Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why do people care?

Well my first night alone so as I was cleaning up a bit the TV was on. I was listening to the weather (all good fishing women listen to the weather all the time) and after I fed the kids I started to sweep. All of a sudden I realized that the TV was now showing a popular entertainment show.

I kept sweeping but had to stop and turn the station after about 10 minutes because all they were talking about was Sandra was seen on the streets and her mother in laws reaction and some bachelor lady who was dumped because he said it was all for show not love..on and on..peoples lives were either played out by these reporters or they played it out themselves on this show! WHY DO PEOPLE CARE???

I don't know who this bachelorlady is, but did she really think she would find true love by being on some over rated dating show? Do I really care what some mother in law of a guy who cheated on his wife has to say? NO!

I just don't get it...any of it. If it was any of us and we had someone broadcasting our every move and what people thought of us we would be personally outraged! So why is it okay to listen these shows? What value do they bring? Do we really care so much about hollywood stars that we are willing to listen to gossip of them?

Okay, I know some of you love this stuff, but give them a break. If you and your partner broke up over a terrible situation would you want me to write all about it in the blog. Oh dear...maybe that is my calling! Maybe I should start sharing the dirty secrets I hold, or others around me hold.

It frustrated me to think that we care so much about others mishaps and pain. So, today I would say find the good in people and find the good in yourself. Rise above the gossip and nasty words and be positive.

Okay, time to watch something else...thank goodness for Man vs Wild!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Celebrating things Close to Home

I was thinking about what to write about today, the creative juices haven't been flowing freely this week, and as I sat listening to a friend of mine traveling to Europe this week it hit me!

In the next 11 days of her adventure she will be seeing the Iceland Volcano/glazier, the Little Mermaid Statue, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Anne Frank Haus, and a number of places. Some pretty cool things to say the least!

Not all of us have the chance to see places and areas overseas or even in the next state, so today I want to celebrate things close to home. I would like to get a list of fun places to see in each state from the people who actually have lived in the state, but it is hard. NOT because there is little to see in some states, but because so many times we think of a vacation or trip as far away not close to home.

So what if everyone stated within their state and visited interesting places? Where would it take you, me, or them? I have a great state to celebrate - Minnesota. Did you know that you can canoe in the Boundary Waters, go 100's of feet down in an old coal mine, see Paul Bunyan, walk across the headwaters of the Mississippi River, go to one of four professional sporting team events, stand on the shores of one of the largest great lakes, fish in one of 10,000 lakes, visit a full size replica of a Vikings Ship, take a houseboat trip, go white water rafting, agate hunt on the shores or in the fields, tour one of the top ten caves in the USA, visit the home of SPAM, see wild buffalo, visit a wolf and black bear center, or a host of other things - all within 250 miles of where I am at right now! Whoa!

I have done most of the above, some a number of times. There are still things on this short list that I haven't done though. I could add another 150 things that I have done that are not in books or very seldom visited.

I guess my point is that to many times we think we need to go some where far away to see things when all we need to do is look out our backdoor. I love traveling and hope to do it more in the future. I love different cultures, learning about others, getting to see history in the making. I also love to explore my backyard - so this summer enjoy both. If you have a chance to get out and see a new part of the world have a wonderful time. If you don't have that kind of time look for everything around you 250 miles away from where you are right now!

Celebrating things Close to Home today!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Celebrating PRIDE 2010

This weekend is the Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender Pride Celebration. It is one weekend out of the year when people come together for a common purpose in an open and supportive environment.

I have a lot of GLBT and straight friends who attend every year. Usually I have a booth at the Twin Cities Pride so show support, as well as provide attendees the opportunity to get to know Life Coaching and what it means to live your values.

This will be the first year I have missed in a while, so I thought I would write my blog as a small way of showing my personal support for any organization or event whos aim is to educate, inform, and celebrate.

The mission of Twin Cities Pride is to commemorate and celebrate our diverse heritage, inspire the achievement of equality and challenge discrimination. ( Now there is a mission statement.

To commenorate and celebrate our diversity, inspire towards equality and challenge discrimination! Diversity, Equality, and inclusion!

So much is in the news these days about the GLBT community. Like most things in the world the less one knows about it the more fearful and angry they get. Politicians use the GLBT as puppets in their campaigns in the same line as terrorists in Pakastan. Seems crazy!

One of my all time favorite Movie is The American President ( In the movie the President is taking a lot of heat for dating a woman and during this time his opponent is attaching her in his campaign. The President finally has enough and makes a speach:

We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family and American values and character. And wave an old photo of the President's girlfriend and you scream about patriotism and you tell them, she's to blame for their lot in life, and you go on television and you call her a whore. Sydney Ellen Wade has done nothing to you, Bob. She has done nothing but put herself through school, represent the interests of public school teachers, and lobby for the safety of our natural resources. You want a character debate, Bob? You better stick with me, 'cause Sydney Ellen Wade is way out of your league.

Today is a day like all others. Celebrate or not, it is a day. I choose to celebrate - our differences, our values, our rights, our future, our hopes and dreams. Celebrating PRIDE 2010!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Take 1 Tissue. Gentle blow nose.

Take 1 tissue and gently blow nose: Directions on a tissue box.

Open nozzle to desired spray and sweeze trigger:Directions on a spray bottle.

Use quarter size amount, wet hair, bring to lather, rinse: Directions on a shampoo bottle.

I thought it was both interesting and strange that there were actual directions on common items.

Strange because it seems like everyone would know that you take a tissue out of the box to blow your nose. What else whould you do? Or shampoo, what else whould you do?

Interesting because today I wish I had easy Janice instructions. Something like get up, shower, and enjoy the day. Or Once awake, think positive thoughts and make a difference in the world. It really should be that easy!

Maybe if each of us had directions that we knew, and others could read, we would all be able to live in peace. It really should be that easy: take 1 tissue and gently blow your nose.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

When Life gets Out of Hand - create a To-do list!

I know I have written about how 'to-do' list can help us all get things done more efficient and effective, but what do we do when Life gets out of hand? Yes, there may be some planning to get it back into the sane world, but I would like to suggest another option.

This option has less to do about getting anything done and more to do with renew and regenerate.

I received a writing pad from a friend of mine and her note to me was "here is a note pad to write down all of your to-do's this week". It also said, "I have started your first one already."

On the To-Do List she made are six things she thought I needed to do.

1. Stop and Smell the Play-Doh (Yes I love the smell of Play-Doh and have a jar of it in my office at work)

2. Spend 5 minutes day dreaming about fishing

3. Share a cute kitty story with a co-worker

4. Get a snack (Good and Plenty)

5. Recycle something

6. Remember that you make a difference and ARE appreciated!

I have this list handing in my office now as a remember that when life gets out of hand, follow that to-do list first.

I love the fact that someone else knows me well enough to have created such a fabulous list for me and one that I definitely can follow!

What is your "when life gets out of hand To-Do List?

Having one will bring you back to the reality that although there is so much we could all do, sometimes we just need to stop and smell the Play-Doh!

I would love to see your LGOOH To-Do List!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Who is responsible for your morale?

There are a lot of times when I feel beat up, left out, critical, and negative. For a while I was looking for an answer through other people. Someone else needed to 'fix' my morale issues. It was someone Else's fault that I was negative. It was someone else who did this to me.

It is a complete energy zapper to feel this. Nothing goes right and I become more critical of everything (even the positive side) and spiral quickly to hating everything.

It then occurred to me that my morale is mine to own, NOT someone Else's to fix. It is my perception, my attitude, my beliefs, my values, my negativity that was impacting my morale, not someone doing something to me. I questioned my thoughts of "do others really have that power over me?" The answer was NO. I am the only person who can give away my power, so if I was having a negative feeling it was me giving them power. Power over my involvement, my decisions, my thoughts, my needs.

Once I finally figured this out I began to notice how many people are willing to give up their power to others for really no reason. They call it "my morale is hurt" or "they made me this way". On the contrary - be accountable and responsible for your actions, your words, and your feelings. They are yours to deal with.

Now there are times each of us need help with this and there are friends, colleagues, and others out there willing to listen and clarify. Reach out to them. Today was a morale day for me and reminding myself to own my behaviors, attitudes, and outcomes has ended the day as positive.

Who owns your morale?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice Begins

I like in Minnesota for a number of reasons, but maybe the biggest one is that I love the changing of the seasons. It is the backbone of my coaching vision as like the seasons, we change, grow, hide, and discover.

Today marks the official first day of summer in the northern hemisphere. Today we have over 15 hours of sunlight! 15 hours! Further north they have even more. I love it! I am not a warm weather person, but it is light around 5am and doesn't get dark until 10pm so the days are long and the time seems endless!

15 hours to make a difference! 15 hours to do so many things inside and out! 15 hours to enjoy the colors of the flowers and plants in full bloom! 15 hours to walk, bike, ride, eat ice cream, fish, clean, weed, swim or do whatever you want. 15 hours of light to change your world.

What will you do with the 15 hours of the day? It is here for a few weeks before we start heading down a bit so plan now!

Summer a time to rejuvenate, grow, harvest, and enjoy. Look for the opportunities you have in your life to do just that. Live like Summer!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day - 10 Things I have Learned from My Father

My Dad was laughing at Mother's Day when I wrote about the 10 things I have learned from her. Then he was reminded that Father's Day was coming. There is no way I could list everything I have learned from either of them, but here are the Top 10 things I have Learned from My Father.

1. Always wash a car from starting at the top. I don't know if my father has every had a dirty car for more than a few day in his life! Growing up it was not a chore but an event every week to wash and wash the car. I remember a number of times helping and being small I would start with the sides and get what I could and every time Dad would say "Start from the top otherwise the dirt from the top is going to get the lower parts dirty again". This has stuck with me. Wash from the top so you don't have to wash anything twice.

2. Never trust a guy who won't take a drink. Man or woman on this one. Dad is a common man with strong principles of trust, honesty, and giving. His thoughts are if someone isn't willing to have a drink with you, most likely they are not willing to do much else with or for you. This has been a pretty good compass for me and even though I don't drink anymore, the statement is still true. If someone isn't willing to converse at your level they may not be worth their weight in gold.

3. A good joke can last for years. My father always has a joke or two in his back pocket. I can never remember a time when visiting or growing up that he would not be sharing a new joke. Most were pretty darn good and I wish I could have remembered them, but always have a few good jokes handy to get the conversation going.

4. Every tool has a job and every job needs a tool. If you are going to fix a spark plug - use the right tool and if you are going to tighten a screw on something - use the right tool. These tools are made for a purpose and job and using a spark plug socket tool is NOT the same tool you will use to tighten a screw!

5. Measure twice, cut once. My Dad was a carpenter by trade and an excellent one at that. Very rarely did I see him cut a board that didn't fit exactly into the spot. Seriously, not a saw blade short or long! Me on the other hand use to just looked about the right length. Measure twice, cut once. I have a hard time picking up a measuring tape and saw without his words flowing through my mind.

6. Even if you hate the process of getting somewhere, you will have fun once you are there. Oh yes, I have this characteristic nearly as much as my Dad. I love planning and looking, but the getting there really is tough. Going some place or doing some thing, I get the "why bother" attitude so quickly. I tell myself I won't have fun and that I am tired and that I would rather just stay home. And then I go and I have a good time. I have had some friends who have wanted me to come out to their lake place and hang out for a few months now. I really do want to go, but the process of doing it just is so much like my Dad.

7. Love your country and the men and women who serve to protect it. I am a Lifetime Member of the Womens Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxilary. My father served in the Marines and gave up pieces of his life to protect the USA. He is a proud Marine and to this day has he would give up his life for the sake of others. He has a tremenous sense of service and it shows.

8. Be aware of your money. My father probably knows at any given hour or minute how much cash he has in his wallet or change in his pocket. I think it is maybe because he didn't have much growing up and this has made him keenly aware of it. He is also very in line with spending only what you have so credit cards to him are not what you have. Now this is great but carrying around large sums of cash can be silly, if not dangerous. As we have begun to travel more together he has figured out that it is okay to use credit cards when you know you have the money to pay them and it is okay to know exactly how much money you have in your wallete ever hour!

9. You are never to old to buy toys. I love, love this about my father. He always wanted a motorcycle growing up and with 3 kids to raise and colleges to pay for, he never felt he could spend money on a toy for himself. Age 50 - kids are out of school and none of them living at home - go and buy a bike. The second part of this learning is always buy the toy you want - never settle. He started with a Honda even though he wanted a Harley. A few years later, the Harley was in the garage. Never settle and never be to old to buy toys!

10. And the last thing I have learned from my Father for this list is "If you are going to do a job, do it well". I get a lot of my perfectionist and work ethic from my father. Any job, from vacuuming the house to building a house, is worth doing it well. My father does not do "half-ass" jobs. Mowing the lawn - must have straight mowing lines, tilling the garden - must be at least 8 inches down, building a deck - must be big enough for everything and include as many 'kiss my ass' angles as possible. If you are doing to do something - do it right and never settle.

There you have it - 10 things I have learned from My Father. The list could go on and on as every day I think of more ways I am like him and more things I remember him telling or showing me that have stuck. I know how to change the oil on my car, I know how to handle loaded guns, I know how to fish, I know how to mud a wall, I know how to organize a garage, I know how to iron shirts, I know what it means to stand when the flag goes by, I know how to clean a house, I still love an old Kitty Wells song, I know the names of every John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movie ever made, I know how to made "good" coffee, and I know I have so much more to learn.

Here's to all the Dad's out there that have taught up the meaning of hard work, honesty and trust. Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday Cleaning

I love Saturday Mornings..especially when I have nothing planned, no where to go, and the house to myself. Why...I love to clean. Crazy but true. I find so much enjoyment out of cleaning a house I really should have been a maid of some sort. Okay, maybe not as I like cleaning my home, my stuff, and my way.

I think this came from my father who is always cleaning or fixing or downsizing. Maybe not so much now that he is a bit older, but it was a tradition in our home growing up that every Saturday morning Kitty Wells would start playing on the stereo (Dad's type of cleaning music) and all of us kids would dust, vacuum, clean, mop, straighten, and shake out rug around the house.

It didn't seem real fun at the time, but now that I am older I find myself doing the same thing. Put the music on and start from the top and work my way down.

I wuold say I love to clean the house because of how it looks when it is done. It looks new, smells fresh, and has a put together look to it. I know it won't stay that way for long as with a dog, cats, friends, and even me, it will get messy by next week.

Thank goodness as what would I do with clean house come next Saturday morning!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wild Day in Minnesota

Thanks to all of you out there that sent me pictures and thoughts about the tornados that touched down in Minnesota last night. It was just a lot of wind in Minneapolis, but if some of you remember when I talked about the drive to my folks place up north, Wadena is where I turn to head due north.

My brother sent me a picture of the Dairy Queen there, a frequent stopping spot on the way there or back. It was weird looking at the picture as usually I stop at the Gas Station or food place right next to it. Problem is those two places are no longer in the picture, just the Dairy Queen! In a matter of 30 seconds it all changed.

Now there were lives lost in these storms so I do not want to make light of the situation, but how weird will it be the next time I head north and see a DQ sitting on a block with nothing else?

At first I was thinking I don't know where this was. From the picture, and the number of DQ's there are in Minnesota, I kept thinking it was on a road I don't normally travel. Then it hit me...Wadena is the town that I head due north from!

Another one hit the gas station about 15 miles from my folks place where I go to grab some sunflower seeds and worms on my route to one of my favorite fishing places. Again, there was death there - the owner. He came to the store to check on his daughter who was holding down the fort while he was to be home celebrating his 58th birthday. He demanded the daughter and the customers in the store to get into the small walk-in freezer and hit, he died, and the place is gone.

I wasn't sure what to write about today until I watched the news and saw all the emails with pictures of Minnesota from my brother and other friends. Today is a clean up day, instant grief day, and looking forward day for so many.

Tonight as I write this I celebrate their strength, their hope, their humility in the face of this event.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Independent Cooperative Living

The older I get, the more I think that a cooperative living plan is an excellent idea. Okay, maybe not yet, but the idea is rather wonderful within purposeful living.

If you haven't heard about cooperative living it is a lot like co-op grocery stores, or co-ops in general. It's people helping people using the skills they have to may the co-op better. It the 'We are the World' concept at a local level - together we can make it a better place. Not everyone in a co-op has the same talents, abilities, or skills.

Can you see a co-op grocery store where all the produce providers were green bean growers and none were cheese makers? Get the picture; different talents used to improve the whole.

So, why am I writing about this today? Well, it was the first thing I was thinking about when I woke up this morning - don't ask me why things come into my head but they do.

As I tried to fall back to sleep the thought kept running around the spaces between my ears and like others counting sheep, I started counting the ways that co-op living would or could work.

It works well in a work environment if people are willing to trust others skills and abilities. They call it team work or cross functional teams, but in essence it is co-op work. Different skills, ideas, and talents working towards a common purpose.

It works well for local grocery stores as different farmers, makers, and people come together to deliver a large variety of products for their customers.

It works well in Credit Unions. Everyone sharing what you put in and what you take out. You didn't hear any "Credit Unions Fall" when the economy/financial issues were at their peak.

It works for some people who have survived for decades in villages, towns, and establishments around the world. Shared tasks for common survival.

Now I am not saying we should all leave our little neighborhoods and go and start a commune, but what if we started the idea of independent cooperative living? We all have the same basic needs - food, shelter, water. We all have some same basic things we have to do - mow the lawn, balance the checkbook, raise a family. We all have the same basic personal needs - friendship, love, trust, caring.

The problem with most of us is that we are to darn independent to even think we could give up some of our live and trust others to take care of it. I know I do. So, what about Independent Cooperative Living?

If I was to poll the 17 people who signed up on this blog and the others that are uot their reading, just don't like to sign up I bet we would have an accountant, people who love yard work, a carpenter or two, bread makers, cooks, painters, child care givers, animal sitters, and many other talents.

What if all of these lived in an area where rather than all of us making bread, one person made the bread for everyone, or one person made sure our animals were healthy?

Now you may be thinking "Janice is off her rocker" and NO I am not suggesting we head for the hills and start this up! The point is: knowing our skills can not only help us, it can help others.

If you are not good at balancing your checkbook and seem to always overdraft your account and get mad because the bank just made $20 on your mistake - why not look for someone who has the talent and use them?

If you get angry and frustrated when you try and fix a deck board, why not look for someone who has a talent?

I know what I am good at and I am keenly aware of what I can fail miserably at. Why would I want to continue to fail, when I know someone who can do those things and tasks with little to no effort?

Independent Cooperative Living - Maybe more like Services to Give and Receive, but something that I think about as I get older. Maybe I need to go back to counting sheep!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Follow YOUR Star

I am finding that more and more people are searching for a direction these days. The plans and goals they made for themselves have either changed or been put on hold so they wander around wondering what to do.

The answer is follow YOUR star.

We are all like sailors on the seas. We are sailing our boat, our dream, our lives. Think about how sailors made it to their destination. They followed a star. It was their compass and guide.

Sure they run into storms and mishaps. They ran into unexpected events of a mask not working, or a pump going out, but that does not and did not stop them from looking up and following THEIR star. Every night they refocused themselves, adjusted their course, and got back on track --following their star.

Our lives are no different. We have disappointments, storms, and our energy pumps sometimes don't always work. Do we stop every night, look up and find our direction?

What would have happened if a sailor never adjusted the boat? What would happen if a sailor never adjusted their direction? What would happen if a sailor never looked up at night to find their star?

I heard a story on airline pilots the other day that in a typical flight from Los Angeles to New York the pilots have to adjust their direction over 1,000 times. A 6 hour flight and over 1,000 adjustments. The end result is they end up in the right place.

To many times we have busy talk in our heads and people around us are constantly tugging at our map. Adjust! Adjust a lot and when you think you have it right, look up, find YOUR star and follow YOUR star. Adjustments are part of the journey. 1,000 in 6 hours just to fly from LA to New York - adjust!

You know what you want! You know what you desire! You know your passions and direction, so find your star, adjust, refocus on your star and follow YOUR star!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Living THROUGH the Unexpected

It has been a crazy month of June. It has rained in Minnesota 13 out of the last 15 days when usually the sprinklers are going full force by now; Three young professionals in their mid 50's and early 60's have passed away from strokes and heart attack; all who I either work with or know of; Friends of mine have made remarkable sacrifices for someone they love. A crazy month.

I was reminded yesterday in talking with one of these friends that at times we do not choose our destiny, but we do live WITH the choices. It got me thinking. Living WITH or Living THROUGH?

It may be just a word or two, but what a difference it can make by changing the work "With" to "Through".

I live WITH 6 cats, a dog, amazing friends, a family, and a wonderful person. I live WITH the understanding that my life has a purpose, meaning, value and love. I live WITH the dream of passion, belief, and giving. Permanent fixtures in my life and I am glad to live WITH each an every one of them.

What I don't live WITH and rather live THROUGH are the unexpected moments that come with life. They are not part of my 90 years on this earth, but passing moments in time that I will cherish, yet be glad when they are done.

I live THROUGH 13 out of 15 days of rain, I live through the passing of colleagues and people to young to have died, I live THROUGH my ears ringing, I live THROUGH the unexpected.

It gets down to how we each choose to view our situation and are we going to have it as a permanent value/love/passion of ours or are we going to live THROUGH the unexpected?

If you live WITH it - embrace it and give everything you have to it and own it as your life.

If you live THROUGH it - embrace it as the moment it is, give everything you have to it and know that it is only a point in time in your life and does not own you.

Life is full of unexpected events and most of the time your attitude can predict; if not mold, the outcome. What are you willing to live WITH and what do you need to live THROUGH?

Live THROUGH the unexpected, Live WITH who you are.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day

I could paraphrase the history, but I think this short overview of what Flag Day means and is written by Sunil Rai for the "OfficialWire" tells the story.

What I didn't know was that Flag Day is just the start of Flag Week and many countries have a national flag day! Pretty cool.

Flag Day,flag Day History, Flag Day 2010, American Flag, Army Birthday
Published on June 14, 2010

by Sunil Rai

Flag Day History

President Wilson in 1916, as President Coolidge in 1927, issued proclamations in which they pointed to the June 14 as National Flag Day, but it was not until August 3, 1949 when the Congress officially adopted the national observance of that date.

The founding fathers agreed that the country would have 13 red and white stripes placed alternately, representing the thirteen British colonies in 1776 declared themselves independent. In a blue rectangle, placed in the top left distributed thirteen stars were drawn in a circle, symbolizing the merger of the states in the fledgling nation.

14th June 2010 is Flag Day and the beginning of National Flag Week. It is the time to honor the American Flag that is supposed to be the symbol of strength and unity.

The American Flag has 13 horizontal alternating red and white stripes that represent the 13 colonies and the white stars are representatives of 50 states.

Different countries have a different day called Flag Day to honour their flags:

* Flag Day in Canada: February 15
* Flag Day in Mexico: February 24
* Flag Day in Aruba: March 18
* Flag Day in the Faroe Islands: April 25
* Flag Day in Poland: May 2
* Flag Day in Paraguay: May 14 (one day before Independence Day)
* Flag Day in Sweden: June 6
* Flag Day in the United States: June 14
* Flag Day in Denmark: June 15
* Flag Day in Argentina: June 20 (a national holiday since 1938)
* Flag Day in Romania: June 26
* Flag and Hymn Day in Curacao: July 2
* Hawaiian Flag Day: July 31 (known locally as La Hae Hawai'i)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

Did you know that today is National Sewing Machine Day! It is and it celebrates the invention of the sewing machine that occurred way back in the 1800's.

One of the proverbs that has come from the Sewing Machine invention is "A Stitch in Time Saves Nine". It's a pretty good proverb when you think about it.

It was first stated as a way to say if you get a tear in your pants, sew it up before it becomes a bigger tear. As a proverb it means that it is better to spend a little time to deal with problems or act right now than wait. If you wait until late, things will get worse, and it will take much longer to deal with them.

It is not so much about prevention, rather when there is an issue deal with it as soon as possible so it doesn't turn into "throwing away the torn pants". All of us have daily conflicts, issues, concerns, and tears. Are we aware of them? Can we fix them? Can they be prevented?

I have a fish house cover that literally has a number of tears in it. I left it out the past few summers and the mice love to use the fabric as nesting. I should have fixed it when I noticed it two years ago, but I didn't and guess what...I now have tears in it that will need major fixing! I knew it and saw it, but did nothing about it.

If you have a tear, fix it - personally, professionally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, or literally. A stitch in time saves nine!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Remember when?

I had a real eye opener yesterday. Since yesterday around 4pm we have not had Internet! Out router seemed to die after fixing some electrical work. No email, no blog, no checking the balance in the checking account, no searching for where to find a new router, just nothing!

It must have really struck me as I dreamt about what it would be like living 15-20 years ago when there was no such thing as email or online banking or online shopping! Okay, maybe 25-30 years ago.

My first experience on any type of a computer was in the principals office playing "The Oregon Trail". It has that long paper with holes in the side. In college I used them only because the library had their files on a computer so you would search for what you were looking for, write down the number and go and find the book on one of the many shelves.

My first experience with what it means today to have a computer was when I was maybe 30-35 years old. I was a nanny and my boss used a computer while she worked at home. I never used it or had an email account, but I knew they were out there.

My brother got me a job at a large software company in the early 90's and that was my first experience of having email and the Internet.

So...back to the dream last night was that for some reason ( I doubt it was fixing an outlet), there was no Internet, no cell phones, nothing mobile or blue tooth. No one knew what to do! It was a rather funny yet disturbing dream.

People actually had to write checks and balance their checkbooks, no ATMs anywhere to be found. They had to be at home in order to make a phone call, and we were all searching frantically around for the phone books to find a repair man! Sounds crazy, but this was our reality 20 years ago!

My dream ended with me writing a letter to my parents, brother and a lady we met on the Cruise last year from California. I went to mail it and I could only use cash for the stamps!

It was a pretty wild dream, but one that made me think of what will the next 20 years bring? Do kids this day and age have any idea of what a check is or how to balance their account, or write a letter, or get cash from a teller? I think it may be fun to try it some Internet, cell phones, or fancy stuff. Just not between now and the end of this 365 days of positive and purposeful living blog!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Life is like a Box...Garden?

We all have heard the quote from Forest Gump. I would agree that you just never know what you are going to get, but then maybe I would agrue the point as well.

I think we are all born into a life with some genetic skills and abilities given to us by our parents. From there we are raised with different views, thoughts, processes, rules...all the things that happen when we young.

What I don't think is that the box of chocolates continues. Eventually you get to choose what kind of chocolate to eat, when to eat it, and if you like it. Right? Just because you may have had a hard childhood, doesn't mean you have to have a hard adulthood. Just because your parents were dirt poor doesn't automatically mean you will be dirt poor. There are so many things we do have control over after the box of chocolates.

I call these the Box Garden. Do you garden? I do. I grew up with a garden and I continue to enjoy the work and results of the garden.

Like life I have options for my box garden. I can plant what I want, where I want, as much as I want, and when I want. Just like my life....I get to decide what, where, as much as, and when I do things. I am in control of my life.

So what is in my garden that relates to my life. Not a hard stretch, really it isn't!

I have a 12 x 12 area full of raspberries. I really like raspberries and in 2 weeks there will be so many raspberries we will be giving them away for others to enjoy. Raspberries are my tie to my positive attitude. They spread without any effort and produce beautiful results. There is so much there I can't help but share.

Next to the raspberries are the strawberries. Now we don't get many, mainly because the bunnies love them too, but as the years go by the roots get stronger and we have a lot more this year then we had last year. Strawberries are my tie to understanding and learning. I am always looking for ways to expand my understanding and learning.

Next I have cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, radishes, onions, broccoli and cabbage. It is a colorful array of good food that feed the soul. Each has a place in the box garden and each goes with something else to make it better. tomotoes and onions are going to make some awesome salsa, the cucumbers fuel my memories of my brother and I growing up having garden picnics, broccoli...well I love cheese and in order for me to eat broccoli it must be covered in cheese sauce.
The thought is that I am full of different ideas, skills, abilities, wants, desires, dreams and concerns. It is what makes my colorful character and depending upon how I use them they can result in amazing results.

The final area in the garden is the herb area. Only two in there - dill and cilantro. They are the added bonus producing enough for cilantro pesto or dill cucumbers. They may be small but they are the touch that makes other things so much better. These would represent my toys that make everything else just a little better. The boat makes fishing just a little more fun at times, motorcyles fun to ride on a Sunday morning...they are just the little extra.

I came from and grew up with a box of chocolates and have evolved into a box garden.

Why do we all do what we do? Why do we think how we think? Why do we behave like we behave? I bet if we all looked for a way to relate it to something as easy as a box of chocolates or a garden, it would tell a lot about who you are.

Do you have a garden or are you still hoping for a better box of chocolates? Take control of your life and plant a garden!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

So Much to do..I wish I had more time!

There's a statement that many of us probably have said a few times. I know I say it a lot lately. I have so much to "do" that I wish I had more time!

Actually I find myself saying I wish I had more time, but knowing darn well I have a lot of time but it is how I choose to use the time that is the issue.

Time management is probably the number 1 'show stopper' that faces many of us. We say we want to do things, but have NO time. I think we do have time but we use the time we have doing things that just do not matter. I know I do and I know when I do it. Self awareness is a wonderful thing.

I do really well at work. I really do. I get so much done even with teh 6-7 hours of meetings a day I need to attend. I am on task and do not have a lot of distractions that would otherwise cause me to have a time management issue.

What I have learned from my work is that time management is a life skill; not a job skill! If you have so much to do you should be able to answer the following questions:

1. What is it that I have to do?
2. What do I spend my time doing now?

These two questions can lead to great self awareness and I believe if you can answer these two questions you will actually see how you can get so much more done if you just use those wonderful time management skills.

A few weeks ago, I had a to-do list that was huge. All of them things to do, places to go, or things to get personally. I had my list. I then looked at how much time I would have to complete the list of to-do's. Ended up I had around 36 hours in a weekend. I had a Friday off so I had 24 hours plus 24 hours plus 24 hours ---total 72 hours to complete my to-do list.

Okay, now I knew I needed to sleep, eat, and relax as well so I took that time off the total and found I had about 48 hours if I stayed on task to get things done. Not bad right.

Now where things usually go 'south' is that I spend a few minutes checking emails here and there, or check the phone to see if I missed calls, or looked in the fridge a few times to see if anything looked good, or started cleaning the floor (something on the list) and ended up sewing the cat toys back together (NOT on the list)...distractions, things that do not matter, busy work...whatever you want to call them they are time management killers!

I guess the morale of the story is that I hear a few people saying there is so much to do and they don't have time! Really? If you sleep 8 hours, eat for an 1 a day, work for 9 hours a day that leaves you with 6 full hours to 'do somthing'. What could you get done in 6 hours? Most likely a lot.

So, as summer comes to a start become self aware on where you spend your time and if you are happy with what you are getting done at work as well as at home. It may surprise you to find extra time if you just stop the busy work and distractions.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An Ice Cream Celebration!

I LOVE ice cream! Really I do and almost any kind. There is something wonderful about a scoop or two of ice cream that makes me smile!

I love it so much I come up with excuses to having it. Yes, I know that everything in moderation and I would be fine, but I can't help myself. I love ice cream!

The other thing I love is celebrations. Any kind, any day! Birthdays, Christmas, Fathers Day, Mothers Day, First day of Summer, Last day of Fall, Full moon, first tomato...the list goes on and on. I love to celebrate.

I think maybe the two go hand in hand. Ice cream should be served at all celebrations and celebrations aren't complete without ice cream! Maybe it's a little goofy, but I find that if you can find time to celebrate events, activities, or days your mood and attitude really improve. If you eat ice cream (or your favorite treat) your mood and attitude really improve.

So today I deem an Ice Cream Celebration Day! Not for any national or state holiday, but because we got 3/4 inch of rain for the earth, the sun is starting to break through the clouds, the Twins are playing baseball, the motorcycle is back home, the cats ate well, the dog greeted me at the door, the house is clean, the birds are eating, and there were no major emergencies today! It truly is an Ice Cream Celebration Day!

What's your treat? What do you celebrate today - small or big? Put them together and have your own Ice Cream Celebration Day!

A scoop to you!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Inspiration of the Blue Angels

Yesterday I was able to head to Eau Claire, WI to see the US Navy Blue Angels perform.

If you have never seen them, it is a must. The precision flying these 6 planes do is incredible. It gets your heart raising as they fly over seemingly at tree level. Their fighter engine roar and the speed at which they fly is incredible.

The only problem with trying to take pictures of them is they travel at 300-400 miles and hour and the camera at about snails pace, so I got a lot of pictures of the back end of things, or just beautiful clouds!

So today I want to share my inspiration of the Blue Angels with you.

Also, I have included two other shots. A Turbo Powered Bus, and the Jelly Belly Airplane that landed on top of a pickup! There was a Turbo Powered Outhouse as well, but only got a video of that going in and out of my camera range. Thank goodness I don't make a living as a photographer!

Each of the men and women that performed this weekend have a true passion and it is inspiring!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Are you Contagious?

We have all heard of the phrase "contagious laughter". It's the laughter you have when someone starts and you just have to join in. It doesn't matter if there is anything funny happening, you just laugh and continue to laugh.

Some people have the gift of contagious laughter, I have the gift of joining in! I hear someone with a great laugh and I just have to laugh with them and it doesn't matter how it started, it just gets me going. Most of the time it ends with "laughing so hard it makes you cry" which is another really fun thing for me.

I know there must be some studies done on this phenomena and how much energy a person gets from just being part of laughing. There has to be because the way you feel after a good heart and soul laughter is amazing! Headaches go away, energy comes into your body, and you feel like you can conquer the world!

I desire to be contagious! I really do. Maybe not with laughter; although that would be most wonderful. I desire to be the label "contagious positiveness". Not as catchy of a phrase as "contagious laughter", but maybe we can start something!

There are times when I feel my positiveness is a little bit wasted as positiveness is not as contagious (YET) as laughter. In my mind there is really no situation or event that cannot be viewed as positive or at least have a positive twist. It's much harder to see and feel sometimes in sickness, death, pain and hurt -- but I venture to say that even in the hardest of times, there can be contagious positiveness! We may just need to dig deeper for it, but it is there.

I do know there are studies on positiveness and the impact you have when you or someone around you becomes and lives a positive life. I did one for my PhD! The impacts are amazing, not only personally, but to those around you. Being positive has a positive impact on your family, friends, partners, and yourself! People love to be around you when you are positive and you love to be around yourself!

I will share more about my research later in this blog, but I wanted to challenge you all to be contagious today in a healthy and positive way. Don't let yourself get dragged into negative thoughts or action, rather turn them into positive thoughts and action and see what happens!

Are you contagious? Are you willing to be contagious! Bring it ON!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Foundation for a Better Life

Well it's the weekend and as I sit and watch the dark clouds roll in I am reminded that it has been 6 months since I started this blog journey. Yes, 6 months already!

I looked back on some of my posts and found that I have done some work on discussing and giving insight into goals, objectives, life, values, living, how events shape our lives, how beauty is all around us, looking at details, writing to do lists and examples of positive and purposeful living.

It is fun to see how I personally am fulfilling a goal and a passion of mine in writing the past 6 months. I still have 6 more to go, so hopefully the thoughts and insights will continue to present themselves.

Today I want to take us back to Values. I saw an ad on a bill board yesterday that Had a picture of Whoopi Goldberg and said "Hard Work" Pass it on. And then a website address. Their tag line for the website is "The Foundation for a Better Life". If that isn't true I am not sure what is.

Everything starts with your values. Living your values IS the foundation for a better life.

I think you will find this site most inspiring, \Take a look and read some of the inspirational stories listed in there from famous and non famous people. It is pretty amazing to see how others are going through life like many of us and how they have taken their values and made a better life.

Find a few that you can relate too and learn. Learn from mistakes, challenges, successes, and insights of others. It is really amazing when we can see ourselves through the words of others. Enjoy.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Explaining what you do for a living to your parents?

As many of you know I have been to my folks place the past few weekends and last weekend at the 50th and 40th anniversary party I had to answer a lot of questions about how "Steven", my brother, was doing.

I don't mind, but when I started to ask a bit more I found that it was the only conversation they could have with me. Steven use to work for a big computer software company, so everyone knew what he least an idea.

Me on the other hand, no one had a clue and when I told them my title you could see this blank stare come across their faces and I would quickly switch the conversation back to them. It was easy to talk about them and their chosen careers: RN, Highway Patrol, Plumber, Electrician, Trucker, Carpenter, Secretary, Tax lady, Physical Therapist...easy to understand exactly what they do.

This hit me again last night after heading up to see my mother and their Pastor. The Pastor asked "what do you do for a living" and as I told her my title the look of "what" came to be.

Now the good news is that after the anniversary party my folks said at dinner "we have no idea what you or Steven do, we just know you make a lot of money". So, I explained as best I could what Steven did and Mom said "is he happy" reply was "ask him, but yes I do think he is very happy".

Then it came to me. Now they know I work at a university and have a PhD, but beyond that how do I explain what I do for a living. I have an office so you would think I would have some cool way of explaining it...okay maybe the office doesn't make it cool. I thought for a bit and as my mind raced around how to describe university customer services I said "I get to go to work every day and change someone's life for the better through serving and supporting their needs"! just came out that way.

Now to say the folks got that statement would not be quite honest so I said "I am the person that runs the department that helps learners, faculty, and staff be successful in their education". I then went on to give examples of how my team serves others and is committed to supporting them. All of a sudden Dad says "so you are in charge of helping others get their degree and if they have an issue you help them with it"! Exactly!

Now it took some time for them to think through this, but then Mom said "so, are you happy"? I was elated. For the first time in my life my folks knew what I did and cared about if I was happy with my career!

I used the same description to Pastor Sarah and as she nodded she said "so you get to be the change you want to see"! Exactly!

We all have to explain to others what we do. This is ecspecially true if you just have some general title of director, manager, assistant, associate...the title does not describe what you are passionate enough about to do for 8+ hours a day.

So, how would you explain what you do for a living to your parents, pastors, teachers, friends, or some guy in the line at the theatre? It is amazing to me that once I was able to verbalize this, I reconnected with the passion and drive I have to 'be the change I want to see in the world'.

What do you do for a living?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The House that Built Me

The House that Built Me

I heard this song on the radio this morning on my way into work and I was moved to write about it. It is by Miranda Lambert and is called "The House that Built Me". It is about a woman going back to the home she grew up in after many years. The house had been sold, but the memories remain.

This struck me as this past weekend when I went back to the home I grew up in I took notice of things I had forgotten.

The places where we buried the cats and dogs we had growing up, the pine tree that has grown from a seedling to a 50 foot tree, the garden area with the woods my brother and I use to play in, the wire fence the farm next to us had to keep the cows out of the yard, the smell of the basement after a hard rain, the orange striped carpet in the basement, the sump pump going off every 20 minutes, the smell of mothballs in the sewing room, and a poster of Farrah Fawcett in my brothers old bedroom. Each memory came back of who I was then and who I have become today because of it all.

I found myself liking the smell of the mothballs - not literally, but because it reminded me of how hard my mother tried to get me to love to sew and how now I can sew because of it.

I found myself looking at the tall pine tree and remembering how many times I ran over it with the lawn mower, but still it survived - it grew - it become a tree.

I found myself thinking about how animals have always been so important to me and my family and how I can't imagine having a home without furry cats or fuzzy dogs around as they warm my heart and touch my soul.

I found myself feeling like I had never left. There is a comfort to going home.

I found myself wondering where will I go when my parents have gone, the house has sold, and I have nothing to bring me back there - to my hometown and the house that built me.

They say you can never go home again, but I like to think that home is with me always. The house that built me is the home I am today. It has shaped my beliefs, values, ethics, and person I am today and I know I am blessed to have had the house I had that built me.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Take Time to Celebrate!

I had the opportunity, no privilege, of celebrate two milestones this weekend with my family and relatives. A 50th and 40th Anniversary. Neither couple wanted to have a party of any kind for their own reasons, but like the true party animals my relatives are this was just not right!

It all started a week or so ago when a few of the relatives said "If they don't want to celebrate these events, then we will"! So in surprise fashion everyone was notified to arrive on Saturday at one of the relatives cabins with food in hand and beer in the cooler.

One of my Uncles was driving truck back from Florida and little did he know that the party was partially for him and his wife of 40 years. The only way to get him there was to tell him we were celebrating my other Aunt and Uncles 50th anniversary. The 50th anniversary couple were taken out fishing by another Uncle as a distraction to get the rest of the relatives set in place for the surprise.

Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, and Second Cousins all arrived for the big surprise and as the boat came back and truck pulled in the surprise celebration occurred. It was a success! Success that no one spilled the beans -- my family loves to talk --, and success because we were all gathered in celebration of them and the milestones!

Celebrating is a wonderful thing. I know I always think that I don't want to celebrate my birthday or other big events, but there is something about being around people you love and enjoy that really brings out the best. It says "I care", "I love", "I respect", and "I celebrate you".

This weekend I saw cousins I haven't seen in years and met their kids for the first time. I watched old friends reunite for a common purpose of celebrations. As we all sat on the porch and lawn chairs I was reminded of how easy it would have been to do nothing, but how wonderful it was to do something.

Take time to celebrate. Yourself, your milestones, or someone else. It takes little and means so much.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Services in Seattle

This email moved me so much I wanted to share it with all of you. It is from my brother.

I went to the 84th Annual Memorial Day Celebration this afternoon at the Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in North Seattle and decided to go early and walk around. It is the largest Memorial Day Celebration in the city so I wanted to get there early. The concert started at 1:30 and service at 2:00, so I had about 45 minutes to walk around the hundreds of white tombstones, each with a single American flag next to it, some with a single rose, carnation or bouquet at the base. For the past month volunteers have been at this cemetery cleaning over 5,000 gravestones and that is just a small percentage of the number of people laid to rest here. Boy Scouts were out early this morning in the rain putting 5,000 flags in the ground – just amazing! All along the driveway, leading in to this massive cemetery, there were large American flags lining the route to the service on top the hill. Along with the brilliant white marble headstones of the fallen soldiers that you saw there were also numerous unmarked headstones of soldiers from every war, rank and military service. From the Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI and WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq war, Purple Hearts and more…all mixed in with the more grandiose gravestones and grave sites of the wealthy built of marble columns, statues, and fountains.

As the rain stopped and sun finally came out, I made my way up the hill to the sitting area, and as I walked I started to look beyond the gravestones and focused on the people that came here today to be a part of this celebration. There were families with their little kids, a few teenagers who you could tell would rather be someplace else on a Monday afternoon and an older generation dressed in patriotic wear, proud and patriotic. The few that really captured my attention were four ladies who I saw all alone. Seeing them made me wonder what story they had to share.

The first lady I saw was sitting all alone on a grave stone/bench in the middle of the cemetery wearing a bright purple jacket. She had found a grave site that was also a bench, I am sure has been used by so many others on their walk, her walking cane resting along side her. As I saw her I made up a story of how she may be a widow and has lost possibly her husband who was a veteran, as well as possibly sons and daughters as well as grandchildren who she may have lost or are still serving in the military, but she is here today alone to celebrate them.

As I approached the top of hill where the service was being held, they had a roped off section for visitors to sit. This was another area the boy scouts had spent all morning, putting up the chairs in a straight rows, no doubt overseen by a Marine! As I approached I spotted another elderly lady on her hands and knees with a bucket of water, a sponge, comet, and a scrub brush cleaning a headstone. Not only did she wash one, but ten. She took such care as she carefully washed each one and gave each one the same amount of time they deserved. After each had been cleaned and dried she made sure each was left with a small bouquet of freshly cut rhododendron. She finished up just before the service started and after the service I walked over to the grave site and noticed all of the markers belonged to the "Brown" family. All had served in the military and dated back to the late 1800's.

Another lady I spotted was casually walking through the cemetery, wearing this long red coat with a fabulous fur hat carrying a small bouquet of fresh cut purple rhododendrons in search of the deserving gravestone.

I took my seat at the ceremony, towards the back, and watched as the color guard entered, followed by 15 different legions and auxiliaries from around the region. The band played all the favorite marches and the service men, veterans and active service men and women all stood when their song was played and the crowd cheered as they all stood. It was a great feeling to see all of these men and women from the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard, some with tears rolling down their faces.

As I watched and listened to everything happening, I couldn't help notice another woman, sitting all alone with an empty seat on each side of her. I noticed her when she walked in with the color guard behind the POW-MIA flag and later found out she is a "widow" of a POW-MIA.

Speeches and prayers followed, as did 21 tolls on the bell, a replica of the Liberty Bell, along with the playing of the taps. The color guard exited to the song Stars and Stripes as each flag played tribute to the wreath that was laid in honor of the fallen.

It was a good day.