Like it? Then share it. *please*

Sunday, January 31, 2010

I want to see what's inside

See this bottle .......

I like the way it looks and I like the way the product makes my hair all shiny and bouncy and stuff. 

It occurred to me this morning while putting my standard 4 pumps of said "Thickening Glaze" on my soon to be shiny locks (*side note, I didn't need Thickening Glaze in my 20's, we'll save that for another day with a -  hair thins when you're old post) Ok ok, it occurred to me that I really have no idea when this beautiful platinum looking bottle will stop dispensing said glaze.  I can't see the inside.

I'll be standing in my fluffy white robe ready to rock the free world with hair awesomeness and I'll go to my trusty standby of Platinum packaging ready for the glaze of godliness and then.......  nothing.

Then, because I'm a blogger, scouring the world for content, it hit me that some people are like that.  Some people go about their lives creating value for their families, their spouse, their co-workers, their community, and then one day they just stop. The fan club will be standing ready with baited breath for whatever they have normally given them, their love, their web design, their customer service goodness, their loyalty, their parenting skills, their best game.

Then the fan club will watch in shock and horror when they just don't show up. They'll still look the same on the outside but on the inside they'll stop givin' the goods.

Don't you wish you could always see what's on the inside?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

So much better on Offense

It started last Tuesday when I backed out of the garage before I put the door up.  Of course I told everyone on Twitter and in my real face to face life about my idiocy.  The following day I went to the dentist for some routine fillings.  I came home in ridiculous pain, called my work partner to tell about my horrid situation, took some pain pills and went to bed.

Then the weekend came, with continued tooth pain, our weekend without kids turned into a drywall project gone wrong and no date night, no martinis and well you know, none of that either.  I mourned the loss of that to several friends that would still listen to my drama.

A new week came and I worked doing a keynote on my work paid holiday.  I moaned and mourned the loss of my 'day off'.  On Tuesday I had a marketing event and had a hard time having an articulate conversation about my work world.  My colleagues looked at me like toy poodles with their heads cocked trying to figure out who I was and what happened to the girl they once knew.  I continued to tell them about this string of craziness I was living in.

The next day, my good friend called to tell me her marriage was on the rocks. I sank again into despair.  Finally the tooth debacle careened into root canal zone and I ended up back in the chair with files and drills and pulp sucking.  I said to my BFF, "I don't know who's life this is, but I want mine back."

So today I decided to take mine back.  I'm back playing offense..

I spent so much time telling my 'can you believe how much this sucks' story that I put myself into a downward spiral.  I'm a big fan of God as you regular readers know.  I realize that sometimes we get into root canal zone to slow us down.  God has a way of creating a Divine Disruption.  The careful part is not to feed the disruption and perpetuate it's gravity. I'm also a big believer in the basic principle that 'what you feed grows'.  Plants, dogs, kids, love,  pain ....  It all applies.

I've decided to feed my future.

Once I took over on offense, I loaded the girl in the car and we went ....... to the movies.

I love the movies, as much as I love the bookstore.  Both remind me that we can all write a new story.  So today I close the book on root canal hell and start the story of moments and memories and a future yet unknown.

The real story is,

I can afford dental care.
I have a garage door to back into.
We have a basement to drywall.
I have a husband that I love and someday I will share a martini and a steak, but today it's popcorn and nachos.
I have kids that drive me crazy, like they're supposed to.
I have a job. A job that I love.
I rocked the keynote speech from the client feedback.
I have colleagues that I love and that love me even when I'm crazy.
My friend has a husband that's willing to do counseling and they truly love each other. 

It's so much better when I play offense. I'm kinda like the Colts.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Forget all your troubles, come on get happy.

First of all, you all know the title to this post is total crap right? It's pretty dang hard to forget your troubles and just get happy.  Unless you're 12 and your troubles are needing batteries for your wii remote.  If your troubles are real, then forgetting them isn't usually an option.

2009 was the year so many of us got real, because we had real troubles.  We got real about our relationships, got real about our money, got real about our jobs or our lack of jobs, got real about the difference between want and need, got real about how connected we all really are.

If you came out of 2009 unscathed in some way, you must drink too much or have a monthly relationship with a pharmaceutical company.Which clearly means you have troubles and just don't see them.

2009 is the year that you likely realized that the goal can't always be happiness.  And how we derive our happiness can't be from a new big screen TV, or a bigger house, or a faster car.  You better be looking for happiness somewhere besides the car lot.

2009 was also the year we likely learned a lot about ourselves. God never promised us happiness.  He promised us the experiences that we need to learn and grow and be closer to Him.  If we constantly move away from anything that's uncomfortable, we'll never find the happiness on the other side of the challenge.  Each sucksville moment is designed to make us better, stronger, more caring, and more complete. Embrace the thing that sucks!  This has been a blog theme of mine since my guy lost his job and the Lessons from the Recession blog began.

If you're still struggling with those things that really suck about your life, just stop for a minute today and be still. Listen. Learn. Make some changes. Pray.

I've learned more about myself and my family while trying to figure out how to pay the mortgage this last year than I have in my first 43 years. It still sucks, but at least I'm learning.

What kind of lessons have you learned in your sucksville moments?  Share your stories in the comments below.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hitch a Ride Out of Sucksville

I went to the dentist this morning and it sucked. That reminded me of this post. My most read to date.
 Thought I should pull out the vintage post until my pain meds wear off. Here you go, enjoy!

Ever been to Sucksville? Yea, me too. 
This is a summary of my experiences that I've written about in Lessons from the Recession. They're the things that have gotten me out of other sucky situations too. 

So here goes, the first 7 steps to Hitch a Ride Out of Sucksville.

1. No wallowing. Yes, the situation sucks. No need to wallow, whine, whimper. 

Ok, that's unrealistic, you get a day.  One day to wail like a baby and get it out of your system.  Do it now and get it over with because we've got work to do.

2. Put on your Man Pants. Or your Big Girl pants, whichever works for you.  It's likely going to take some strength to get you on the other side of the suckiness.  Find it. Don't ask someone else to give it to you. This isn't a time to look to your husband, your brother, your mother to give you the strength. Find it in yourself.  You've got it, God gave it to you.  I promise you it's in there.  It may be buried under some stuff but it's there. Time to declutter and find it.

Let me clarify, this doesn't mean to completely go it alone, we'll get to that in #  5 and # 7  .

3. Decide.  There's a ton of power in decision.  Be careful about what you decide.  There's two paths in decision. You can decide that this is going to continue to suck. Or you can decide to deal with it and get to a better spot. You can start by deciding not to whine.  You can decide to take on the cancer treatments, decide to find a financial planner and get debt free, decide to find a new job.  You know what sucks about your life, now decide what you want to focus on.  I can absolutely guarantee that if you decide to focus on the problem it will get bigger.  If you decide to focus on the solution, it will get better.  This isn't for wimps. Decision is a big deal.

4. Grab a pen, or a crayon, or that ugly eyeliner you bought on sale.  This section comes right out of Michael Losier's book, Law of Attraction.     I don't know Mike and I certainly didn't get paid to refer his book, not that I'd be opposed to it if he calls.  I have used this book and it's made a huge difference.  The Dummies version is this, quit focusing on what you don't want, with your mind, and your words. Start to obsess about what you do want. Write this stuff down! You can read the book to get the rest. It's a quick read with some "workbooky" kind of stuff.

5. Feed yourself well.  Got to feed yourself with the right nutrition, relation and information.

Nutrition:  I'm a huge fan of a great glass of wine or a mean margarita, just be careful.  You know where I'm going with this right? If you're already feeling sucky, the poor pitful me can be waiting at the bottom of that glass or bag of chips.

Relation:  They say you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with.  Take some inventory of what that math equation looks like for you.  You may need a tutor or two to step in right now.  Look around that small circle, if all you see is Whiney Wilma and Negative Nelly, time to move up the relational food chain a bit.  You don't need 'poor baby' friends right now.  You need a swat team to keep you focused on strength and solution.

Information:  Saddle up some good inspirational stuff beside your US Weekly on the nightstand. Feed your heart and your brain with stuff that helps.  The size of J Lo's butt is interesting but not helpful right now.

6. Lessons in the Suckage. You don't learn much when things are all sunshine and roses.  You learn when the thorn pricks you through your pink gardening gloves.  You learn when things suck.  The sooner you go looking for the lesson, the sooner you can move past it to the good stuff, then you're better equipped for what happens next. 

7. Guess who the Teacher is?  Yea, you knew we'd get here right?  The Big Man Upstairs has been watching you stumble around like a 3 legged blind dog and He's just waiting on you to acknowledge that He's really calling the shots. 

Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute...(insert sound of breaks grinding to a halt and tires screeching) 

You might be thinking something like this.....

I thought I was putting on my Big Girl Pants and then Planning and Deciding, I thought this was about ME!

Now you're going all God on me. 

Yea.  I am.

Last time I checked, you weren't doing so hot on this little issue that sucks.  You need a Father, a Keeper, a Teacher.  Don't be too proud to pray.  He's got the road map to get you out of Sucksville, as long as you aren't too proud to ask for directions. 

Look, I'm no Prayer Popstar.  I don't have a degree from Prayer School International.  I'm sure there are some classes and books on how to do it "right".  I don't think that's the point.  Just do it. 

Maybe start with something like this...
Dear Lord, this sucks, please help me out of Sucksville.

Do that for a couple of days until you get more comfortable and then move to something like this...

Hey, I'm sorry it's been awhile since I gave you a jingle.  I know you've been outside my door the whole time like a stalker waiting for me to wake up.  Thanks for waiting. Wanna grab some coffee and chat?

And then maybe something like this....

Ok, ok, I get it, you're the driver, I'm the passenger. Now, can we please find a way out of Sucksville?
I promise not to reach over and grab the wheel while you drive anymore.  And, could you step on it, it's hot in here and I have to pee. 

These are just a few suggestions, you certainly have your own versions. 

I'm not an expert at much, but I've been to Sucksville a couple of times and have found this is the smoothest way out.  You can take the windy, rocky, cliff route if you want, but I'm hitching a ride.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Was it a New Year just last week?

Here I am just one short sleep away from my second Monday back to work from the New Year. Why is it after just 10 days, all the "oohhh shiny" from those goals and aspirations seems to have faded to a dull bronze like the light fixtures that came with your first house?  Seriously, did we all just get shorted a chip in our head that keeps us from sticking to stuff?

Change is hard. Ridiculously hard. Even change we want to happen. Don't you find that a little bit crazy? One of my goals; I wanted to wash my face every night before I went to bed. Think about that. My goal was basic personal hygiene and I'm still only at about 80% in 10 days! 

Last week was healthy eating week at our house.  I put this challenge out to my running crew at Christmas.  This is a group of gals hovering in their 40's that run every week and ponder the craziness of this wife/mom thing we signed up for.  I challenged them to a healthy eating week of vegetables, fruit, chicken, fish and whole wheat; No processed foods, no red meat, no sugar. 

I must say, I was pretty excited that even the husbands got on board. Having gorged on chocolate chip cookies and cheese balls for a month, all of us were looking for the exit out of heart attack hell of the holidays.  We did really well at our house. Thankfully, I love to cook and was home all week in my office without a lot of client travel so it was pretty easy.  Why then on Friday night, just hours before the challenge was to end, like Homer Simpson and doughnuts, I started having hallucinations about pizza?

Think about this for a minute, I didn't set a goal to get my doctorate degree or climb Mt. Higher than Hell.  I wanted to eat real food and wash my face and I couldn't do that 100% for 10 days.  Makes me wonder how I've held a job for so long!

I hope we all know that life isn't about perfection.  It's about doing the best we can in the moment. Did I eat better last week than I have in a long time. Absolutely!  Did I finally get around to scraping the day dirt from my face and using that high dollar anti aging cream that sits in my drawer a few more days last week. Absolutely!

Big key to sticking to stuff, tell people what you're trying to accomplish. If you're really serious about doing something, your goals can't be a secret. You'll be about as loyal to yourself as the lead singer was to you in that band you followed in the 80's.

I took and sent 8500 texts from my running buds last week about healthy eating boundaries. Things like, "If I just lick the brownie, is that ok?"   We're not easy on each other either. Find friends that aren't the "poor baby" friends,those are a dime a dozen. Find the ones that call BS when they see it. Not just about eating and face cream. Everyone can bitch and moan about their husband, their kids, their boss, their landlord, their gas mileage.  Find some friends that will help you see it differently and then do it differently. those are priceless. 

I stumbled on a blog from a crazy chic I follow on Twitter. One of her goals was face washing too. I sent her a tweet (message) asking if she was looking over my shoulder in the goal setting department because I had the same goal. We sent some funny exchanges for a few days. Truth be told, I can't wash my face without thinking of her and wondering if she'll tweet me the next day to see if I've done the scrubba dub. Think about that. I've never met this person. Yet I'm thinking about @manicalmom from Twitter while standing at my vanity at night.  The business term for this is accountability. In straight talk it means, don't be an idiot and flake on what you said you were going to do.  The only way to do this is to tell someone that will either pick you up when you're laying in a pile of potato chips slobbering like a Newfoundland or slap you silly when you go into your whine fest. Those are the friends to find and stick with, forever.And if you are really heading to a "wine" fest, I'm the right friend for that too.  Happy New Year to you and yours.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Kreative Blogger Award

Big shout out thank you to Maria who spills her heart, soul and humor at BORED Mommy for nominating me for a Kreativ Blogger Award!  Go check her out and lap up some of that fabulousness!

The rules for accepting this award are:

  1. Thank the person giving the award 
  2. Copy the award to your blog
  3. Place a link to their blog
  4. Name 7 things people don't know about you
  5. Nominate 7 bloggers
  6. Place a link to those bloggers
  7. Leave a comment letting those bloggers know about the award
The SEVEN Things People Don't Know About Me:  

  1. I was interviewed and shown on MTV Spring Break while working in a bar on Daytona Beach in the 80's. Not one of the proudest moments for my mother. 
  2. When listening to songs I love, I create choreography in my head. I don't even realize it, it just happens. Husband promised to build me a dance studio someday in case I want to go on So You Think You Can Dance or just boogie my boots off in my backyard.
  3. The song Turn Back Time by Cher pops in my head at least 3 times per week. Ask my daughter, sometimes I belt it out, she loves that. 
  4.  I love bookstores, like some like chocolate. I love the way they look, sound, and feel. I love feeling hopeful around all of those words, like anything is possible. And yes, I dream of sitting in the back at a table, Sharpie in hand, with a line out the door.... for me and my book. I've been practicing my signature for years. Getting married and getting a new name threw I curve ball to my preparation, but I've recovered and am ready.  
  5. On a handful of occasions over the years I have consumed a Big Mac, Super Size Fries, a 6 piece nugget and a Large soft drink. Sometimes diet coke, which is hysterical. I heart McDonalds. 
  6. My mind races constantly with what I could do, should do, am about to do, wish I had done ... You get the picture. I love to think and plan and ponder. Sometimes I actually get around to doing. 
  7. I miss my 20 year old hair, hot rollers and all. 
Here are the 7 bloggers I nominate for Kreativ Blogger Award (no particular order): 

  1. Mommy Needs Therapy  by Kristine
  2. Sean Jones Foto by Sean
  3.   Ya Ya Stuff by Alicia
  4. Lizz at One Nerve Left 
  5. Emily at Emily Sutherland's Blog 
  6. Natalie at Mommas Gone Mad
  7. Mitzi at Fluidity Yoga 

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    Writing a New Story: A Quest for Memorable

    A few months ago I heard Donald Miller on the radio and it lit my pants on fire! I came home rambling on about what he said and how it made so much sense and how I wanted to see him speak and I was going to drive straight to the bookstore but it was closed.... (breathe)

    When I caught my breath I ran out and bought his latest book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.  Here's the Dummies Cliffs Note version, live your life like you're writing a story.  A great story has characters faced with challenges and they overcome them or die trying and those truly great stories are memorable.  The books that live in your head for days, the movies you can't stop thinking about, the memorable ones.  At Christmas I wrote that the holiday being should be more about making great memories than giving great presents. This idea of making life memorable has stuck as a mantra for 2010.

    I've already got a pretty rockin' life.

    I've got a husband that loves me, and even likes me most days, two kids on their way to being fabulous, if I don't screw them up. Icing on my cake, I love my job. I get to help change people's lives and transform organizations. Cherry on top of my icing on my cake,  I'm pretty good at it and it pays me darned well.

    But is it memorable? Truly memorable?

    I work hard, I cook a pretty mean pasta, I make the bed, I'm not bad at decorating, I throw a decent party.

    But is it memorable?

    Because I'm also a Type A planning freak, I've got a boat load of goals. Remember, I work for FranklinCovey, for crying out loud. Yes, some are work goals, and thankfully this year I'm knocking those out of the park. This year, I'm going to work on those personal goals.

    1. Get paid to write, yes, you know the magical words, "published author"
    2. Learn to play guitar, not quite as good as Taylor Swift, but to carry a tune for a campfire singalong
    3. Travel to new places, NYC, Oregon, Bangladesh, the local ice skating rink
    4. Be a way better wife, a way better mom
    Disclaimer * Not necessarily in that order

    So, yes my email may be caught up, and my clients may be happy, but will I remember any of that when I'm 83? God, I hope not.  I hope that's not all that I will have stood for.

    Which brings me to today. The snow storm. Kids were released early from school. My guy had been champing at the bit, waiting for them to get home so he could go out and play.  He's a snow storm kinda guy. Drives around in the pickup truck looking for damsels in distress, kind of guy. (Yea, not making that one up.)

    The kids came home. The boy was transported to the basement, guitar in hand, before his backpack hit the floor. The girl was curled up in a chair with the cat watching SpongeBob.

    There sat my poor husband with no one to go out and play.  He was looking like the new kid on the block that didn't get invited to kickball. He had turned down a championship game, perched on his favorite barstool with buddies frick and frack, to come home and play in the snow.

    This was not memorable, this was becoming tragic.

    That was it...... I said, "Go get 'em and create some fun enticement and kick their butts out in the snow!" After a few minutes of whinging and gnashing of teeth, I pulled them to the side and gave it to them straight.
    Look, your dad gave up a night out with his friends watching football to play in the snow with you, now get your butts out there and have some fun!"

    Interestingly, they were moved by his sacrifice and immediately started squeezing themselves into snowpants looking like little "Randy's".

    They said, "Mom, you comin?" I gave my standard response, "I've got some work to finish." It was 3:30 in the afternoon, technically I still had 90 minutes left, how could I possibly knock of early?

    Picture this.  I work from home. I was still in my jammies at 3:30 in the afternoon sans shower and if I'm honest sans teethbrushing. So I could give up personal hygiene for the day but not 90 minutes of email?  Tragic, not memorable.

    So I piled on the padding and trodded off to play!

    Our pond is frozen so we could sled down the hill onto the pond for the first time since we've lived here!  That was memorable.  There was still whining and moaning and I'm cold and there's snow in my boot and make the dog quit stepping on my sled and all the usual crap of parenting. But we were making memories.

    My fire is fueled. Memories are far more fun. I came in and saw a Tweet that Seth Godin still has tickets available for his speech next week in NY. I picked up the phone and asked my boss if he'd pay for me to go! Then I called my BFF to see if she'd go with me since her birthday is coming up. I called her and said, "Hey, you want to go on an adventure?"

    Yep, that's me. 2010 Adventure Girl. Making Memories. Livin' life outloud with some downhill sledding action!

    (Yes, the pictures are crap for quality. I was freezing trying to use an iphone which means I had to take my gloves off! Don't judge, this isn't a photo contest!)

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    New Year, New Outlook - Not Wrong, Just Different

    I can't help it, I'm one of those people. It's New Years Day and my mind rushes with plans, ideas, and goals.  It's a party in my head.  I frenzy of organizational activities, new behaviors, new starts, new beginnings. I want to break out a new beautiful journal with matching perfect pens that write with a smooth wonderful glide.  And after I clean the closets, groom the dog, and write our family mission statement, I will sit in front of my fire and be calm while I read a stack of the classics.

    Ahhhhh, just the idea of some of that happening makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. 

    Not everyone in my family shares this same blissfill 'ohmmmm' calm that I do over these thoughts.  Thankfully this one does ......

    (note: this picture was not taken for this post. This was just "her" a few months ago)

    Her and I together border on OCD.

    Then there are the men in our house.  Well, one man, one "man in training". They don't really share the same thoughts, feelings or understanding of this need for order and matching Sharpies. Not only do they not share it, they think we're a little off kilter in our thinking!

    The men in the house like stacks of books, games and toys.  Visible stacks that give their minds ideas and possibilities.  They like to "just chill" to quote our man of the house.

    For years I saw this view of the world as a character flaw.  How could one not like, enjoy and crave this order and peace that the girl and I crave?  Wasn't that "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" really in the Bible?  Like a law or something?  Don't you need to show a pic of your perfectly organized closet to get into heaven?  I thought for sure my role in life was to bring the men in my house to the right side of the world so I could get them into heaven.

    A year or so ago I spent the afternoon helping the boy organize his room.  All the Legos put into little plastic drawers organized into catagories. Video games stacked neatly with titles all facing the same way for easy access, books put in sections much like the library.  After this fun filled mother son bonding moment I lay on his bed and with a deep sigh said, "Dude, isn't this awesome?"

    Calmly and carefully he said this.

    No, mom, I really only do for this for you.  I know you like it this way.  When you put it all away I can't see the possibilities.  When I have to look for certain Lego pieces in the drawer I can't create the good stuff.  When all of the pieces are laying out, I can see all kinds of possibilities and creative ideas for building the good stuff. 

    I sat in a stupor. Shocked. Changed. Completely impacted by this brilliant little boy.  This one that could articulate so clearly that he wasn't wrong, just different. 

    I had been trying for nearly 10 years to bring his father over to the good side, the right side, my side.  And here was his offspring finally getting through to me.  (gulp)  They're not wrong, just different.

    The man of the house is recovering from surgery.  I took all of his post surgery instructions and medications and created this system.  Complete with instructions written on the box and a place to check off the days when he has taken the pills. 

    Last night he MOVED THE STUFF AROUND! I was completely frustrated.  I voiced my frustration. He said, "Really, that's what is going to send you off?  Come on. That's a little extreme don't you think?"  Well actually, no, I don't think so.  Because I'm not wrong, I'm just different. The organization isn't wrong, the idea that everyone should see it the same way is a little whack.

    Let's be clear.  I still get heart palpitations when there is clutter around me.  I'm not changing what I love, which is order and organization.I'm going to start this year trying to find the balance between order and the creative outlet of chaos. Wish me luck.