Life Vests come in all forms

After a particularly trying week watching my daughter struggle through different rages and at a loss as to how to help her, I was thrown a life vest.  Yesterday a perfect stranger showed my daughter and to be quite honest, me, something I didn’t have the capability of exhibiting at the moment.  He showed us kindness. Let me explain…

We were standing in line to get on a train to drop us off at an Easter egg hunt.  The cost was $5/child.  Before we had left the house, I had grabbed $20 in cash in case credit cards were not accepted.  Now standing in line with both of my young kids, little man asleep in the stroller, that $20 was nowhere to be found.  I had exactly $5 in cash and change in my wallet and a credit card.  I mentioned to my daughter that I couldn’t find the $20 and I might need to run in and pay by credit card.  That was fine, however the line for the train was really long and losing our spot would have significantly cut down our time to eat and enjoy some of the inside activities, including a pic with the Easter bunny.  My sweet girl offered her own wallet and money and unfortunately that had about a total of $1 in change.  I searched my diaper bag for my emergency stash of cash (long gone from some time before of forgotten cash), and as I was alone with my kiddos since the hubby was away, I thought oh well we’ll have to just lose our spot and go inside to pay.

The ticket man came by and after finishing with the family in front of us, he came over to me and I asked if I could use my credit card.  He said sure and that he could watch the kids while I ran in.  The gesture was very sweet, but I wasn’t comfortable leaving the kids with a stranger.  As I was just about to leave the line and go in, the father of the family in front of me offered to pay for my kids.  I was shocked and said “Oh no, you don’t have to do that” and he said “It’s no big deal and I’ve been without cash before, we got it” or something along those lines in a very understanding and kind manner.

My daughter was there for all of it.  Her 8-year-old brain processing how kind this man was and we were able to talk about it.  At a time when she is struggling with temper tantrums you would expect to see in a 3-year-old and myself struggling with how to control my own temper in response, I feel like we were thrown a life vest.   Somehow in some way, the world knew we needed saving.  And our personal life vest came in the form of a kind man with $10 to spare when he saw a kindness was needed.

The full force of his action to help us out did not hit me until today.  I talked with my daughter after another rough morning on her way into school.  I challenged her to do something kind today and I would do the same and we could talk about it tonight.  She smiled.  All the way up to her eyes.  She mentioned how kind the man was from yesterday. She has such a beautiful, radiant smile… it was wonderful to see it and know her day got better from that moment on.

I came to work and thought about how much impact kindness has on people, through both small acts and large.  I thought about the day through a different lens… how my daughter gave her 1-year-old brother an Easter egg she found because he didn’t have many in his bucket.  I thought about how she plays with him at home by dragging him around on a parachute because it makes him smile.  I thought about how she ran to her Dad and gave him a huge hug when he got home from his trip last night.  I thought about how she dyed an Easter egg for her Grammy and one for the Easter Bunny too.  I thought about the “I love you Mama” notes she writes me.  She has so much to give inside and sometimes it gets trapped.  We don’t know why, and we don’t know how to always help her.  Sometimes she needs me more than I feel I have inside to give.  I need to reach down and show her the kindness she needs in this world.  It’s how I need to throw her a life vest and help keep her afloat.

Thank you to the kind man in line yesterday.  You reminded me how much good there is in the world and how we all need to throw someone a life vest sometimes.  My turn.  #Kindnessboomerang

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When you’re the go to person… and when you’re not 😐

There have been times when I am sure we’ve all felt overwhelmed at home, with extended family, friends, or at work when we’re being pulled in different directions and seen as the fixer or person who has the answers. There is a fine line between when you feel like you’re contributing to issue resolution or well-being and when you feel like you are doing everything WRONG.

And then there are the times when you’re NOT the go to person.  You’re not even in the circle of go to people.   And while I believe we all want to feel needed, we also need to realize when it’s time to let go.   You may not always be the decision maker, your opinion or advice may not always matter or be wanted, and that doesn’t mean you’re any less of a person than you were before.  It doesn’t mean you’re any less of a contributor, confidant, or companion; when you move through life and develop what seems fitting to call wisdom in this case… you realize it’s not about you at all. 

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The people in your life have different needs than you do.  Some have to hash out every detail of an issue, some want to sit with it for awhile and then talk it through, and some don’t want to talk at all.  Something I love about my workplace is the transparency we have around our personality assessments, we can show those results openly and it’s an indicator to those we meet with as to which kind of communicator we are and if used properly with a bit of emotional intelligence, saves a lot of hurt feelings.  If everyone could walk around with signs publicizing personalties and preferences for communication, it might make life a little easier to navigate.  Though I definitely know some folks who would not like that exposure… and that’s OK too!

When you let your own insecurities come through, you just feel bad about what you think you did or didn’t do “right.”  When you realize that you’re a good person, that you’re just doing your best like the other people around you and you can’t be everything to everyone at the same time, life is a lot lighter, you feel more free, and ultimately more happy.

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I have posted before about my thoughts on expectations.  Throughout my own perceptions, I have found expectations to be nothing but the robbers of joy.  Think about it… if you’re waiting for those flowers and you get them, do they smell as sweet?  If you didn’t expect them all, isn’t that rush of joy from the wonderful surprise so much better?  Or think about how false that compliment you receive feels when you know you’re not doing everything as well as a great (insert the correct word) partner/ associate/ friend/ parent would… rather than letting yourself off the hook and know you’re trying your best and someone else appreciates it!

It’s OK to be the go to person and it’s OK when you’re not.  Just be you.

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There is Good all around us

This week has been a good one.  I’m not on vacation, I’m sitting on my couch strewn with markers, going on about 5 hours of sleep due to a terrible tummy issue of one very cute toddler, just finishing up reviewing emails to plan actions tomorrow at work when it’s nearing midnight, and I decided rather than sleep – I need to get out that this has been a pretty damn good week…

A kind woman let me go ahead of her in line when her cart was full and I had only a few items and that super cute toddler mentioned above with me again <3.  I had the pleasure of sitting with some colleagues today and engaged in a very open and respectful conversation, determined I could be helpful in another meeting today with a group that’s in need of a listening ear, and I giggled tonight with my daughter in a way I haven’t in quite awhile. And that was just today :).

There has been good every day so far this week, as I am noticing more, there is good in EACH and EVERY DAY…if we open our eyes and see it.

I am gratefully having an easier time seeing the various good all around me this week.

I, for good reason, need to close this rather short blog… as that super cute toddler is waking up in need of his Mama.   Until I type again… go out, see the good waiting for you!

 

 

 

 

A beautiful life cut short 

Have you ever known someone for a short time that had a profound effect on you? Someone who radiated warmth, care, and a comforting smile?  I was fortunate enough to know someone like that, he was a kind soul who looked out for others before himself.

I first met him at a new job, he came over to introduce himself and welcome me to the company.  I saw him here and there and met his sons and sister that also worked with us.  After some time we worked on a project together and daily jokes and check ins became the norm.  And after some time later when I decided the place was just not for me, he was overjoyed for me to find somewhere new that was a better fit for my needs. He was one of the people I would miss, my daily dose of people sunshine.

In my last two weeks before I was leaving that job, I was arriving later to work one day due to a doctors appointment I couldn’t reschedule.  I remember exactly where I was when I heard my phone beep.  Sitting at a red light in the downtown area of my hometown, a text came through letting me know that my friend had passed on.  He was 54 and had suffered a massive heart attack that morning.  A deep sadness took over and I screamed out an involuntary NO! How could such a positive light go out too early? What about his kids? Grandkids? His beloved wife?

When I got to work that day shortly thereafter, the mood was dark to say the least.  Grief counselors were being brought in, you see he wasn’t just my light… he brightened many people’s worlds.   Over the next few days many stories and pictures surfaced.  I learned more about my friend and his impact on so many others.

At his viewing, when I gave his son a hug with my apologies, do you know what he said? “My dad told me about your new job, he was so happy for you and so am I.” That moment will always be with me, when I realized his memory would live on through the kindness he had passed to his kids.  The ease in which even in a moment of his deepest grief, he could pass on a positive, warm thought to another.

I will always remember my friend C.G., and every time I stop at that same stop light where I first learned he left this world for another, I will feel the sad weight knowing he is gone… and then smile feeling better to have known him.


How your hobbies can free you

I mentioned a class I attended a few weeks ago in my last post The Family Mission Statement.  In that same class, a discussion about hobbies was a main focal point.  In particular, that best part about a hobby is that it can be nurtured when you are in the mood, or could be left aside for when you just aren’t feeling it.  And there in lies the appeal of having a hobby, the freedom of choice.

So during our class discussion on hobbies, our instructor gave us a tip on handling our  emotions.  She noted that if we decide to make people our hobby, you can shift your mindset.

I gotta say, I was blown away by this concept.  If I could adopt this practice, my general tendency toward feistiness might just diminish.  As someone seeking peace and calm vs. pandemonium, it was worth a shot.

Now by no means am I in a zen-like state over this change in my thinking, but I have seen a vast improvement in my general reactions to others, especially at work… at home it’s a bit difficult to regard little beings who rely on you for survival as a hobby 😊.

Why not give it a try?

Adopt as your hobby and add some cues around to remind yourself to let go….put that hobby down when you need to and pick it when you are ready to enjoy it again.

Thanks for reading!

 

The Family Mission Statement

The concept of creating a Family Mission Statement was something I learned about recently at a training.  It came back to me last night in a particularly rough parenting moment where all my patience was lost.  My husband, my rock, gave me a hug in our dark hallway while our eldest child continued to scream.   His actions were enough to give me some resolve.

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When re-entering the room,  I was direct with our child and she reached a state of calm.  While she then proceeded to read to us, my mind flashed back to that training a few weeks back.  The instructor’s demeanor and outlook on life were admirable.   And she noted one very important thing that aided in a positive turning point in her life; the creation of the family mission statement.  I had never thought of doing that with my family.  I find now a simple google search on the idea will provide you with many ideas on how to create one and show you different examples.

In the class I attended, our instructor was very open about how it helped strengthen a bond in her own family that needed repair.  As I laid in my daughter’s bed last night, I knew the points I wanted to bring to our family meeting when creating this statement.  A vow to not cause each other stress.  And with a positive twist, to encourage joy, love,  being yourself, and appreciating each other.  And throw in there… forgiving and accepting, as that’s always needed!

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So it’s a new day and I’m next to a bouquet of roses my husband sent me.  They were timely, and the note simply stated he wanted them to put a smile on my face.  Mission accomplished 😘.  As I sit here admiring them I can’t help but notice the wonderful thing about them is not only their different vibrant colors… but also their similarities.  Each rose while unique shares some characteristics; a lot like family.

The yellow rose: joy

The red rose: love

The white rose: new starts

The pink rose: gratitude

These roses and their meaning could be our family mission statement with no words needing to be said, and perhaps they will be if my family feels the same.

Because alone they are beautiful; but together they are glorious.   Embrace togetherness.  Embrace the love.  Embrace family.

Happy Mother’s Day ❤️

Demons Demons Everywhere 

We all have them, in our complaining episodes, during gossipy moments, when frustration or cattiness takes over.  The worst demon I have is my ability to yell and run my mouth off, in particular with my daughter.  She has the ability to push every button and laugh while doing it.  Surely it’s amusing to a little girl to see an adult woman turn into a lunatic in front of her innocent eyes 👀, but not so amusing for me.

And sometimes later when the fight has calmed and I see myself I think, what happened to you? Where did your calm go dealing with a child?   This is when the inner judge-y demon rears its ugly head.  The one that makes you feel lower than low.  The one who allows every other bad thought about anything to invade your present moment and make it ten times worse.  The demon that makes you feel isolated and uniquely horrible.  And all you come up with at that moment is another judgment… how could I possibly have lost my cool like that?

What’s amazes me is that I don’t flip out with people I don’t know like that.  People who are flat out rude and disrespectful… and all of sudden, I’ve lost my voice.  And then where does that feeling go? The one of embarrassment, hurt, loss of pride… it feeds that damn Demon again!  So who gets the brunt of it…my most precious little loves ❤ <3.  They can stir up every emotion, and when their actions are not what I was hoping for or needed at the moment of weakness, watch out! The Demon is released!    So how exactly can such little beings evoke so much feeling out a grown adult?

My (at the moment) calm and rational self, thinks it has to be due to all this pent up negativity.  Not caused so much by others, but by my own outlook.   What if I were to change my lens?  Would I be able to squash those mean demons and prevent them from gaining any more power? Would I be able to remove them forever… or at the very least diminish their power of my own well-being?

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Lucky for me, I have attended multiple training and speaking engagements lately.  All of them touched upon or even centered on goals.  So, that’s led me to set a goal to be more patient with my children.  So, I have to smarten this goal up!  Let’s start with the Specifics:

S – Staying calm with my kids (even after a long day at work, even after a dispute, even after traffic, even with little sleep… and so on… phew)

Onto Measure! Well, this one is on me – keeping myself honest.   I think to start with counting the times a day I raise my voice and lowering it will be my easiest way to measure.  Perhaps using a visual measure on my phone or in my home will aid me in my quest to reach this intangible goal.  (more on what I used later!)

M – number of times I yell reduced from (yikes) 10 / day and reduce to  0 / day

Ok… action is next.  Well, this is where is can get crazy, so let’s keep it real.  I think I will take two to start:

A – Wake up grateful for the day and pursue a calm approach by: 1- not touching my phone first thing and 2- taking 5 minutes to meditate/ stretch and concentrate on 3 happy thoughts.

Realistic? If I can’t find 5 minutes in the morning, I’m kidding myself. Relevant?

R – So yes… suck it up and don’t hit snooze again! Ummm … if you don’t change your ways you’ll get more upset and unhappy… so yes again, your well-being will thank you.

Lastly… timebound. Here goes.. do you think I can stop yelling in a month?

T- Start 5/6/17, Finish – adopt new behavior by 6/6/17

This post (along with my mentor who pushed me to post it!) will keep me accountable.  Thanks for reading 🙂

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