Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Look For The Goodness

As usual, the news is full of negative things; shootings, politics, racism, controversies of all kinds, and life-threatening hurricanes. The media, and people in general, are too quick to point out the bad stuff, but if you have your eyes (and your heart) open you will also see some positive things.

Skimming through the Internet headlines and photos yesterday I saw a lot of hardship and sadness caused by Hurricane Harvey. Streets were flooded, people were forced to evacuate their homes, and the weather channels were forecasting even more rain. But I also saw strangers coming together to help strangers. I watched one video of a group of people carrying a 91 year old man down a flight of stairs in his home to place him in an inflated canoe in his living room so they could pull it out the front door and to safety. The road in front of his house, as well as his entire first floor were under water. These people were gentle, they talked to him every step of the way, and they were compassionate. This man was only one of literally thousands who needed to be rescued, but in times of crazy uncontrollable events people still manage to put their differences aside to do the right thing. It's stories like this one that give me hope; hope that there is still decency left in the world, hope that there are still times when people react from the goodness of their heart rather than being reactionary to negativity.

In the midst of tragic times, good things still happen. Babies are still born in the most dire of circumstances reminding us that there is still a tomorrow. People forget about their personal financial stresses, their dysfunctional families, their job searches, and their relationship problems and they simply put everything personal aside and pull together to help strangers in need.

I prefer to think that God doesn't cause the bad things to happen in people's lives, but rather is there giving us the strength, patience, understanding, and compassion we need to make a positive difference as we deal with all the uncertainties we are dealt. There are many, many things we cannot control in today's world, but we will always have the ability to choose how we will react. Will we allow the negativity to suck us in and hold us under or will we fight back with everything we have and overcome the obstacles? I prefer to think that everyone has an unbelievable strength hidden deep down inside. Unfortunately, sometimes it just takes the big, unpleasant stuff to push us into digging deeper.

Join me today as I pray for everyone dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. May God watch over everyone dealing with the high waters, the many uncertainties, and help to keep everyone safe.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Have A Little Fun

Most things in today's world seem to involve stress; gas prices, politics, the weather, your health, your employment, the economy ... you name it. Yesterday, however, was ALL about the eclipse. People traveled for miles to see the best darkness. Hotels were built in smaller towns to accommodate the extra people. Traffic was backed up on some interstates for miles and miles. But people had an opportunity to witness something they might never have another chance to experience. People took advantage of the opportunity and made memories.

Amidst all the daily stresses it is important to try to create a healthy balance. Yes, we all have important choices and decisions to make, but we also need to learn to lighten up once in a while. We need to have a little fun.

There is a car commercial where a man is belting out a song in his car (with his windows down), he pulls up to an intersection where the lady in the car next to him decides to join in and belt out the chorus. Makes me smile every time. Why? Because it's something I would do. I've been known to dance around the house while dusting because a Backstreet Boys song came on the radio.

We all need to be able to say, 'What the heck' and dance around the house or sing in the car or laugh in public so hard that we have tears rolling down our face. Just last weekend I was eating dinner in a restaurant with my family and I noticed a roaring laughter coming from another table. At first I thought they were being a bit rude and rather loud and distracting, but then I noticed how much fun they were having and then all I wanted to do was find out 'what' they were talking about so that I could laugh too.

Laughter is a cure all for just about anything. Last night my adult daughter and I sat on the couch and decided to create a Bitmoji for me. We laughed as we downloaded the program to my phone and then proceeded to pick out the perfect auburn colored hairstyle for my character, the snazziest clothes, the right makeup, the freckles, the eye color ... we got REAL specific, lol. Then before I could stop her, my daughter sent messages to my husband's phone (of course he was only one room away). She laughed. I laughed. My husband laughed. Bottom line? We had a little fun at the end of an otherwise stressful Monday.

How do you have a little fun? What makes you laugh and temporarily forget your stresses?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What Should I Write About?

What should I write about? Some days that is a really big question. I like to try to keep my posts as motivational, uplifting, and inspiring as possible. But, like you, I am human. There are times I have A LOT on my mind and would love to tell everyone exactly what I was thinking, but those posts would ultimately be considered a rant. Rants are never healthy; for the writer or the reader. I always talk about the power of words. Even the simplest of words have enormous power; to build people up or tear them down. You can give people hope with kind and generous words, just as you can break someone's heart or belittle them with harsh ones.

Every time we open our mouths we should consider the responsibility that we have. We should choose to use our words for good; to better ourselves and those around us. Whenever we spew ugliness for the sake of trying to get our viewpoint across or to make ourselves feel better at the risk of making someone else feel worse, we are making a bad choice ... a sad choice.

Words, whether spoken or written, carry consequences. In today's world we see and hear it every day. For every good word spoken there are bound to be five that are not. I've said it before and I will say it again ... words, once they are out, cannot be taken back. You can say you're sorry to someone. You can tell them you didn't mean to say the ugly things you did, but the truth of the matter is all you can do is continue to try to win someone back over and hope for forgiveness. You'll never be Harry Potter or a magician. You will never be able to fully take back the ugly things you've said. It just doesn't work that way.

There is the saying that 'actions speak louder than words'. That is often true, but whether we are speaking aloud or sharing our words on social media or acting out what is in our hearts we ALL need to take a step back and ask ourselves, 'Is this worth it?' 'Is this going to help or make things worse?'

I listen to the news, I read the online headlines, I observe people, and I feel sickened; by the things I hear, by the things I read, and by the things I witness. I am not one to judge what is right and what is wrong. I have to hold on to my faith that a higher power will make that judgement. I read some online comments and am disheartned by some of the things that I read. People will respond to a story or a Facebook post in the ugliest of ways. They will quickly get off topic and try to throw in their own agenda. They will suggest they are smarter and wiser and better than everyone else and therefore entitled to their disruptive opinion. That's the beauty of America. Everyone IS entitled to their own opinion, but too many people hide behind Amendments and use them as a shield to do or say irresponsible and disruptive things. That is the really sad part. People fought for the rights that others choose to take for granted.

Do I have all the answers of how to make the world a better place? Absolutely not, but I sure wish I did. I'll bet we all wish we did. So what can you and I do? We can start with us. We can't make decisions and choices for other people, but we can choose what our reaction will be and how we will deal with the unpleasantness. We have the ability to choose not to make things worse by adding fuel to the fire. We can think twice before we speak.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

How long does it take you to relax?

This week I am conducting a study of sorts and putting myself at the center of the study. Like MANY other people I work full time, I have a family, and I have a lot of responsibilities. Who doesn't, right? I am certainly not centering in just on my habits, but my habits are what I know best.

I am a people pleaser, we've already established that. I never want to inconvenience anyone or add any responsibilities to their already crazy days. In order for me to feel I can go away on vacation I feel I must get all my ducks in a row; at home and at my job. Don't get me wrong, no one expects it of me other than myself. Definitely self-imposed, but that is how I roll.

This week I am on vacation with my sister; a first for us. The first night I slept pretty darn good; the bed and pillows were super comfy, the sunset was amazing, and the skies have been nothing but blue. The second night ... not a lot of sleep. My heart and my body were saying, 'Go for it, relax'. My brain? Active as usual. So how long does it take YOU to relax? Do you leave home and sleep like a baby? Do you never feel the need to check your email or phone? Can you leave the stresses and worries of everyday life back at home? If you can do all of these things, PLEASE message me with your suggestions of success.

Our goals for this week are simple; reconnect as adult sisters, not set a morning alarm, read our books until we are cross-eyed and can't read anymore, and try to just enjoy the moment. So far we seem to be doing pretty well (I think). No one has hurt anyone, lol. We've talked, we've reminisced, and we've given each other space when we need it. Like right now ... I am blogging and she is reading on the balcony. All is good.

My sister recently went camping for five days and said it took her four nights before she got a good night's sleep. I am hoping that since today is day three of five for us I am holding out for the every-other-night routine and am hoping for some serious ZZZ's tonight.

So how do you approach your vacations? With expectations and schedules or more of a 'go with the flow and see what happens' approach? I'd love to know what you look for in a vacation and whether or not you are successful. Are they more about the destination or the company? About the activities or the down time?

Stay tuned. My next post will share some of our highlights so far.