Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Choice Is Up To You

Making choices is tough business. It doesn't matter if you're 12 years old and trying to choose between a sleepover at Suzie's house or going to the movies with Debbie. Someone will undoubtedly have their feelings hurt. Then you get a little older and perhaps you're dating that special someone or you're newly married. The holidays roll around and you're torn whether to be with your family or your new extended family. Perhaps you're from a divorced family and now you have even more families thrown into the equation. You want to please everyone, but that's nearly impossible. Maybe you're an adult and trying to choose a career path; do you stay with the steady and reliable or do you go out on a limb with nothing but faith and a gut instinct to try something new? If you're in high school or college you may be faced with social choices every day. Do you follow what everyone else is doing or do you hold on to your values?
There are so many choices these days. Sure, there are the less stressful choices like what to have for breakfast and which clothes to wear to work. You probably won't lose any sleep making those decisions, but with other choices you will. A lot of us, these days, have to make the BIG decisions. There are relationship choices, financial decisions, care options for our parents, etc. No one ever said life would be easy, but it's still worth it. Just remember, while YOU ultimately need to make your own choices - that doesn't mean you can't bounce ideas off of other people. Sometimes just hearing yourself talk through the different scenarios will help you come to your own conclusion.
Good luck! And if you need a good ear to listen, you know where to find me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Don't Hide Behind Your Words

I am a blogger. I consider myself a writer; perhaps not a published author, but a writer nonetheless. I always think about the words I use very carefully. I'll write. I'll edit. I'll write some more and occasionally I will scrap the whole post and start over. If I'm not comfortable speaking the words to your face (which is WAY different than speaking them behind your back), then I certainly will not write them. I choose not to hide behind my words, although many will. Just read a 'Dear Editor' letter some time. Many writers (but not all, I'm sure) will write to vent, with nothing more than a personal agenda. Read an online article and if you have the stomach for it venture to the end and read some of the viewer comments. It constantly amazes me how many people write from ignorance. Whether it's the person writing the article or those commenting on it; BOTH need to get their facts in order first before they write anything. Writing in a public forum gives you a responsibility; one that should not be taken lightly.

Sure there are things called 'Freedom of Speech' and 'Freedom of the Press', but I believe those were put in place to protect people NOT to give them a free platform to hide behind. There's a big difference.
If you have an opinion ... great, good for you. If you can choose your words carefully it's important to share your view with those you think would benefit from hearing it. It works both ways. I've read well-put-together articles only to have readers bash the content and the writer then go off on completely unrelated tangents of their own (I suppose because they now think they have a platform). It's crazy. At the same time I've read articles where someone chooses to hurl unfounded insults and accusations only to put people on the defense. What gives someone the right to force people to have to defend themselves from pure nonsense? It's a waste of everyone's time and energy and for what? Because someone had a personal vendetta or agenda or bad day?
My suggestion to you (and you can take it with a grain of salt if you like) is to think twice and speak or write once. Once the words are written or spoken, they are gone. You can back pedal all you want, but the damage is already out there for all to see.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

'You Tube' To The Rescue

We like to feel that we 'know it all'. Just observe anyone who refuses to stop and ask for directions, lol. OK, maybe that's not fair, but I remember when I was a kid (in the dark ages before computers and cell phones) when my dad would rather drive around in circles for an hour instead of stopping and asking for directions. For some reason it was if to ask for directions he had to turn in his 'man card'. Who knew that egos could be so fragile?

Life is so much easier these days. We have cell phones with GPS, we have onscreen navigation built right in to our vehicle's dashboard, and we have portable Garmin systems. We really don't have any excuse to get lost; leaving our pride intact.

If we don't know how to do something, the answer lies only a few clicks away. Here's my 'case & point' examples. Recently I stayed with my son and daughter-in-law to care for my new granddaughter for a week. The night I got there I asked for the basic 411 tutorial; where are the diapers, changes of clothing, bottles, burp cloths, the house phone, the TV remote control, the WiFi password, and the spare house key. Just the basic necessities to get me started - in time I would find the food, the dishes, and the silverware drawer.

My son informed me as he headed off to work the next morning that they left the car seat base in the garage just in case I wanted to go somewhere with my granddaughter. Unless it was an emergency I didn't have any reason to leave. I was enjoying the 1-on-1 cuddle time with her. However, by midweek the weather had improved and the sun had come out. A perfect afternoon for a stroll around the neighborhood with the baby stroller. One big problem. I studied the stroller in the garage from every angle, tried every latch, and every handle ... I could NOT figure out how to open the stroller. Seriously, it couldn't be that hard. I'd seen moms do it in the parking lot one-handed. Google to the rescue!! I checked the make and model, grabbed my cell phone, and typed in 'How do you open a 'blah-blah-blah' stroller.' Instantly I was connected with a handy dandy You Tube video and discovered the 'hidden' handle that released the stroller. We were on our way! Woohoo!

Two days later I thought I would help them out and tidy up the house and empty the trash. The diaper pail was full! Oh no! Here we go again. How do I open the lid? Answer ... grab my cell phone and ask Google for help. I felt like such a hip grandma. So accomplished. Later my daughter-in-law informed me that it took her 3 tries before she finally emptied the diaper pail as well. 

So much had changed in the 20 years since I cared for an infant. Technology had made some great improvements; the car seat, the stroller, the diaper pail, and 'yes' ... even the You Tube videos that explain how to use them.

Life is good! Life is about progress! Life is about protecting your pride!

When is the last time Google and a You Tube video came to your rescue?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Challenge Accepted

For those of you who know me well, you know I live by my To Do lists. I like to think that I control the list, but often I think the list controls me. I don't think that the list necessarily defines me, but it does carry a certain amount of power in what my stress level and attitude will be for any given day. Ironically, it is me who writes the list - so wouldn't that mean that 'I' have the power to alter the list? Wouldn't I have the power to lessen how long the list is if it begins to overwhelm me? Wouldn't I have the power to decide if something is actually important enough to be list-worthy?
So why do I (or anyone else for that fact) feel the need to write lists?
  • Is it because I'm forgetful? Not too often.
  • Is it because I want the satisfaction of seeing things crossed off the list in order to feel accomplished? Maybe.
  • Is it because I'm OCD? Not really, although I suppose that depends on who you ask.
  • Is it because I like things done a certain way or by a certain deadline? Most definitely!
Bottom line ... I suppose I create the issue that sometimes stresses me out. The world is a busy, busy place. We all have LOTS of responsibilities and just not enough hours in the day. Often we write our lists in the morning in order to better schedule our day and our time. In the morning the list may seem very doable and very realistic. I think I'm doing myself a favor to help keep myself on track and away from stress, but then 'life' happens. A child gets sick, your car gets a flat tire, you get stuck in traffic getting from point A to point B. Suddenly your well-defined list gets put on the back burner because you have enough sense to know that sudden life obstacles come first. My priorities are clear, but my willingness to let go of the list sometimes becomes a separate issue.
So here is my challenge for me (and for you); let go of the list for 1 whole day. See what happens. I'll bet the world will not self-destruct. Worse case scenario is that tomorrow's list is a bit longer and needs a little tweaking. Perhaps on that 2nd day we need to take just a moment and see what can actually come off of the list.
I'll accept the challenge. Will you?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It's Ok To Step Out Of Your Box

People talk about wanting to stay within their comfort zones. Yet, pastors will talk about trying to get us out of our comfort zones. Pro or con; everyone has an opinion. I think it's a natural tendency to want to stay where we're comfortable, do the things we know we're already good at, and not try to rock the boat. But, truth be told, sometimes rocking the boat or even stepping out over the line (even if by one small step) can be good. It can be enlightening, it can be scary, and it can also be rewarding.

We do the things we're comfortable with because we already know what to do and how to do it. There are generally no surprises. That's the way many people prefer it. We face enough uncertainties in our lives without purposely stirring the pot to make unnecessary waves. We want things to be stable and safe (and perhaps even predictable). But if we always protect ourselves from the unknown possibilities we could totally miss out on some pretty awesome and amazing stuff.

Many of you may know by now (since I haven't been shy about sharing) that I recently entered a new chapter in my life; the life of grandma-hood. It's a wonderful place; a place 9 years ago when I was fighting cancer I didn't know I'd ever get to - BUT I did. This week I'm spending some one-on-one time with my granddaughter. I'll admit I was a little nervous; being solely responsible once again for a dependent infant. I have 2 adult children that survived my care, but was I ready, equipped, and prepared for this? One look into my granddaughter's eyes and feeling her smooth skin and listening to her soft breaths told me 'I could do this'. It's amazing how you can fall in love for 9 months with someone you've never met and then instantly feel a connection once you meet.

What if I hadn't been willing to cross that line or rock the boat or make those waves? Imagine what I would have missed out on this week. I know in my heart and in my head that God will not let me down. He never gives me more to handle than He knows I can. I hold on to that whenever I have a case of the nerves, or the butterflies in my stomach, the fear that I might let someone down, or that I may fail at something and look awkward and embarrassed. Whether it's a relationship issue, a parenting issue, or a work issue ... I will take that chance if I'm striving for something I believe in and feel is worth the effort and time and sometimes even stress.

Where are the walls of your comfort zone? Were you the one that put them there? What's keeping you from wanting to climb over them?