Like it? Then share it. *please*

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Root Canal Series: Part 2 - What is trust?

This is part two. Start here if you need to catch up ....

Another interesting lesson of my root canal.  As I was sent from my dentist to the endodontist I realized on the drive over that I knew absolutely nothing about these people. I was in excruciating pain and only wanted relief but couldn't help wondering if this endodontist had been on the news for some heinous root canal crime.    I was cursing my decision to stop watching the news several years ago.  After all, there's never anything good on the news.  Which is exactly the problem!  Was this endodontist shown on the news with her white coat over her head being escorted to a police car with angry toothache patrons holding picket signs?  I had no idea. I was in way too much pain to do a thorough iPhone Google search.

It started out ok.  The lobby was normal, the front desk lady was polite. Then....then..... then..... I went to the room of doom. The one with the "recliner".  There I found a lady that wasn't new to the world of removing infected pulp, but she was new to this office.  She and the veteran pulp sucking assistant spent much of my diagnosis bickering about the right x-ray techniques, why do we use this, why don't you have that, don't put that there.

Meanwhile, back in the recliner, I've been poked in the eye, had the roof of my mouth scraped with a metal torture device and my lip pulled and smashed.

The whole time, no one was really talking to me.  They talked about me, around me, above me.

The tooth band thingy kept popping off and three different people tried three different techniques and finally when it was time to begin, I freaked out.

The actual endodontist came in all cheery and ready to put a power drill in my mouth and I said through green plastic shields and metal tooth bands, "get this off now".  Which sounds like, "Ge  is oh  nohw'.

At first she was unsure and then she finally looked me in the eye and it was clear I wasn't kidding. My kids know that look very well.

Once she had removed all the gear, she sat me up like a normal person and sent "frick and frack" out of the room.  With tears streaming down my face I said, "I have lost all confidence that you and this team have the ability to do this procedure."

She finally talked to me, and with me. She told me about the procedure, what to expect, and she cared about how I felt for the first time since I got there.

Trust. It's that soft and squishy thing that's hard to explain.  We just know when we do or don't have it.

In my work as a consultant, I know that trust takes two things, character and competence. Basically, you have to care and you have to know how.  Neither of these were immediately presented to me in that office that day.

Think about your relationships. How much do you care?  Not the fake kind of care.  The kind that has you doing things differently only because you know it's important to the other person. The kind of caring that comes from a strong character. 

A big part of your character comes from your intent.  What is your intent? Is it to get the other person to do what you want them to do, or to truly know that person?

To jump to the punch line, my endodontrist gave me movie tickets and a big apology when I left. She divided my appointments up because my mouth couldn't take the full deal with all of the challenges they put me through and to date, I think I'm gonna live. She showed me good character and she finally had the competence to remove my infected pulp. That's good stuff.

Trust is a big deal. Try to understand it more.  Here is my shameless plug for a book that can help you with this: The Speed of Trust: The one thing that changes everything.

(I work for FranklinCovey and teach classes on this stuff but I won't make a dime when you go to Amazon and buy it, pinky swear.)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Root Canal Series: What is acting as infected pulp in your life?

Last week I went in for part 2 of my root canal.  Yes, who knew that some root canals come in a three part series? 

If you've not had one, it's kind of a big deal.  A "sucky" big deal. And of course as a blogger, it has me thinking about stuff.

Here's just one thing I learned from my root canal.

>>> I'm seriously thinking of a three part blog series to go with my three part root canal, because that's the way I roll.  And because I've been so ridiculously busy at work, my inspiration bucket either has a hole in it or is just plain drying up. So, take what you can get RandomThinkers!<<<<

Ok back to one thing I learned from root canal. 

Sometimes you have to remove the infected pulp from a situation to get any relief at all. 

Infected pulp you say?  Yes, infected pulp.  Which is what had me ready to commit hari-kari. Which is completely different from Harry Caray. I'll leave that to you for a little side research.

So I went to the grim reaper also called my endodontist . This is a dentist who decided mere fillings weren't enough and had to go on to removing infected pulp for a living.

In this crazy process of drilling and filing into the deep canals of my teeth, all the infected pulp was released and my pain was removed, almost immediately.  What are those things in our life that act as infected pulp and once we remove them our pain is removed, almost immediately?

* bad boyfriends
* toxic friends
* team members that don't pull their weight
* bosses on a power trip
* our own toxic thoughts and attitudes

I'm sure together we could build a pretty impressive list of infected pulp producers.  Is there something in your life right now that has you wanting to commit hari-kari? 

Could you take your own drill and file and suck out that infected pulp and get on with your life in a little less pain?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Potholes on the Path to Greatness

It is my experience that if you believe life sucks, it will rise up and smack you square in the nose and be sure to fulfill your vision.

Thankfully, I believe the opposite is also true. I choose life, love and the pursuit of happiness, joy, possibilities and pathways to greatness.  Yes, some of those paths are gravel roads with potholes the size of Kansas.  Some of those potholes have the names of people on them, some are jobs, some are fear, unrest, or frustration.

Have you ever taken the road less traveled and ended up on a dirt path or a gravel road and have it open up into the most beautiful place you've been?

Don't be too busy bitching about the potholes to look up and see something beautiful in a place you've never been.  You can get the car washed and realigned later. For now, whip out the camera phone and capture the beauty. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

A note. To: the fathers, husbands, brothers and boyfriends From: Us Girls

Just another Manic Monday.  I wish it was Sunday, that's my fun day.

That was the cry of the girl this morning.  I knew from the first groan and scream that came from her polka dotted nest that this was not going to be a stellar morning.  I braced myself.

I went downstairs hoping if she didn't have any targets to aim her nastiness that she would give up and get on with it.


As she lay in hysterics on the floor of the stairs, I knew this one was going to take extra effort.

The girl is 8.  Too old for a tantrum for sure.  But face it ladies, don't you have those mornings when you absolutely want to throw yourself down on the landing in a pile of nightgown and bedhead and just kick your feet and scream your fool head off?  Yea, me too.

I went up stairs and tried logic.  You're smiling now because you know that logic mixed with screaming tantrum is like spitting in the wind. So there I stood covered in her spit standing in her closet.  I stood very still and I prayed.

I took her back downstairs to the secret hiding place of all favorite jeans called the laundry room. Still sniffling and catching her breath she went upstairs to dress.

She came down in her cute jeans and peace sign t-shirt. I thought I was home free on the shoe situation because I'm Mom of the Year and bought her new gym shoes this weekend. Proudly displayed in the box on her breakfast seat like the Crown Jewels on the Queen's throne, sat the shoes.  I smile at my brilliant timing.

Before I can say Honey Nut Cheerios, she's on the floor screaming at these new shoes and their "STUPID LONG SHOE STRINGS" with tears streaming from her red and swollen eyes.  In that moment I am one with the girl.  I 'get' her.

I scoot 130 lbs of Newfoundland out of my way and I sit on the floor beside her without saying a word.  I scoop up 4 feet of arms and legs into my lap and I stroke her hair and I rock.  She fights me a teeny tiny bit at first, then she sighs a big sigh and she says, "Mom, can I just stay home for a little while?"

The big yellow bus of social hour is due in 15 minutes.  The bus is her favorite part of the day.  I'm sure she sits in the back with a pack full of sparkly markers and holds court over her land each day.  She is the Queen and her castle is long and yellow and has wheels.

"I can take you to school but you won't get to ride the bus.  You can hang out for another hour and still be to school on time if I take you." Normally, this would not even be an option. Today, she sniffs one more sniff and meekly says, "ok".

For the girl, today is the day that up is down and down is up and nothing makes sense and you just want to lay on the couch with a fuzzy blanket let that be alright.  We are girls, we are women, and some days nothing makes sense and that needs to be ok.  Logic doesn't matter. Logic is the enemy. Logic at that moment is a big fat dummy-head.

I write this for you fathers, husbands, brothers and boyfriends.  You lovers of logic and reason and sense. Of math that always adds up and problems meant to be solved.

Yea, we don't always work that way. We're not wrong, just different.

We're so busy feeling and connecting and knowing and glowing and anticipating that sometimes the wires are so tangled we can no longer connect.  Please don't tell us how we got tangled or why being tangled is wrong or how to keep us from getting tangled again.  That very act of logic knots us up tighter and frays our ends.

Just scoot the Newf and stroke our hair and let us cry our tears.  Our cords will relax and untangle themselves and in a matter of hours we'll dismiss this event and you'll wonder if it ever happened.

Not Wrong, Just Different

Then you can go back to the land of logic and we'll go back to connecting and feeling and life will be good again.

Not Wrong, Just Different.

An hour of Cheerios and fuzzy blankets and we're off to school singing our favorite country song. Knowing, feeling, connecting and glowing.  Just hanging out, us girls. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Interview with Dude, the 12 year old - School Sucks - he tells us why

Interview with "Dude" - the 12 year old.

We've called our son Dude since he was a toddler. It stuck.

Today after church I sat down and asked Dude to talk about something besides Legos, iTouch apps, or Guns N Roses.  He couldn't really come up with anything so I started asking some questions.  Things I'm really curious about.

Dude has ADHD. He hates school. Not an exaggeration. He prays for snow days. God has granted him a few too many recently.

Dude is in 6th grade.  A few months ago he was tested in his reading and writing ability.  Dude reads at a 12th grade level, yes a Senior. Dude writes at a 10th grade level, a sophomore. He's never been on the A, B honor roll.  He hates that. A lot.  Mostly he spends his days feeling like he can't quite measure up.

I asked Dude what it was about school that makes him hate it so much.  Here is his story.

"It's horrible to sit and listen to lectures all day long."  He says this with the kind of emotion and disdain that we reserve for descriptions of a 12 car pile up on the freeway. 

He then says something I find profound and frustrating. "Did you know we have huge science lab in Mr.Soinso's class and we NEVER use it."  That complete frustrates him and bums him out.  It bums me out too. 

"Mr. Mathsalot takes us to the computer lab and lets us play math games on the computer.  We all love that."

Note to teachers: less lecture, more hands on

They have a discipline program; X's and stamps. If you get to the end of the nine weeks with 5 stamps (these are good) and less than 11 X's (these are bad) you get to go to the party.  It's a big deal not to go to the party because that room looks like Saturday detention with The Breakfast Club. Dude would be Brian Johnson, who was played by Anthony Michael Hall. The smart kid, trying to fit in.

Dude missed the party last time because he had 5 X's for not having a pencil, on top of a few more X's for forgetting his homework.  The homework that he completed before he even got home that night but just couldn't seem to get back into class the next day. More than 11 X's, no party.

Dude tells me about a teacher that only gives out X's  "When you go there, you know you won't get anything but bored and X's, nothing good.  I HATE going to that class."  5 X's for not having a pencil.  I taught a class of professionals last Thursday, a lady that runs six public high schools didn't have a pencil and asked to borrow one before I started teaching. (true story)  I've got her email address, I think I'll shoot her 5 X's.

As Dude is telling me his scholastic sucksville stories, he remembers that he's missing a book for reading class and his teacher told him if he doesn't turn it in tomorrow he gets 5 X's.  He already has 9.  Yea, for those keeping score at home, that's a 'no party' move.  Apparently he's been looking for the book since last year.

I'll be driving to town today to buy said book.  That's not normally how I handle things.  I'm big on consequences and taking responsibility but today as I listen again to what sucks about school for Dude, I'm sad and angry.  I'm thinking about wrapping the book  in wrapping paper covered in X's with a big red bow and a nice hand written note for the teacher that simply says, "Suck It".  But I won't. Because I know the secret code of the teacher's lounge and that move would be sudden death for Dude.  I hate school too.

Now Dude is asking me about downs syndrome.  They have a new girl in class with downs. He wants to know what her life will be like when she's an adult. He's genuinely interested and concerned.  This guy is the most caring 12 year old on the planet.  He sends me app recommendations like CauseWorld that donates money to charities by keeping track of your Karmas when you visit certain places.  He insists on going back into church today to see if there is wireless to get his karma points on CauseWorld today.   Hey Mr. X, how about that for some freakin' stamps, huh? 

I emailed one of Dude's teachers recently asking for their advice on helping Dude with his grade.  He had a few missing assignments that was dragging him down but good grades on quizzes and tests.  The teacher responded, "He should be more organized." That       Is       Brilliant!  As the mother of this ADHD genius, I have never thought of that!  And, that deaf kid in class should listen more. 

If I had stupid money I'd spend my days and nights revamping the school system. Instead I'm working hard to make sure the system doesn't beat my kid down by marking him with X's and stamps until he can become old enough to save the world.  He'll be hiring a virtual assistant to make sure he always has enough pencils. 

 Here are some highlights from The Breakfast Club, I've made special note of those quotes from Brian Johnson.

Richard Vernon: You're not fooling anyone, Bender. The next screw that falls out will be you.
John Bender: Eat my shorts.
Richard Vernon: What was that?
John Bender: Eat... My... Shorts.
Richard Vernon: You just bought yourself another Saturday.
John Bender: Ooh, I'm crushed.
Richard Vernon: You just bought one more.
John Bender: Well I'm free the Saturday after that. Beyond that, I'm going to have to check my calendar.
Richard Vernon: Good, cause it's going to be filled. We'll keep going. You want another one? Just say the word say it. Instead of going to prison you'll come here. Are you through?
John Bender: No.
Richard Vernon: I'm doing society a favor.
John Bender: So?
Richard Vernon: That's another one right now! I've got you for the rest of your natural born life if you don't watch your step. You want another one?
John Bender: Yes.
Richard Vernon: You got it! You got another one right there! That's another one pal!
Claire Standish: Cut it out!
Richard Vernon: You through?
John Bender: Not even close bud!
Richard Vernon: Good! You got one more right there!
John Bender: You really think I give a shit?
Richard Vernon: Another! You through?
John Bender: How many is that?
Brian Johnson: That's seven including when we first came in and you asked Mr. Vernon whether Barry Manilow knew that he raided his closet.
Richard Vernon: Now it's eight. You stay out of this.
Brian Johnson: Excuse me sir, it's seven.

Brian Johnson:

Dear Mr. Vernon: We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But, we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But, what we found out is that each one of us is: a brain . . .
Andrew Clark:

And an athlete . . .
Allison Reynolds:

And a basket case . . .
Claire Standish:

A princess . . .
John Bender:

And a criminal.
Brian Johnson:

Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In this place I am...

I took a trip today.

I took a trip to the quiet place in my heart. The place that feels settled, hopeful, excited, creative, energized.

I love this place.  I have been in passionate pursuit of this place.

In this place I am a writer, a rockstar, God's child, mom of the year. I am happy. I am hopeful. I am the me God made me to be.

The music plays and my mind and my heart go to places of possibility that I can barely conceive. In this dance, it is my heart that leads. My mind falls into step.  Together, in rhythm, in sync, in love. 

It is here that everything is not only possible, but probable.  It is here that my mind rests and rejuvenates. I create, I believe, I hope, I see, I am. 

Who really knows who I am in this place?  This is my place. To share it is to change it.  So I sit in it and I close my eyes and let it wash over me. I let it soak it into my skin, penetrating my pores, my heart, my prayers.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I like to rant in my fat pants

You know that tension, and sometimes friction, that happens when your expectations don't match your reality?

Often times it's not a wrong and a right coming together, it's just two rights that don't always match up.  Like anal planner girl marries ADHD guy. Not wrong, just different.

 Anal Planner Girl is on the left, Genius ADHD Guy on the right

My expectations about life came from growing up with an engineer father that folded his fast food wrappers into a perfect origami figure before throwing it away.  Things in my life were always 'neat'.  I thought everyone believed in the power of neat.  I didn't like it as a teenager, but I knew it was what I should strive to be.  And I did.  I got my own apartment and became neat. Like I was supposed to.

Then I fell in love with a guy who was raised to save stuff in case you need it later. A creative genius with ADHD and lots of ideas that you can't always keep "neat". You can see where this is going right?  Both ideals have merit.  They don't always (rarely) match up.  Not wrong, just different.

I'm finding lots of things in my life that fall into the Not Wrong, Just Different category. 

Last week a bigwig at work and one of my dear friends called and said he was thinking of putting my blog on the suggested reading list for our client facilitators. Like 25,000 client facilitators across the globe. I work for FranklinCovey doing sales and consulting.  We're a big name brand with lots of expectations from our clients.

The world expects us to be neat and tidy and professional and organized, and well, "almost perfect".  I love my company, I love the brand. But...........I was a little apprehensive about this idea.  Hey, who doesn't want more blog traffic and exposure!  I was concerned that they would want me to be more FranklinCovey and less Rebecca.  I said to my bigwig friend, "Are you sure? Does this mean I have to clean up my act?"

Now let's be clear about something else, I'm a really good producer for FranklinCovey and I don't mind saying that because I've got the data to back it up.  I'm good at my job and well respected in the company. But let's face it, those that read this, know that I'm not always neat and tidy, in my language, or with my topic.  I write about the messy stuff in life.

I like to think that my messages have some merit and get people thinking about things they could do differently, but there is a reason I don't work in our marketing department.  You won't find one of our marketing sheets with the word "crap", which is one of my favs.

They decided not to include my personal blog. I'm relieved. The style and expectations of RandomThoughtsbyRebecca doesn't match up with the FranklinCovey brand. Not Wrong, Just Different.

Ladies, you know those days when you've been working in your suit, panty hose and heels all day?  You're rockin the power suit and heels and people respect you and you command attention and professionalism?  What's the first thing you do when you get home?

That's right, unleash what's been tied up in spanx all day, put on those fat pants and let it all hang out.  Well, FranklinCovey is my spanx and randomthoughtsbyrebecca is my fat pants. Here is where I let it all hang out. Not wrong, just different.

They have decided to include my work blog -  That was nice. If you'd like to hire me for a keynote speech on The Speed of Trust or help your organization execute on its most important goals, I'll wear my spanx and we'll rock it out. I can get some awesome results for you.

Sadly, I don't keep that blog as updated as I should because I'd much rather rant in my fat pants here! That's Not Wrong, Just Different.

Anyone have any other Not Wrong, Just Different stories?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What's with the Challenge?


[chal-inj] Show IPA noun, verb, -lenged, -leng⋅ing, adjective –noun
1. a call or summons to engage in any contest, as of skill, strength, etc.
2. something that by its nature or character serves as a call to battle, contest, special effort, etc.:

What is it about a challenge?

I read about Scott Bishop's 28 Day Challenge to write a blog post every day for 28 days.  I thought, that's kinda cool and then went on reading about people's lunch and cats on Twitter.

It kept coming up.  I saw how many people were jumping on board. What's really interesting about this movement is Scott started it as a challenge for himself.  To date, 38 have jumped on the crazy train.

What is it about a challenge that gets us out of our LazyBoys and doing crazy crap? Ask Lena,who writes about her current challenge preparing to run a marathon in Dublin.Yes Ireland, not Ohio. She's a cool chic like that.   A few beers with friends and someone does the throw down and now she's training like a freak.
Read about it here:

Challenges get us out of ruts, take us to a new level, teach us about ourselves.

Are you challenging the ones on your team?
Are you challenging the ones you love?
Are you looking for challenges for yourself?

Don't wait for the challenges to come and knock you off the couch, go out and look for

I triple dog dare you. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How I lost my patience and my productivity with one phone call

School is closed again today. God help me. and them.

It started at 5:45am with a 2 hour delay.  I was actually stoked about this because I rolled over and got another hour of sleep. Score.

Then I went to up to make sure "Dude" the 12 year old, was getting in the shower.  He started in with his, "But it's a 2 hour delay!" He gets notifications on his iTouch so he now believes he knows EVERYTHING.
Yes, it is a 2 hour delay and you slept through yours, get your "butt"(changed the language to protect the not so innocent) in the shower! NOW!

Oh yes, we like to start our days with love and kindness so our children feel the warmth and security that surrounds them as they go off to learn, grow and develop. (whatever)

I go downstairs and take deep cleansing breaths and think through my day. Conference calls at 8:30 and 9:00 - Then I'll squeeze in some yoga before more afternoon conference calls, guitar lessons for Dude at 5 and the girl has a cheerleading gig at 7pm.  Nice calm day, some activities to get us out of the house tonight.  Yes, I can feel my blood pressure returning to normal.

Then it happens, just as Dude comes down with long wet hair hanging in his face apologizing for arguing with me and getting his act together, my phone beeps with a message.

I pick it up expecting work stuff but no, there it is screaming at me, mocking me, laughing in my face.


I stare at it in disbelief. Closed, what do they mean closed. COME ON, this is getting ridiculous!

By this time the sleepy headed girl has come downstairs too. I make one announcement, "School is closed".

Dude starts screaming and dancing and doing air guitar like he's won a freakin grammy and as is typical, the girl does the exact opposite and starts to cry, "But I braided my hair last night and now no one will see it!" Yes, the girl has discovered the Olivia Newton John rite of passage.  Ladies, you know the one, braid the hair in little braids while it's wet the night before and the next morning, WOW, wavy rock star hair.  For the record, we do not allow the tight leather pants just yet, she's 8 for God's sake.You have to be at least 12 to get your leather pants in this house.

So, it starts.

Dude rejoicing loudly, the girl crying loudly and I look at my husband and fight back tears.

You see, I work from home. This chaos is now happening in my front lobby of my own office.  What other business in the world, other than the Division of Child Services or the BMV, would allow this chaos in the lobby!

I grab my security blanket, I mean my laptop, and go upstairs to my real office and shut the door. As my patience and my productivity hit an all time low, the muffled sounds of Guns N Roses and Open Season 2 mock me just outside.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Got Bored?

Well I accomplished my one and only goal today.  To be bored.

Today was President's Day. I was off work. My kids were at school.

This was a very timely arrival of awesomeness because on Feb 12th I told my studly husband the only thing I wanted for Valentine's Day was for him to take the kids far away and not to come back until Feb. 17th.

You see, I had hit the wall.

The wall of client expectations, expense reports, laundry, dog hair, cat box litter, dirty backpacks, basement drywall dust, SpongeBob at Vol level 7, incessant rambling about iTouch apps, incessant rambling about anything, being a cranky wife, not running as much as I should, not caring that I'm not running as much as I should, I could keep going but you get it.

First I stayed up til 2am the night before and watched every show I had tivo'd. This ranged from Oprah to the hotness of Rob Lowe and his Brothers and Sisters.  Then when morning came I laid in bed while the man of the house shuffled the kids off to the big yellow bus. Then I stumbled to the couch for some Today Show Olympic action.

I made a HUGE pile of whole wheat pancakes and covered them in real butter and real maple syrup.  I drank tons of spiced coffee. I did vacuum the floor during The Ellen Show commercials and folded one load of laundry just to not feel like a total sloth.

Then I ate a huge plate of chicken friend rice with a glass of wine for lunch.  And then from the complete exhaustion of awesomeness, I napped.

I read from this stack of books and magazines until the kids came home from school.

The most exhilarating day of nothingness I've had since about 1989.

So, because I'm a big fan of goals, I can successfully check this one off the list for today.

Sit on my keester with my fuzzy blanket until I'm completely bored.  (check)

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Top 4 Personal Brand Tips

You can't swing a cat without hitting a book, a blog, an article on the importance of building a personal brand.  I just finished another one yesterday.  I buy it, I get it. So here it is.

I could give you the text book version of me, I look pretty good on paper, many of us do. I love my job, hell that makes me only 20% of the population. I have a husband that loves me, and two healthy kids. AND, I live in a house that makes me smile every single morning when I wake up in it. Should I keep going?  Ok, ok, my parents are alive and love me too. A lot.

I could keep going but you'd either vomit or log off to check your email.

But let's just check the marketing crap at the door for a minute. Let's see if this sounds familiar to some of you. 

That job that I love is hard as hell. My expense reports are always late, my clients demand things that I think are ridiculous and then ask me for a discount for my time. My company does dumb stuff and I have to work around systems that make me want to poke myself in the eye with a fork.

Yes my husband loves me, yet some days he would like to stick me in the eye with a fork because I'm often demanding and unreasonable. And nagging is a competency I've mastered as an art form.

Those kids.  Yea, they're healthy, and smart, and often whiny and unreasonable and just a few hours ago I was standing in a pile of Legos yelling like a freak to pick up this room or someone's gonna die and I don't care who it is!

My house.  Yes, it's freakin' gorgeous and I dreamed of living in a place like this for years.  Yet, there's still a pile of laundry the size of a courthouse and enough dog hair that you could knit sweaters for every child in Alaska and my woodwork is filthy and unless you call ahead my bathroom resembles a Shell station.

Life is hard. Some days harder than I can handle. Some days I can be found in a fetal position sobbing uncontrollably in my closet.

I have to be reminded that what you feed grows.  If I feed the beast that bitches and moans, she becomes unbearable and intolerable. If I remember the gratitude,  for the job, the family, the house, the love, that can also grow.  But let's not walk around pretending like that's easy or we wake up every day with it all figured out. That's a lie.

My brand is built on honesty with a huge dose of humor to get through it all. I'm driving my brand with gratitude and working to manage a little too much sarcasm. Mostly I've got a string tied around my finger trying to remember to ask God. He's brought me all the good stuff and I'm busy trying not to screw it up.

My top 4 personal brand tips.

1. Take stock in who you are and your rock star strengths. Don't build a brand on mediocrity.
2. Be honest with yourself, and about yourself. When you're not honest it looks and smells funky, like those leftovers in the back of the fridge.  They were good at one time but now it's all gone wrong.
3. Daily gratitude for your strengths will help you build and grow. Think it, say it, write it, shout it from the mountain tops when things go well. Little things, big things, all things.
4. Ask God continually if you're headed in the right direction. If he tries to take you on a different path, listen and go, just bring along your sense of humor for the trip.

What are your tips? What's your personal brand?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's Valentine's Day! - No Reservations Required

Thanks to Jo Lynne Valerie award-winning author, I've been invited to participate in Valentine's Day Blog Tour 2010! Please go check out her site!  She's one of my favs and I *heart* her for letting me play her funny Valentine games.

A blog tour you say, what's a blog tour?  I'm glad you asked.  Some of you may have gotten here from my fellow tour mate, author Lorna Suzuki  at Welcome, glad you made it!

For those hard core Random Thoughts fans that check my site hour by hour for the latest and greatest, here's how this works for you.  Once you read my post and "oohh and ahhh" and slap your knee laughing hysterically and call to your significant other, :Honey you have got to read this." , then comment, hit follow and sign up for future posts via email, THEN, and only then you can hit the next blog on the tour.  I'll link to that at the bottom as to not distract you and have you skip my post and miss out on literary greatness.

Nestle in RandomThinkers, (Gaga has her Monsters, I've named you RandomThinkers) It's time to tour the greatness of Valentine's Day, Blog Tour style............


My fondest Valentine memories are sitting at the kitchen table with my mom and dad creating my mail box masterpiece out of a milk carton. (remember those?) Each year we painstakingly worked to outdo, "outglue" and "outcreate" last year's model.  Sometimes we used foil, sometimes those paper lace doilies, and sometimes we glued on those candy hearts. Better to craft with those candy hearts, face it, they taste like Rolaids.

Carefully I would select the right Valentine, from my box of assorted sentiments, that we purchased from the Hooks drug store. The one on the courthouse square. Andrew got the best one because he was my boyfriend. Ruth got the next best because she was my BFF, and on and on until each one had been signed, sealed, and was ready to be delivered to their own milk carton masterpieces.

Never once did I wonder what my parents would be doing for Valentine's Day. Never did I consider that they might be missing out on some romantic dinner with wine and chocolate.   I knew they'd be waiting for me to come barreling off the bus and to dump out my collection of love notes from my milk carton mailbox onto the kitchen table while we sorted and read through each and every note and candy heart. 

Love has many stages.  I want to embrace each one, even this current crazy chaos we're in now.  I'm no dummy, I know my husband wishes I'd greet him at the door (Insert "man camp" fantasy here) on Feb.14th.  But for now, he'll be out picking out the perfect box of Valentine's for the girl to label and send. I'll be juggling a full schedule at work and leave in time to help host the party at school for those runny nosed 2nd graders. Then I'll worry and wonder if the boy will muster the courage to go to the Middle School dance and stand against the wall awkwardly like 6th graders are supposed to do.

In past years, I've made heart shaped hamburgers covered in ketchup. I've colored potato soup a beautiful shade of pink. We've brought out every crystal dish and ate by candle light with toddlers in high chairs oohing and awing at the sight.

And somewhere in the midst of all of this, the hubby and I will rush out to grab the best Hallmark we can find. Only the gold seal is good enough for my hunk of a man. Then while the kids are likely arguing and talking over each other, we'll pass the card across the table, read the note and gaze at each other lovingly, knowing that someday this chaos will quiet and we'll have our alone time again. And maybe, sitting in a quaint candlelit restaurant over a couple of glasses of bubbly, we'll be reminiscing of the 'good ole days' of milk carton mailboxes and pink potato soup.

Hell, who am I kidding, he's still holding out for the man camp fantasy. He's a good dad and many of the moments I've loved him most are watching him with our kids.Watching him paint the girl's nails, fingers and toes when she was a curly headed toddler. Or taking the boy to the latest dude movie and a feast of Taco Bell.  Or sweeping them off to some adventure because he knows I've hit my last nerve and momma's gonna lose it. Or piggy back rides up to bed and them hanging on every Suessical word of The PlacesYou'll Go.

Yes, Valentine's Day is here once again. Being a family means honoring the stages and what they bring. It's not mourning the absence of romance and champagne, but embracing the milk carton mailbox until the next stage can begin. 

So bring your best love this Feb.14th, even if it's pizza from the gas station sprawled in the living room with the latest movie rental.  That's likely the plan for this group of love bugs and we can hardly wait. No reservations required.

(Note: As I finish this post wrapped in my sexiest Hello Kitty blanket, the man of my dreams comes in and says, "What are we having tonight, Casey's Pizza?" My heart melts again, like the day I married him. And off to the gas station he goes to hunt down our dinner. Ahh, that's true love.)

Remember what's next, you comment, you follow, you sign up for email posts, THEN you go onto the next on the tour......

Introducing my tour partner,

Paranormal Haven

 Love, Peace, and Pizza to you all RandomThinkers, I "heart" you. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

5 Steps to Not Lose Your Mind on a Snow Day with Kids

I work from home. Snow days are a real pain in my keester.  Tough to pay the mortgage if you call your clients and say, "I'm so sorry I can't be on that really important conference call I set up 2 months ago because it snowed 8 feet and I'm stuck in my house with these crazy kids."

So, we cope.

I write this post on my 2nd snow day. One about killed me, the other was rockstar good. So now I'm an expert. And because I care, I share.

1. Who's in charge? 
If you don't know the answer to this one you're in trouble. YOU ARE! I know it doesn't feel like it some days. This is no time for your wimpy face. Put on your game face, you are the leader.

2. Prepare yourself. 
Now that you know you're the leader, you've got to do some leader preparation.  You can pick how you do that. Today I got up before the little buggers and did some yoga and meditation. Chanting things like, "I will not beat the children. I will not beat the children".  You pick what works for you, maybe it's a little shot of bourbon in your coffee and a few pages of The Times. Life's about choices. The key is, center yourself. Take charge. Be ready.

3. Plan
Face it, left up to their own devices, they can take out a living room, full fridge, and all the bedrooms in a few short hours if you don't have a plan.  Make a plan with expectations, guidelines, rewards, consequences. Fail to plan and plan to fail as they say.

4. Write down and communicate the plan.
You sound like Charlie Brown's teacher so if you don't write it down you're toast. Burnt toast. This is your legal binding document. Today mine was a checklist of 5 things for each kid. All of them had to be checked off by noon. And without fighting, chaos, or giving me any crap.

5. Rewards
Come on, you're not too old to remember snow days!  These are supposed to be fun. No one wants to spend the day with Sergeant Soggy Snow Pants. Lighten up a little, but still keep control. Throw out some good rewards for completing the plan. There should be some structure, but plenty of SpongeBob, Guitar Hero and junk food mixed in.

Have fun snow mommies! 

(FYI, old pic, we've got WAY more snow than this!)

What's your best snow day plan or snow day disaster?  

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lean into it.

Lean into it. Lean forward, that's it, now take that next little step. It's hard to lean without taking another little step, even if it's a stumble or a shuffle or a baby step. It was still one more step forward.

This has served me well more times then not. Sure, I've busted my *arse* a few times, who hasn't. But at least it was in the name of moving forward.

I remember years ago sitting on my couch writing and thinking, I wonder what this blog thing is. So I leaned forward and googled the word blog and set up my blogger account. Leaning forward.

A few years later, a friend told me about Twitter, I signed up and sent my blog to the world. Leaning forward.

Today thousands of people from all over the world have read my blog. That's just plain cool.

All great things in my life have happened from a few steps that started with a little lean.

I'm not a big fan of the lean back, or worse yet, the lean back and bitch about everyone else, or the "worsetest ever", lean back and blame everyone else for what you don't have.

I'm also not a big fan of the steam roll over everyone in your way.  Everyone in your life is impacted by the steps you take. 

Lean forward, stumble, fall, get back up and take just one more step in the right direction. Forward.

How do you keep leaning forward?  What could you do today that would be just a little lean?

Friday, February 5, 2010


I remember a girl.  She thought she was a woman.  She thought grown up thoughts. She dreamed grown up dreams and thought she had it all figured out.

Then she became the woman she thought she already was.

The woman looks back on the girl with love and kindness and longing and she smiles at her and says, it's ok, you didn't know.

You didn't know that the dreams and visions would become struggles and frustrations and that weddings soon become marriages and pregnant bellies and baby showers become families and promotions become big mortgages.  It's ok.  It's just a new day.

The woman thanks her for the dreams and wipes her tear and tells her it will be ok. The girl looks so very very young standing beside the woman. They stand together, needing each other.

The woman stands up tall and takes on the struggles of the day with the young girl in her heart and in her soul, reminding her, it will be ok.