Friday, September 28, 2012

Coffee Lover? National Coffee Day!

September 29 2012 - National Coffee Day! 
(Give away entry now closed 10/3/12)

I am a coffee enthusiast! I love my java, crave my joe, and dream of my liquid sunshine in a cup awaiting me in the morning, warm, bold, and yummy. I have a two cuppa morning routine- ok, who are we kidding.... it's probably more like 4....

How fabulous it was for me to have the chance to sample Tully's Coffee AND to be able to share the experience with one of my blog readers!  

Head on over to the GiveAway Page to see how you could be the recipient of this amazing Tully's Coffee.

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Week Notions - The Sun Rises

Mondays are often a tough day.  They can signal another week of the same routine, the same challenges, and the same frustrations.  But take heart - even if the coming days feel like a shadow over you, remember that every day without failing, the sun rises and shines for you. Each day is the chance to see what it is illuminating for you! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sands Of Time - Fall A Little Faster Please!

Life is lived forward, cherished backward, and savored here.

If we are truly honest with ourselves, we can probably all say that there have been moments in our parenting, in our marriages and in our lives in general that we have truly wished would pass quicker than they seem to be moving. In those times we wish we could tap the top of the hourglass, hoping to help the sands of time fall a bit quicker. The moments and hours drag on...

  • Little ones having tantrums.
  • Spouses bickering and snapping at each other as life brings them challenges to overcome. 
  • Elementary school kids and homework battles.
  • Jobs, home responsibilities, family stressors, finances. 
  • Teens and boyfriends/girlfriends, driving, high school drama, driving, graduating and college stress. 
  • Trying to keep our fort... errr... thir... ok... trying to be as healthy and look like we did in our pre-children, pre-life days. 

In those moments that seem to be countless and unending, that seem to defy  how we understand time to move, the moments that we are tired and weary - we wish we could speed the hands of time to the hour that we finally feel content.

Here's the problem...

Happiness is a speedy and lofty prey. We will never catch it if we are chasing it.

Life goes on in a forward moving direction and at a fixed pace. It's the laws of time and space that we have no control over. That forward motion includes stepping through and experiencing each moment, even the tough ones. Wishing for the quick passing of those tougher times, looking and hoping for contentment to come in the next moments, robs ourselves of happiness and wastes our efforts. If we choose not to look for contentment and happiness in the moments we are currently living, we have let a precious gift slip through our hands. A gift that will out run us. We will be left looking behind us, wishing we had savored the moments of joy, the moments of light, and the contentment that were present all along.

In your tough moments today, look around you and find something you can savor. Take off your racing blinders that keep you focused on what happiness the future may hold. You will see that in the here and now, in the midst of challenge, happiness lives if we let it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Oh Crap - Just Give Me the Shovel Now...

We all have those Oh Crap moments - the moments we wish we could take back - the moments when we know we are going to regret the words or tone that came out of our mouths, the moments when we wish we had a big shovel to clean up the mess we just made. 

We say the wrong thing, we react the wrong way, we fly off the handle. Our mouth starts moving and some strange force seems to take over. The words pour, the emotions spill, and common sense and logic are running out the back door. And when we hear the door slam, our words slap us in the face, and we wish we could turn back the clock and relive the conversation and interaction we just had.

The recipients of our fling fest are usually the ones closest to us: our spouses, kids and friends. The ones we least want to hurt and most value are the closest target that our mess heads for. Often, the aim is much more accurate and stronger than our intention is good. We don't do it on purpose. But, we are still responsible for it's impact.

Hopefully this doesn't happen very often. But, it will happen even to the most experienced of parents and communicatively skilled of us.

How can we minimize the destruction?

If something spurred the interaction then there was probably something worth discussing. It is our choice of words, our timing, our assumptions, and our own agendas are the launcher that hurls destruction. Being aware of these four areas before, during, and after can help us to be responsible and take personal accountability for how we react and respond.
  • Words - Our word choice is crucial in whether the other person is putting on body armor or opening their arms to embrace us. Using divisive (you), accusatory (you always), or minimizing language (your fault, or name calling) automatically backs the other person into a corner. Find words that bring a common place for you to have discussion. Realize that communication is not an I vs. You event. It is a WE event. 
  • Timing - Keep in mind that our need to speak does not always match up with another's willingness or readiness to hear. Respect if the other person is not in that place at the moment. Ask if the discussion can continue later and revisit it then. It gives you time to cool down, think about your words as well as giving the other person time to do the same. There will be times when issues need to be addressed very quickly and on the spot - but even then, we can find an appropriate location and way to do it. 
  • Assumptions - If you are assuming someone will act a certain way it is probably from past experience. You may prepare for responses and reactions in a defensive way because of the way the last interaction went. You know the script - you know what happens next. Here's the thing.... you are a part of that script. If you change your words, your timing and your assumption, there is no more script. Your interaction becomes intentional ad-lib and can move forward in a different way. If you assume that a person feels a particular way or that they understand your point of view and feelings, think again. You are not in their head or heart. Your words and your timing is what will open up their feelings and their understanding. 
  • Agendas - In reality, the only agenda that impacts how we respond and react is our own. To say it is another's agenda is to give away our freedom and power to communicate. As we open our mouths or consider opening them, we have to keep in mind why we are doing it. Are we being ethical (not intending to hurt, minimize, create division) in our agenda? Is this just for me to vent or will this bring out a positive change? Am I using this as a rhetorical event (passive aggressiveness) or do I really want to have a discussion with the person? 
No matter how mature or how much experience we have, not a single one of us can get it right every single time. As moms, dads, mates, bosses, employees, children, friends, we ALL miss this sometimes. We are not alone on this big terrestrial ball... we are all human and we all err. It is not a matter of us being perfect, but in our willingness to be better, and a willingness to apologize and acknowledge when our reaction was not beneficial. We can do better, take responsibility and accountability, and shovel up the mess before those Oh Crap moments.

My Mantra: Today I know that I will work to give my best, be my best, and live my best. I also know that I am a continual work in progress - sometimes needing refining, reflecting and restructuring.

Do you ever wish you could take back what you have said or how you have reacted?