Thursday, April 28, 2016

What Is Your Time Worth?

Time is a commodity. We need more time to get more done so we can take the time we need for other things. It's a vicious cycle. But how do you feel when someone takes your time for granted? Do you feel used? Manipulated? Let down? If you feel any of these things you're perfectly normal.
Too often people will plan something with you, which means you've marked time 'open just for them' in your busy life. Your time is worth just as much as theirs. Then they cancel at the last minute or forget altogether as if it meant nothing. Apparently they don't understand that YOU could have been doing something else with your time, but you chose to make them a priority. In their little bubble of the world it was only about them; their needs, their wants, and their time. Anything that concerned you went right out the window.
When this happens (often repeatedly), do we learn our lesson? Do we share our disappointment with them? Do we think twice the next time they want to plan something with us? Sometimes 'yes', sometimes 'no'. We don't want or intend to be the doormat, but apparently we appreciate things like friendship and mutual respect more than they do.
This post isn't meant to be a downer; I'm just sharing some observations. I've always been a people watcher and one to try and understand why people do the things they do. No one wants to feel they're important only until a better offer comes along and they get pushed aside. Sure, there will always be unexpected delays in life due to traffic, a storm blows in, or a doctor gets delayed because of an emergency. We can all be understanding of situations like these. But I'm talking about the times when people make choices; sometimes selfish ones. It would be nice if these people stopped long enough to consider how their choices will affect other people. Sometimes deep inside (truth be told) we hope for karma, so they'll experience a little dose of their own actions and feel the disappointment. Some would learn from it and unfortunately some never will because they can't see past their own nose.
So what's the solution? Hard to say. I suppose we just need to pull our adult pants up and grow thicker skin. I know, easier said than done. The important thing to remember is that while we'll never be able to control the actions of others, we can always strive to make our own strong, independent choices that best suit our lives and our needs. The next time someone bales on lunch or a planned get together for no good reason and you feel inconvenienced ... tell them and then seriously think twice about accepting the next time. Make them wait for you. Hope that they'll learn and appreciate that your time has value too.

Friday, April 22, 2016

It's All About The 'Moments'

Time flies by pretty fast these days anyway, without missing the 'moments'. What are the 'moments'? They're the special things we encounter along the way that are worth remembering. The moments are special birthdays, anniversaries, accomplishments, and achievements. The moments are the friendships that endure time and challenges and rough patches. The moments are the 'pay it forward' opportunities that present themselves when you least expect them.

The moments are the times and the situations that shape our character and make us who we are.

There are days when life seems to be all about work, finances, responsibilities, and big important decisions. Then you get a Facebook event invitation for your granddaughter's first birthday party that's 4 months away so you can save the date and all you can do is stare at her picture. Suddenly the rest of the world and your day as you knew it no longer exists. You're in complete awe. Her eyes are SO captivating that you'd reach right into the photo if you could and give her a hug and a kiss. It's a MOMENT; the kind of moment that can get you through a long To Do list, a stressful week, or a sad day. It's the kind of moment that can cure whatever ails you. It's the moment that can easily become your screen saver so you can gaze at her any time you miss her and need to renew your inspiration.

Yes, life can get busy and crazy and a little tiring at times, BUT never let it consume you to the point that you miss the 'moments'. These moments will be cherished as memories forever and have the ability to encourage you, inspire you, comfort you, make you laugh, and make you cry.

It's all about the moments. What have been some of your best moments?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Do you live with regrets? Are there moments when you think to yourself ... If only I had done this or that? What if I had reacted differently? It's not often life gives us a Re-Do, but we do have opportunities to learn from our actions.
There will always be things we SHOULD do; like exercise and eat better.
There will always be things it WOULD be wise to do: vote to share our voice and obey the laws and the 10 Commandments.
There are the things we are REQUIRED to do; get a driver's license if you want to drive and have health insurance.
Then there are things it would be MORALLY right to do; be loyal, be honest, and be respectful of one another.
There's a lot to remember if you want to live a good life that both you and God can be proud of, but we're human and we're bound to make poor choices and bad decisions and even occasionally do or say things we wish we could take back. We don't get a 'rewind' button. We need to face our choices head on and deal with any consequences. But in the midst of trying to stay on track and remember all the woulda, coulda, shoulda scenarios we need to make sure we also honor the things we WANT or NEED to do. There are things that help curb our mounting anxieties like laughter (or ice cream). There are things that help us clear our heads like fresh air and taking a walk in the sunshine. There are things that help our minds stay active like crafts, crossword puzzles, and taking time for prayer or reading a daily devotional.
Life is full of big decisions and difficult choices, but it also needs to be about creating a healthy balance.
How do you balance your life? What WOULD you do if you COULD? What SHOULD you be doing differently?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Don't Let Stress Win

Has anyone besides me noticed how fast life is going these days? We rush in traffic. We scramble to get out the door on time. There are days we look at the clock and frown because it's only 8:30 p.m. and we're too tired to do anything else with our day. When I was a child I thought that days were endless. We would go outside to play in the summer after breakfast, come back in for lunch and head back out on our bicycles to find a friend in the neighborhood. By the time dinner rolled around you were either calling your mom from a friend's house to see if you could stay for dinner or bringing someone home with you.
Somewhere along the line we grew up and life got complicated ... with school, homework, jobs, children, parents, and insurmountable amounts of responsibilities. Now trying to find that 60 minutes needed to cut the grass, work in the garden, do the laundry or grocery shopping, or even just take a walk becomes something that needs to be scheduled or added to the To Do list. Not to say that all days and weeks have come to that, but it does seem to happen more frequently.
Not having the time (or the energy) to do the things you want for pleasure, for your health, for creativity, to stimulate your mind, for your family, or just for yourself and your sanity can be stressful. Stress is a nasty word; it means we're allowing 'something' to get in the way of how we live our lives and we're letting 'something' control us. Stress isn't always as simple as making a choice to do or not do something. Often stress is a mere by-product of many other things. I've always been a firm believer that choices are the one thing we can control in our lives, but life can still throw you curve balls and those curve balls can often come from other people and their choices. The trickle down effect and how much those curve balls distract you and weigh on you and how you are able to live your life can be the cause of unwanted stress.
So what can we do about it when our choices aren't enough? Great question! If I had the answer or if it was that simple I could devote myself to helping A LOT of people. In the mean time, we must learn to take life one day and one moment at a time. We handle what we can, when we can. We find ways to lighten the load, to not try to carry it all ourselves, to be more vocal when we need help, and we listen to our gut. No one knows what YOU need better than YOU. Don't give up trying to find a balance in your life. Don't give up on trying to get your joy back.
What has you stressed out these days?
In the mean time, hold on to these little nuggets of wisdom ...
Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.
~ Ovid ~
God didn't do it all in one day.
What makes me think I can?
~ Author Unknown ~
Stress is the trash can of modern life -
we all generate it but if you don't dispose of it properly,
it will pile up and overtake your life.
~ Terri Guillemets ~