic.

All the best,

Tanya

Divided by the Mathematics

9 Nov

math_20funRecently, I was playing an arithmetic game on the Lumosity web site (which I highly recommend to anyone looking to exercise his or her brain).  As the rain drop equations began to fall, forcing me to answer as quickly as possible before they hit the ground, I experienced an “aha moment.”  Though I’ve always been good at math, even placing in calculus when I started college, it takes me a bit longer to process subtracting and dividing than it does adding and multiplying. I tried to recall what I learned how to do first: was it addition or subtraction? Regardless, I am an adult now, and those skills have been ingrained in me, even without a calculator for basic math, yet this small thought-provoking moment caused me to evaluate many aspects of my life.

Many of us have no problem shopping for new clothes, shoes or whatever it is we may want, but when it comes time to get rid of some items already in the closet, it can be difficult and require quite a bit of deliberating on whether or not something should be given away or thrown away because we still might wear that shirt we purchased five years ago that still has the price tag on it.  Then when we have no choice but to pare down our wardrobe we wind up mistakenly getting rid of that one outfit we loved so much because it got lost in the pile.

For those people on social media sites, we all have those friends who might have just been added after an encounter at an event, may just be a friend of a friend, or friend of a family member who we may never see in person again. Interestingly, we may not have a problem adding more of these types of friends to the list.  However, we may struggle to purge those “real life” friends who may be toxic and not have our best interests at heart. Then the new year comes, and we decide it is time to get rid of the remainder of  those “so-called” friends who add nothing to our lives. With haste, we regretfully cut ties with someone whose friendship meant so much to us and cannot get back what was swiftly taken away.

It would be so much more simple if we could all just take pleasure in adding something meaningful to the lives of others. Are some of us often divided because we’re always concerned with adding more than I take away. Am I the only one who is doing this kind of math?

All the best,

Tanya