Today is the Day to make a Memory

Last night I was sharing a story with a friend. It is a story I have told over and over in the last 30-plus years but one I have not related here. In 1979 or 1980 my dad and I cut down an oak tree. I wish I could tell you more about the tree, but I really don’t remember. What I vividly remember is loading the logs onto a trailer pulled by my family red belly ford tractor and hauling the tree to the sawmill. The sawmill was run by an old man, Mr. Tuttle, who walked with the benefit of a cane.

I can not recall how many days we worked with Mr. Tuttle, it may have only been one but we worked. It was hard manual labor. However, when we were done we had a stack of beautiful oak lumber. And an idea for what I wanted it to become. Being a teenager, I had no concept of time and wanted to hurry the process and begin to build right away. However, my older and wiser father said we should stack the wood and let it air dry.

It was a test of my patience. I sketched and drew. I talked about my project and anxiously checked on the wood and its progress. Until one day when my dad told me it was time – Time to take the wood to be kiln-dried. Again my patience we tested.

After what seemed an eternity, we were ready to begin building. We took my idea and my sketch and turned it in to a cabinet. If you visit my house today, it sits prominently in my living room. I’d like to say that my original drawings still exist. And perhaps they do in some random box or among some childhood papers. Nonetheless, I am relatively certain the cabinet we fashioned from the wood reflects my original idea.

 

The Cabinet

You would think I might have learned a lesson in patience from this adventure. But I did not.

What I always thought I learned from this project was the ability to take an idea and add in hard work to create a finished product. But today, looking back, I know the real lesson I learned is that you can never over-estimate how important the time you spend with someone will be.

I believe I love the cabinet, but the reality is that I love the memory of building it with my dad. What memories are you making today? And who are you making them with?

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Living like a Dog

If you know anything at about me, you probably know I love dogs. I have loved dogs since my very first encounter with them. There are so many things I love about them – not the least of which is their innate ability to live with abandon! A dog will throw everything they have into chasing a ball, or their own tail. They are eager to please and quick to forgive.

This week one of mine was sick. Long story short, he had eaten something he shouldn’t (a sock). However as soon as he eliminated the source of his sickness, he immediately began to live life to its fullest. It was as if he had no recollection of the days he spent lethargic and ill.

Too often we spend our time thinking and letting our brain churn on things that are past. We rethink and rehash what we did or perhaps what someone did or said that affected us. When the reality is we are wasting time and energy.

Try living your life with abandon! Let the past be in the past and focus on the future.

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Loosen the Grip of Stress

Where are my words?

Virtually every day when I sit before a blank screen and start to write, I think ‘Who am I to assume that I can write anything positive or inspirational to help someone else’. Most days I can remind myself that I am not writing to anyone but me. My positive blogging project didn’t start because I was looking to change someone else. It stared as a way to remind myself to be positive and as encouragement to me! Nevertheless, if someone reading can take a positive and helpful message from what I write, the more the better!

This weekend I seem to have spent a lot of time talking about stress. Maybe it was something on my mind or maybe it is something that needs to be on my mind.

Caught up in Stressful Living

I spoke with a dear friend who shared that his doctor has told him he MUST reduce the stress in his life. His life depends on it. Yet, he is having trouble making the choices that extract him from the stresses.

There are lots of reasons we get stressed. Stressors are all around us!   At work, At home, On the road and especially (for me anyway) in public places when dealing with other people. Stress is EVERYWHERE! We may feel stress because of poor communication, too much work and everyday hassles like standing in line or driving down the highway.

Here are some EMERGENCY stress stoppers to help us deal with stress on the spot.

Try ‘em! And remember, you may need different stress stoppers for different situations and sometimes it helps to combine them.

  • Count to 10 before you speak.
  • Take three to five deep breaths.
  • Walk away from the stressful situation, and say you’ll handle it later.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Eat right and exercise
  • Set realistic goals
  • Handle important tasks first and eliminate unessential tasks
  • Take a break and meditate to slow down “mind-racing”
  • Reduce the urge to be “perfect”
  • Be flexible
  • Avoid excessive competition
  • Reduce criticism of yourself and others
  • Don’t stress when expectations are not met
  • Manage your anger
  • Push away negativity of any kind
  • Give yourself “me” time
  • Choose to keep quiet when you feel a  negative reaction
  • Be cheerful, it deflates others stress and anxiety
  • Silence your phone at night
  • Utilize relaxation techniques; Yoga, Meditation, Breathing, etc.
  • Laugh and smile more often
  • Smell a rose, hug a loved one or smile at your neighbor.
  • And most importantly,

Remember you can only change yourself

 

 

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Shake it off

Every so often the words of others become so burdensome in our lives that we can hardly move forward. The words! We hear the words of our friends as they comment on our latest adventure. The words! We hear parental words telling us no one will every like ‘that attitude’. The words! We hear teachers from the 70’s still telling us we’ll never succeed at math. The words! Words we repeat over and over in our minds. The words!

Eventually the words become so taxing we are unable to hear our own voice. We can no longer hear our own thoughts. We can no longer drown out the words! The words of others!

Are you letting other people’s words take over your thoughts? Are you letting your thoughts ruin your life?

STOP IT!

Is it easy nope! It’s hard. It is hard to stop hearing the words of criticism that have been implanted in our head. I wrote a post Everyone’s a Critic that has some wonderful tips for dealing with criticism.

Shake off the words of others. Let them go. Redefine who you are and where you wish to go. Then go for it!

Be who you are without being encumbered by ‘the words’. You’ll be happier and will your life will be better.

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Forgiveness is not an Occasional Act

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” ~~ Martin Luther King

We have all heard it said that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. We know that holding on to past anger and resentment eats away at out own happiness. Yet, we still battle with letting it go.

Why is it so easy to hold a grudge?

When you’re hurt by someone you love and trust, you might become angry, sad or confused. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root.

What are the benefits to you for forgiving someone?

Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for compassion, kindness and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse

How do you stop holding a grudge and forgive?? (this is the hard one for me)

1. Acknowledge the problem. Figure out what it is that’s causing you to hold a grudge. You have to know what the problem is in order to solve it.

2. Share your feelings. A grudge can form when an issue isn’t fully confronted. Without being judgmental about yourself or another, clarify your feelings on the situation. Communicate with the other person about the issue. Whether you work it out on your own or involved the other person, you may feel more relieved by releasing that build up.

3. Accept what is. Choose to create your own healing, with or without an apology. Don’t wait for the person you are upset with to come around.

5. Don’t dwell on it. Once you have decided to move on, keep on moving.

6. Let it go. Letting go allows room for peace and happiness..

7. Forgive. Of course forgiving does not mean you will forget the issue. Forgiving isn’t the easiest to do especially when you’ve endured a lot of hurt and pain, but it’s the only way to truly let go and have peace.

 

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You’re in Charge

When I was a young adult and would go to my farther for advice, he would always end the conversation with ‘You’re in Charge’. Naturally, I believed he was talking about how much I should put in retirement, or if I should trade vehicles, or change jobs. Now that I am much older, I realize that his statement holds true for just about everything in life.

We ARE in charge!

We are in charge of our emotions; our successes and our failures. We are in charge of who we allow to upset us or how we derive joy.  No one controls our destiny but us!

What will you embrace today?

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