Monthly Archives: October 2012

Notes on Love

Love relationships require many different things to thrive and grow. I’ve been making a list over the course of the last few weeks and here’s what I’ve come up with thus far:

Love is a quiet understanding, a mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving.

Love settles for less than perfection and allows for human failings.

Love is and should be stronger than anger.

Love is the day-in and day-out recitation of irritations, compromises, disappointments, victories and working toward common goals.

Love should cause you to look for the best in people and ignore the worst.

Love requires friendship as the base.

Love requires that we cherish that person the same or better than our closest friends.

Love helps people work through their past so they can have a future.

Love is not possessive. When we love someone we want them to be loved by everyone.

Love is about wanting happiness for the person you love – and not about seeking happiness for yourself.

Love should be enjoyed!

Have a great day!

Read if you have (or will have) a teenager.

Let me preface this post with a confession; I was a tough teenager.  Yes, I made it through, became an honor student, worked my way through undergrad, law school and actually have a respectable career and a decent view of the world.  But, I was a tough teenager.  I don’t want my kids to suffer the same hardships getting to where they are going (and frankly, I don’t want to deal with the same stuff my poor mother did!).

I know that growing up involves mistakes and mistakes often require consequences.  I have been known to implement consequences and I have been known to”forget” to follow through on consequences.

Recently, I had to give one of my sons a consequence — and it was difficult.  He thinks he is being singled out in our family (he is not) and he feels alone.  It breaks my heart.

However, I know how important it is to follow through and show him how strongly I feel about his conduct.  He needs to regain my trust and my sense that he “gets” what I am saying and then, the hardest part … he needs to act on what I am saying.

I told him that trust is naturally there until broken.  It then takes work to rebuild that trust.  That is a hard concept for kids.  Kids (and adults!) often develop their own “truth.”  Their “truth” is  not always the real “truth.”

I am going to take him out later tonight for hot cocoa and a trip to the bookstore.  We need to reset.  He’s been sullen ever since his consequence and he knows this is serious in my mind.  Honestly, I think his sullenness is coming from his very real disappointment in his own behavior.  I’m thankful for that.

Here’s what I am thinking of saying to him:

1. I love you – no matter how frustrated you think I am or you are with me … I love you.

2. You, and you alone, are responsible for your behavior.

3. You will learn from experience but you have to remember that those experiences are not deletable.  They will stick with you and have lasting consequences.

4. Embrace who you are but remember that most people are looking at the outside.  At your actions.  You may have good words and thoughts but what your feet (and body!) do will speak the loudest.

5. Find your internal voice.  You know what is right and wrong.  Access that voice before you act.  And if you happen to act before you listen.  Acknowledge what you’ve done and go back and listen to your voice again … you’ll hear it.

I have faith in him.  He is getting caught up in being a teenager.  I know it’s difficult.  I won’t let him slip too far but I have to let him make some of his own mistakes.  (deep motherhood sigh).

Have a good day.

We “survived” Sunday’s volunteer activity.

Yesterday, the boys and I helped clean up after a haunted house that was held at school the night before.  They were less than thrilled that I had signed us up for this project – so much so that you’ve never seen two active boys move so slowly to get into the car to go somewhere.  Yet, interestingly, (and as I expected) once we were done, they realized that it wasn’t that bad and had we not shown up, it would have taken the rest of the volunteers much longer to complete the job.

The same thing happens on Thanksgiving when we volunteer to serve food to the homeless.  Every year I hear the same thing, “How long are we going to be there?”  “Are we going to miss the football game?”   Yet, once we are done and in the car going to the family dinner, I hear how fantastic the experience was.  They talk about specific people or children they served and they realize that their efforts are counted.

My daughter did her 8th grade speech on paying it forward.  The apple doesn’t fall from the tree!  She talked about the obvious:  paying-it-forward and volunteering boosts self-esteem and self-confidence and, although it is about helping others, it really does help you as well.

We all are so busy that it is difficult to imagine finding time to volunteer.  But, just a few hours a month makes a positive impact.  Or, as we like to do in our house, you can pay-it-forward on a daily basis when you are out there in the world.  For example, each day I make a point of doing something for someone – often a stranger.  Usually, it’s buying coffee or food at a drive up for the person behind me.  Other times, I will  take someone’s grocery cart in to the store so they don’t have to run it back in.  One of my favorites is to find out what the local food shelf is short for that week/day and then when I am at the grocery store (which is almost every day lately!) I will buy exactly what they need and then simply drop it off.

It doesn’t take much time and eventually “helping” will become a habit (one of my good habits as opposed to all of my not-so-good habits!).  So, I encourage you to keep your eyes open (especially with your kids, so they learn too) and you will see all sorts of things you can do for other people.  Hopefully, it will become habit-forming for you, for your kids and for those you help!

Have a great start to your week!

I talked to a lot of strangers yesterday …

Yesterday, I talked to a lot of strangers.  It was a full (or almost full) moon and the best in people come out at that time!  My daughter (and boys) are disgusted and embarrassed by this habit.  I learn so many interesting things by talking to total strangers and I, in turn, can talk about anything I want (without using names!).  I think it’s fantastic!

Here are a few of my stranger conversations yesterday:

I met a woman (at the nail salon … yes, treated myself yesterday!) who started chatting with me about her children and grandchildren. They all live in Denver and she lives here.  I told her that I fully intend to ensure that my children live in my same state when they have children (yea, I know … no control over that one).  She laughed!  She said she loved having them far away because it allowed her to party with her friends whenever she wanted without having to worry about them needing her to babysit.  Too funny!  She was 79 years old.  I want to party when I am 79 too!

I met another woman at the grocery store who asked me if I was married.  I said no (for a split second, I wondered if she was going to ask me out).  She told me that she had just gotten married and she is trying to share one piece of advice she got (on her wedding day) with everyone she knows (and I guess with strangers too).  That advice is to be nice.  No matter what.  No eye rolling.  No short temper or shortness in our voices.  No yelling.  Be nice even when you are mad.  She wished she and her first husband had been “nice” to one another because she thinks anything can be worked out when you are nice.  Wow.

Lastly, I met a guy at the health club.  He wanted to use the machine I was using and, of course, we struck up a conversation.  We talked about getting up and getting to the club early.  He said he used to weigh 100 pounds more than he does now.  He said that one day he woke up and decided to change his life.  He exercised, watched what he ate and tried to find a way to make himself happy other than eating.  It took him a year.  I congratulated him! I told him about the blog and taking a year to do it.  He said, anyone can transform their life in a year.  Amazing.

Do something transformative today!

The importance of being acknowledged …

I have been thinking about how we acknowledge one another. I used to think that I didn’t need acknowledgement – I wasn’t doing things to be acknowledged, I was doing them because they were the right thing to do. Yet, lately I’ve realized that there is so much to that feeling of being acknowledged (maybe not for what we do but for who we are) that it’s critical to our existence. The truth is that we need to be acknowledged as a person, partner and parent and it is OK to admit that we want to be acknowledged!

I read an article recently that reminded me of the following: Remember when the Wizard of Oz gives the Scarecrow his brains, the Tin Man his heart and the Lion his courage? Think about what he was doing. The Wizard wasn’t actually giving them anything. All he really did was acknowledge them for what they already possess … for who they are! That’s what I’m talking about (it took me until age 50 to get that meaning out of the Wizard of Oz???!!!)!

Acknowledgement is about being real, letting go of your own ego and delivering more than just a compliment. It is about acknowledging someone in such a way that they feel it in their bones. It’s about the other person hearing the honesty in your voice or through your eyes. There are many types of acknowledgement: a simple “Thank you,” a smile, a statement like,”I love who you are” … the list goes on.

Acknowledgement can be with someone you have known for a lifetime or just met (like the genuine thank you to the cashier at the grocery store). It can be the person you are married to or just dating. It can be your kids, your friends and your family. We create a world full of empowered people when we acknowledge the gifts that others bring to the table. It costs nothing to acknowledge people. It is the easiest thing to do, yet, we really don’t do it enough.

I am going to practice delivering more acknowledgements and as genuinely as I can. I need to thank my kids for really working on practicing what I preach … even when they are not super sure about it! I need to thank my friends who really do just love me for all my faults. And, I need to acknowledge and thank my father for giving me life, guidance, real love and just for being there.

Acknowledge someone today …. and be with those who acknowledge you. I promise it will feel fantastic!

If I had the $ for all the things my kids have lost …

What the heck is it with my kids losing things?  I gotta admit, this has been a high $ week for lost items.  Not just small items, big items.  The sort of things that you wouldn’t think would get “lost.”  Moreover, why is it that when they lose stuff we am looking for it?  And, to add insult to injury, after bantering with my kids about looking everywhere before I have to come and help look (and of course I hear, “I’ve looked there!”), I go right to the place I told them to look and its there!

Here’s what we’ve lost just in the last 48 hours:  A sweatshirt, sweatpants, gym shorts (what the heck was he wearing if he didn’t have any of this?), tennis shoes (come on now … $90 tennis shoes????), an iPod, pair of soccer sandals, and my sanity.  I’ve got to come up with a plan because losing items and losing my cool is not working well.

Here’s one problem: I am a bit organized.  Everything is in its place, in my house, in my office (to my assistant – no laughing!), really, in my life.  So, it’s frustrating when my kids don’t have “places” for their things.  Sadly, I am the other problem.   I am constantly picking up after them, because I can’t stand the clutter and then they never learn to stay organized themselves.

So, yesterday, in my desire to get all the laundry done, I grabbed what I thought were dirty clothes in my son’s room and threw them in the wash.  HORRORS!  His iPod was in his pants pocket (or so he thought).  Halfway through the washer cycle we are taking sopping wet clothes out of the machine to find it.  It wasn’t there.  Now it really is lost, the laundry room is wet and I am cranky.

So, at dinner we sat down and really thought about where it could be.  I suggested a number of places, including the couch (where he spends a lot of time).  Nope, not there, he says.  I walk down to the couch, move one pillow and there it is.  Seriously?  Does this happen to you?

I think we are going to have a new sheriff in town here.  One who charges for the replacement of lost items and one who charges when she is able to find a “lost” item that is right in front of their faces.  I’m going to be RICH!!!

Have a great start to your weekend!

Chance (or not so chance) encounters can change your life.

I have been a bit introspective lately.  I am embarking on a new path and it has caused me to think on a different level.  To pay attention more.  To be more open to chance experiences.  It’s all good!

So yesterday, I swung by the grocery store (I am always at some grocery store!).  This one I don’t visit as much.  I walked directly to the hot food area.  I wanted something quick and easy for dinner.  The boys were in the car and we needed to pick up my daughter, so I didn’t have much time.

I started to get some food when a young girl came over to me and said, “I like your coat.”  I looked down to see this cute, dark-haired girl.  She quickly told me I looked like her mom from the back and she thought she would come over and see what I looked like “on the other side.”  Her dad proceeded to come over and talk with us.   He scooted her over to get some mac and cheese and then told me what happened.

His wife had died earlier this year.  She was my age, about the same height, dark  hair and had a gray coat similar to mine.  He saw the back of me before his daughter did and wondered if she would notice.  She apparently did quite quickly, which was why she ran over to where I was before he could stop her.  I felt like all the breath had been knocked out of me.

I told him how sorry I was and he simply nodded his head.  I felt so deeply sad.  She came back with her food and we chatted for a minute.  She asked whether I had kids.  I told her about them.  She is an only child.  She thought they sounded cool (I guess they are pretty cool!).  We joked about boys, etc.  It was cute.

We talked about things we had in common, our favorite haunts and then we decided it was time to go.  I forgot most of what I went to the store to get, although I did get food to feed my hungry mob!  I have a strong feeling that I will see them again.  Some things in life are just meant to be.

Here’s to hoping you have a cool chance encounter today!