12 Days of Affirmations · 23 January 2021

My sister had an interesting and wonderful idea for Christmas last year (which was just a few weeks ago). She thought we should give each other 12 days of affirmations.

In case you do not know, affirmations are statements about people telling them truths about who they are. Affirmations are different from compliments in that they need to be true. Of course, most people spot insincere compliments a mile away, but that is a completely different story.

At any rate, my mom is not one to worry about getting consensus (especially with a good idea), so she ran with it. She asked who wanted to participate and threw those names into a hat (actually a box). Actually, she must have made two lists of names and put them in two hats. Or maybe she just used one hat twice, once for the giver and once for the receiver. (That makes more sense.) At any rate, she made a list of who was giving affirmations to whom.

The rules were simple. Write down 12 affirmations about the person and send them to the other person. The other person would then get 12 days of Christmas affirmations.

As a side note, the number of affirmations was discussed. After all, in the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, the receiver of the gifts, which is you if you are singing the song, got way more than 12 gifts. In fact, you get 12 partridges in 12 pear trees, 22 turtledoves, 30 French hens, 36 calling birds, 40 gold rings, 42 geese a-laying, 42 swans a-swimming, 40 maids a-milking, 36 ladies dancing, 30 lords a-leaping, 22 pipers piping, and 12 drummers drumming. So might the receiver of affirmations expect to get that many gifts? The answer was indeed a firm “No.”

(By the way, if you want to do the math for the song, just think about how many times you sing each gift and the number of gifts given on the different days. Then, multiply. I did that to get all the numbers. 12 (1 × 12), 22 (2 × 11), 30 (3 × 10), 36 (4 × 9), 40 (5 × 8), 42 (6 × 7), 42 (7 × 6), 40 (8 × 5), 36 (9 × 4), 30 (10 × 3), 22 (11 × 2), 12 (12 × 1). Just in case you were wondering.)

Once we got our assignments, we set to work.

It might seem obvious, but giving affirmations is not always that easy. It ought to be, but we spend so much time thinking about what is wrong in the world that we often forget what is right. The same is true of people. We often see their faults long before we see their virtues. So affirmations might be difficult. At least at first. But it is not really that difficult to find a dozen things you like or admire about somebody.

I have been thoroughly pleased with the affirmations sent to me by one of my brothers. And each day I have looked forward to seeing what he wrote. I have also been thrilled with the affirmations sent to my wife by my other brother. You can tell that we all think alike because we each went to the source of truth for many, if not all of the affirmations we wrote. All three of us (I am not sure who else did, because I only know the ones I sent and received), used at least some Bible verses to start our affirmations. The affirmations I received have a Bible verse and thought about that verse on one side of a 3×5 card. The other side contains a hand-written note about what my brother sees and often admires in me.

I have been blessed and amazed by my brothers and their thoughts toward my wife and me. The 12 days of Christmas affirmations have been a great success. At least on this end. But the big takeaway for me is that we all can use some affirmations every day. We can all use a bit of cheering up from somebody who knows us well and can give us a little positivity.

(As another side note, I will be the first to tell you that I really do take teasing as a sign of love. Really. People can and do tease me often, and I take it in the loving way it is given. But as much as I see teasing as a sign of love, I must say that getting affirmations is better. Yes, affirmations can be difficult to give, especially in person. But affirmations are a wonderful gift. A thoughtful gift. A blessed gift.)

My sister’s idea of giving affirmations for Christmas was a huge success in my eyes. It got me thinking deeply about my person and how she might benefit from the words I sent her. And the affirmations my brother gave to me have been a wonderful treasure. I will miss reading new affirmations each day. But I also know that I can go back to the ones I received whenever I want.

Like I said, my sister’s idea of giving affirmations for Christmas was a huge success. And I would certainly recommend that we all give those we love at least twelve days of affirmations each year.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Internet Snow Day · 16 January 2021

Snopocalypse 2019

We might not have any snow days this year because of lots of snow on the ground, but we might have snow days because the internet is down or the power is out. (By the way, just because I wrote about it does not mean that I was the cause of it, if it already happened to you.)

I think that everybody associated with schools relishes snow days. Well, almost everybody. Those days when snow is piled so high that cars and busses cannot get through to deliver the kids to school. Those kids cheer when they see the white stuff on the ground and don snow pants and jackets to make snow forts and have snowball fights. Or they make snow sculptures for their friends and neighbors to marvel at. Or they just traipse around the neighborhood seeing their friends in the beautiful winter wonderland.

Or maybe that is just me.

This winter, there will surely be no snow days. That is because whether there is any snow on the ground or not, school is right there for every kid and every teacher. Right there in their own homes. For in most areas of the country for many ages of children, school is being done via remote learning.

It might be a bummer that there will not be any snow days due to heavy snowfall, but that does not mean there will not be snow days. After all, sometimes the power goes out. Worse yet, sometimes the internet goes out.

As I write this, the internet is out in my area. There was a winter storm with heavy wind and rain in the night. The power went out for a time. And the internet was down when I awoke. (And it has been out for almost two whole days.) Which does not mean that I missed class. At least not all of them. I still have phone access. But that does not mean that everybody does. And it does not mean that everybody will be able to access class through the internet.

I am not hoping for internet or power outages. They are not fun. Especially, long outages. But I can see a time when large swaths of the area could be without one or both of these essential utilities. And that is when there might be an internet snow day.

The thing with an internet snow day is that if there is no snow on the ground, what will kids do? They cannot traipse around the neighborhood to look at all their friends’ snow sculptures or join in on an impromptu snowball fight. And they cannot get on the internet to join friends in chat rooms or online games. It could be a nightmare. Kids at home without snow on the ground and no internet. Horror of horrors.

Well, if we ever do have an internet snow day, I know I will survive. If my grown children do not have the internet, they will probably use their phones as hotspots and be on their computers if we have power. And if not, they will probably sleep through the outage. But I also know what when they are rested and if they have little else to do, they will certainly join me in a rousing board game or two. Or maybe we will just talk like we did yesterday. And of course, we can all read the many books that are in our house.

I do lament the makeup days to come whenever we have snow days, but I rarely think about what my students might be doing as I have fun in the snow. I do wonder about what any of us will do if we all have no power and no internet. Being without one or the other is not a tragedy. Just an inconvenience. And while I do not wish to have an internet snow day, I cannot say that I would miss being in remote learning sessions for a day if they were cancelled due to one.

I rarely wish for snow days, and I certainly do not wish for an internet snow day. But I can see that an internet snow day is a distinct possibility. (And just because I wrote about it, does not mean that I caused it when it happens.)

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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My Delusions of Grandeur · 9 January 2021

It seems that everybody has delusions of grandeur. All I know is that my own delusions of grandeur are no longer what drives me.

When I first started writing, I figured I would be a best-selling author when I published my first book. Actually, I figured that agents would clamor at my doorstep to try and get me to sign with them so they could represent me to publishers who would want to print all my best-selling books. Of course, that was before I started writing in earnest. It was before writing was part of my daily schedule. It was before I really knew that you need to put in the hard work before you get anything that even resembles success. And it was well before I realized that I must write whether or not I have any readers at all. (I actually do have a few real readers to go with my dwindling population of imaginary readers.)

The same thing happened when I started making YouTube videos. I figured that more than just my students would watch me stumble and fumble around trying to teach physics and computer programming. I figured that my quirky personality would shine through the internet and people would flock to my channel to see what this guy had to teach. I figured that I would have oodles and oodles of fresh made noodles. Oops. I mean oodles and oodles of people watching my videos. I figured I would be the next YouTube sensation. Of course, that was before I recorded my first lecture. It was before I edited my own video. It was before I wondered how anybody could even sit in my classroom and watch what I do, let alone sit on the computer and try to absorb something from a barely articulate bumbling, stumbling, fumbling fool.

These delusions of grandeur have always been part of my thinking. I am not sure why. I just know that I am going to be successful at whatever I do. And being successful means what the world has defined. Being successful as a writer is having lots of book sales. Being a successful YouTuber is having lots of subscribers and ad revenue. Being a successful anything these days is having lots of adoring fans. In short, being successful in the eyes of the world is fulfilling those delusions of grandeur. Which might be why I have them.

The fortunate thing is that the more I think those delusions of grandeur are just delusions, the less I think about them. The more I realize that I am not writing or making videos for my adoring fans, but for God’s glory and for my own satisfaction, the more I enjoy doing them. Surely, when the going is tough. But probably more so when the going is not so tough.

When it comes right down to it, I write because it is a necessity for me. It is like breathing – necessary for life.

I make videos so my students can learn. And so I can be creative. Albeit, creative in a variety of different areas. Taking pictures and creating slide shows. Recording lectures and stories. Editing and posting videos. These are all creative endeavors that I enjoy.

The amazing thing is that even if I do still have the occasional delusion of grandeur, I realize that if anything like the delusion happens, it will just be a byproduct. I do not do things for the glory. I do not write or make videos so that I can have success as the world judges success. I write and make videos for my own sake, and because it is the path that God has set out for me. And that is enough reason for me to keep on doing what I am doing whether anybody pays attention to it or not.

I will surely not be the next greatest thing since sliced bread, but it does not really matter. What matters is that I am doing what I love and what I believe I have been called to do. And that is more important than any of my delusions of grandeur.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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