Lyrics Lounge: Saying Goodbye to Yesterday

Goodbye to Yesterday

Every day I say I’ll try something new
Make some changes that are long overdue
Tryin’ to wrap my head around it
Still remain surrounded
By walls that I can’t seem to get through

A part of me so keen to see
What I will find if I leave it all behind

I keep dreaming ’bout where I could be
About the places and the faces I’d see
This is bigger than myself
I know that no one else
Can do what’s clearly up to me

It’s never too late to change your fate
Right here and now, I’m gonna turn my world around

I can’t stop what I’ve started
‘Cos I’m finally on my way
And it’s time to say goodbye to yesterday
If this goodbye hurts I’m sorry
But it’s got to be this way
‘Cos it’s time to say goodbye to yesterday

Well, I used to think I was stuck on red
Now I know that it was all in my head
But I’m done making excuses
Can’t fool myself, it’s useless
I’ll follow my own lead instead

A part of me so keen to see
What I will find if I just leave it all, leave it all behind

(Lyrics by J.P. Maunick / M. Brandis)

Those who know me well know that I am a lyrics JUNKIE! And like any other art form, lyrics can often speak to you in different ways. The lyrics above are to one of my favorite songs from Incognito’s last album Surreal. I have listened to this song over and over again, but it wasn’t until a few days ago that the words really hit home for me and inspired me to write this post.

I’m certain that all of us can identify with many of the words in this song. What I find interesting is that if you listen to the song itself (or watch the video above), you will not hear someone singing sadly about letting go of the past, but of someone excited about the future. Many times we think of letting go of the past, of “saying goodbye to yesterday,” as a negative step, like getting rid of an old and comfortable, but raggedy, pair of sneakers! But the song is about happily putting aside the things that can weigh you down and moving forward, stepping into the person you need to become.

I’ve decided to let these lyrics speak for themselves. Let this song inspire you. Perhaps your “yesterday” is a past hurt that you have not been able to let go of. Or it could mean saying goodbye to old friendships, jobs or situations that have held you captive. Maybe it’s time for you to say goodbye to your comfort zone and step into your purpose. Maybe it’s as simple as letting go of the stress of the day and looking forward to tomorrow. Whatever it may be, think about your “yesterday” and don’t be afraid to say “Goodbye.”


A Lesson in Deconstruction

Merriam-Webster  defines deconstruction as “the analytic examination of something (as a theory) often in order to reveal its inadequacy.”

I have found myself hearing or explaining variations of “deconstruction” quite a bit over the past week or so. I’m on the committee for an upcoming conference and in speaking of our plans for next year, I suggested, rather boldly for a new member, that we start planning the 2013 meeting soon after the 2012 event is over. And in order to properly plan, we need to first take a step back and rethink our purpose. Sometimes this means deconstructing our entire program and evaluating each element’s strengths and weaknesses. At work, I found that our workgroup got so caught up in discussion of our project that we lost sight of our goals. Again, I suggested we “take a step back” (obviously my favorite phrase) and re-evaluate the plan.

In another instance of deconstruction, my friend Mr. Fresh spoke of deconstructing drum tracks for a song he was working on. I asked him to explain what he meant, knowing this process was similar to what I had been pondering over the past few days. “When you construct something, you have various elements that you put together to form a whole of something. Deconstructing is the opposite. For simplicity, a drum track is built of the different parts of a drum kit – snare, kick drum, hi hat, crash and ride cymbals, and toms. I used the term deconstruct here to mean focus on each individual part to see what editing is needed, if any.”

I have found the process of deconstruction to be one that can be applied not just in business, or in music, but in life. Many times we get so caught up in everyday busyness, the “rat race,” the “daily grind,” that it would do us good to stop, take a step back and re-evaluate. But deconstruction is much more than just pausing to ponder. The dictionary definition adds that we examine something “in order to reveal its inadequacy.” Scientists and researchers deconstruct old theories in order to prove their inadequacies and create new theories. They build upon the old to create something new and improved.

As in business, you rethink your purpose. I have always been a firm believer that everyone has a purpose in life. The challenge is to first discover that purpose and then fulfill it. Sometimes we are caught up in doing something, not realizing that it may not be that which we were created to do. Many times when things in our lives just don’t seem to be working, it’s time to deconstruct and rethink your purpose. Now, I don’t suggest doing this alone. One must always consult the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) – have a talk with God, since He is the one who designed us for our specific purpose.  Why not ask the One who knows all the answers!

Personal deconstruction may involve some minor tweaking, or perhaps a major overhaul. Like in Mr. Fresh’s music example, we need to focus on each individual part to see what editing is needed. How is my physical health (and mental health, for that matter)? What about my spiritual health? How are my relationships with family, friends and business associates? How am I faring at work or in school? Deconstruction does not always have to mean major renovation. It can be as simple as regular preventative maintenance to gauge one’s performance at a given time.  So no more excuses – take time to deconstruct!


Homework Helps

Hello TTWC family! As many of you know, since March 2012, I have been writing a weekly column for the online publication, MortarNBrique, entitled The Mommie in Me. Most of those columns were either reblogged to, or posted in their entirety on This and That With Calandra. Last week it was announced that MortarNBrique will be on hiatus until the new year, in order to revamp the publication. I do not know the future of The Mommie in Me, but I am using this “break” to continue writing weekly motherhood/parenting articles and sharing them here on TTWC. Look for them under the category “Special Features – Motherhood.” Having said that, here’s my first installment, which will hopefully offer tips on how to deal with homework issues. Enjoy!

In doing research for this article, I decided to reach out to my Facebook parents, asking them what challenges (or successes) they have had with doing homework with their children. I was excited by the answers I received, and even found some tips to follow myself. I decided to let the article write itself, based on their responses. I love that I have FB friends who are also wonderful parents. Here’s hoping you pick up some tips as well.

“One of my challenges is having the procedures I’ve put into place at home followed when she’s away from home.” (SD, New York)

“While I am doing my work in my home office…or cooking dinner or whatever I am doing… I have my son to sit right across from me to do his homework. If he is in his room at his desk doing his homework, I will sit with him in his room and read, fold clothes or something. I do this to make sure that he is focusing. I require that he read everything aloud and then, before he even gets to what the real questions are, I ask him if he understands what he has just read and how it applies (depending on the subject). After he explains it, THEN we get to the real question. I ask him what answer he is going to provide. Whether he answers correctly or not, I ask him whether or not the answer that he has given is correct. He has to prove to me why the answer is correct. Does homework take an exorbitant amount of time? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes” (MW, Washington, DC)

“When my children were younger, I used to turn on the Closed Captions feature on the TV, so that my children would be “tricked” into reading while watching their favorite programs – which I only allowed on Friday and Saturday nights. They are currently both in High School and what we do now is read current event articles every week, and write a synopsis of the article and an alternate way they would have solved whatever challenges presented themselves in the article.” (IJ, Michigan)

“My son not paying attention. When I help him with his homework he expects for me to give him the answers without even trying. I get frustrated and he knows how to push my buttons.” (JB, North Carolina)

“[We] constantly go through changes regarding homework directions, proper grammar and writing. Once I lose my religion to make her understand the big picture then we are able to sit down and have a little fun doing her homework assignment. She is very argumentative at times, and it drives me crazy. Sometimes I’ll take her work and get some scrap paper to show her how she should do it.” (MK, New York)

“My biggest challenge… Is having patience when dealing with my child when she is being “under the table” lazy. Maybe it’s her way to prolong homework so we will spend more time together, or maybe it’s the Florida school system that treats 5 year olds like they are 3 year olds academically, or maybe it’s because my daughter was with me until she started school. Her language and academic skills became more advanced than that of her peers, which essentially made school “boring” to her.” (SG, Florida)

“I was a professional tutor for a number of years, and always found it easier than teaching my own kids. Buttons get pushed 🙂 One of the most useful things I’ve realized is that people have a lot of anxiety about writing, and the issue of how to start becomes an obstacle to getting anything done. In such cases I just tell them to start writing down ideas, and then to build around them. The introduction can actually be the last step!” (DL, Florida)

“I find the attention span an issue… But as for my daughter she is ok as long as I stay patient. It’s hard enough for them to be in school all day then come home to hours of homework at such a young age. I take breaks with her, have her pretend she’s the teacher teaching me. That helps both of our frustration because she likes to be in charge and it shows me how well she knows her work!” (MR, New York)

“I cheer when they get the right answer. I push them a little harder. And I try to give them a couple more questions than the actual assignment. Math is my class.” (DW, Maryland)

”Considering my girls were ADHD, it was always a challenge. I found when they were learning their multiplication tables, we sang them.” (SW, Pennsylvania)

“A set place and a set time works well!” (CT, New York)

“I think the main problem we dealt with about homework is taking the time to do it and not rushing right through it. We always remind [our daughter]  to read each problem or question, make sure she understands what they are asking and then answering it correctly. That also goes for studying for an exam – practice and review.” (RN, Massachusetts)

“The rule is no fun computer stuff until homework is completed. That has worked for us.” (WL, New York)

What homework challenges/successes have you had with your children? Please feel free to comment and share!

Changing Seasons

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I’m not talking about Christmas. I am celebrating my favorite season of all time, autumn. No other season conjures up awesome childhood memories like the fall. There’s just something about all the things that this season brings – fall foliage, air that’s cool and crisp, apple cider, pumpkins, sweaters, grey skies and brisk winds. I think about walking home from the bus stop as a child, sweeping my feet through mini-piles of leaves on the sidewalk, and hearing nothing but their crunch under my feet. I can remember enjoying the quietness of the chilly but still autumn air as I would walk across campus after evening classes while in college.  I think about rainy Saturdays, when my mother would make a pot of Great Northern beans with smoked turkey wings and cornbread. Somehow the smell of that “pot” would help make the morning chores go faster.

Seasons change for a reason – the Earth’s rotation dictates the weather each season. The Earth rotates on its axis at an angle, so there are times of the year when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the sun  (spring, summer) and times when it is tilted away from the sun (fall, winter). If you think about the differences in weather patterns during each season, you can see that there’s a purpose for everything. Spring and summer rains populate the reservoirs. Winter chills purify the air. Crops mature and are harvested in the fall. Everything has a purpose. So I don’t pout when the weather changes – I think of all the things that happen as the seasons shift.

Fall means back to school for the children, and getting back into daily routines with them. The positive side is that it is an opportunity to take part in and look forward to all they will be learning this school year. Like spring, fall is a season of change, transition and preparation – getting ready for what’s to come. In the spring, we watch the flower and tree buds prepare to open and expose their inner beauty. In the fall, we see the leaves change into gold, orange and brown hues, signaling the pending death and shedding of old leaves. In the fall, we start gearing up for winter – stocking the pantry with canned goods and staple items to avoid last minute trips to the store before a snowstorm. And now that the children are getting older, it’s a time for me to start thinking about fun activities for them. I’m especially looking forward to accompanying them on their school’s apple-picking trip in two weeks. Fall can also be a season of reflection, as we begin the final descent into year’s end. It offers a few moments of peaceful remembrance before becoming immersed into the holiday season. Now a mother of two, I draw from these past experiences with autumn and hope to help my children love this most wonderful time of year as much as I do.