I was thinking recently how so often in life we act like victims. We want everyone to wallow in what we do not have, what transgressions have hit our days – the “poor me” mantra. Think about it, how many times do you think “poor me” and want to tell others so they can potentially get on board with your poopy and negative day? How is that helpful?
There are a lot of things I could share about my life that folks would think “wow how do you do it?” I lost my parents when I was 16 (mom) and 21 (dad) and that has meant that a lot of my life has been parentless. You could call me an orphan. I do not have a large extended family. I have a sister and brother, and of course my husband’s family, but as families go mine is small. I could look at that and say “poor me.” Or, I could look at that and think this is my life, this is the hand I was dealt, and how am I going to handle it? As evident in my blog post: Suck the life out of your day, I believe that whatever hand you are dealt, deal with it, and live it to the fullest.
Yes, I think make the most out of what you are handed. Sometimes we take the heat in our home life. Say your spouse is in a phase at work where they have to work crazy hours, so you take the slack at home, making sure your house is stays clean, things are fixed, food is purchased so that the other spouse does not have to think about those day-to-day tasks. The scale might later shift to the other spouse and the tides shift and the roles change. To me that is part of the ebb and flow of life.
Maybe it is a work environment that you do not like, or does not feel right. Sometimes we have to be patient and wait out the tough times and know that sometimes things are happening under the surface. Sort of like how my spring flowers have been growing these past months and last week I saw their stems poke out of the earth, and yesterday I even found a few had bloomed. Sometimes all the trying and tough times lead to a time of growth and color.
Can you look within yourself? Do you act like a victim? Or, do you divert such conversations to ones that are positive, helpful, and meaningful, rather than hoping folks will side with a victim mentality and go there with you? What do you think?
I cannot remember if I was in high school or college, but over my Christmas break (which was usually a few weeks to a month) I would go home to Indiana and work in a flower shop. Now I was not a talented designer or florist, I rung up orders, cleaned the thorns off roses, unpacked flowers, made bows for poinsettias, and dusted the plants (yes plants needed dusting and spraying so they would be ready for funerals). Since I worked around Christmas time, there were quite a few individuals and families that ordered wreaths and flowers for their loved ones at cemeteries. It was an interesting time. Flowers for weddings, funerals, holiday parties, Christmas wreaths, poinsettias for offices and homes, flowers for significant others. It was fun to watch all ways that flowers were shared.
I only worked there a few Decembers, but I enjoyed my time. The couple that owned the business were interesting. The other florists had stories of their own, but I loved how the wife/florist would be able to ask questions to those purchasing flowers to somehow get them to talk. She was a quiet woman but somehow in asking what they wanted she would get a story. I would answer the phone, often FTD orders, and hear a story for why the individual was sending flowers across the country or the world. I always encouraged a card for someone to share their story, their thoughts, and feelings. What an interesting business to be in!
Today I love having fresh-cut flowers in my home. There is something luxurious about fresh-cut flowers, and while I have to be careful of which flowers I have in the house (due to Chris’ allergies) I find that many of the ones I love work out well with his nose. Fresh cut hydrangeas, calla lilies, or tulips are on the top of my list. Last week I found that all my outdoor spring flowers were coming up. A few crocuses have even bloomed. I know it is only early March, but it is so exciting to know that Spring is on its way with green stems pushing out above the soil. My large hydrangea bush has large green buds at the tips of the branches.
It is the little things right? The things we get to look forward to each day. I love remembering all those individuals I connected with over a decade ago as they selected their flowers by look, smell, or meaning. A flower can bring a smile to the face.
Have you ever thought about how words matter? Writing is my world. Yes, I have other strengths and focuses, but at the end of the day, if I could do what I wanted it would be to write, play on the potter’s wheel, bring out a blow torch and do encaustic paintings, oh the list goes on and always tends to involve creative outputs. Words, though, dictate so much. You can provide a visual explanation of art through a painting, but to me words can bluntly or eloquently tell folks what you really think. They matter. They change emotions, moods, and communicate a variety of informative details.
Words alone do nothing. They have to be interspersed with tone, intention, care, and purpose. Without the emotion and care words have meaning but they stand alone. Sometimes even with the best intentions, how words are communicated can turn individuals away, make them feel guarded, alone, separate. With the best intentions and carefully crafted, words can make individuals feel included, respected, and valued. Words matter.
I am passionate about the selection of words, their meaning, and their intent. I think about it for almost every email I draft, every communication I write — whether for work, or among friends. I wonder, though, do we all think about our words and their effects on those around us? Do we write to make others feel inspired, engaged, and excited about what they are reading? Sometimes. Other times our words fall on deaf ears because we do not communicate well. We miss moments and opportunities to have a direct connection with our reader.
Yes, words matter. Think about that as you draft that next email, communication, blog post, Facebook post, whatever vehicle you use to share your ideas. You might find, as you focus on the words, you receive a different response from your reader.
I was taking a hot salt bath the other day, and closed my eyes and relaxed. Allowing myself to not think about the endless chatter happening in my head, I just soaked and, for the first time in a while, breathed. As I lay in the steaming hot water (I like it scalding) I realized it had been a long time since I had sat quietly and just noticed my own breathing. Yes, far too long. We should be taking moments each day to stop, be quiet, and notice the rhythm of our thoughts.
Things have felt a bit stressful lately, and then I realized there are 2 days left of February. How is that possible? Somehow throughout our crazy ass days life just keeps going on. The question I ask myself is: is it all worth it? Are we enjoying ourselves? Are we getting enough sleep, downtime, and moments (or hours) to be playful? Or is the grind dragging you down? I was feeling uninspired, and that there just is not enough time in the day. And then…
I watched Jimmy Fallon. I was a fan of his show before, and I love that he is now taking over The Tonight Show. He is clever, ingenuous, creative, and not afraid to do anything. You might be thinking: “what does Jimmy Fallon have to do with getting out of the funk?” I will explain. We were watching Jimmy interview and continuously laugh his ass off with Justin Timberlake, and I was transfixed. They were hilarious. They had so much fun, were playing off each other, and it was never in a way of one-upping the other, it was a complete partnership of fun, creative banter, and trying to make the other laugh. We could not stop laughing. I WANT THAT. I want to bring more of that into my life.
While I am not hosting The Tonight Show, I am pondering what I can do in my own life to let go of the funk, be more playful, fun to be around, creative, and try to make others laugh. Life is too short without laughing so hard you cry.
I spent a few summers in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan. I loved the sand dunes, and the wide shores of Lake Michigan. It felt almost like an ocean, as the lake stretched out so far you could not see the other side. Some days the waves were as high as the waves of the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean. I have not been back since 2000, but I still have great memories, and the nostalgia has not waned in the least. I often talk to Chris about taking a week in the summer and going up to Northern Michigan, playing in the sand dunes, and living the leisurely life of the beach on Lake Michigan. I have quite a few fun memories of sand dogging, trekking down the sandy peaks to launch into the lake at high speeds. Summers of cherry waffle chip ice cream, and amazing food (the bread was to die for, I have pictures to prove that I ate plenty of bread).
So when I saw our crazy, snowy winter make an avalanche of snow on the Upper Peninsula, I was in awe. These are the shores that I swam, and ran down the sand dunes, and to think of the crazy amounts of snow and ice that have pummeled the sandy shores. It made me want to go and play in the snow and ice as I did in the sandy, beach dunes (well sort of, as I am sure it is so damn cold). I think these nature created ice caves are simply amazing, and how often do they happen? How often does nature have a unique way to keep our mouths agape at the wonder in front of us? Be sure to click the above link to take a look.
If you have never had the opportunity to explore the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Northern Michigan, you will want to put it on your bucket list. It is one of the most beautiful, relaxing, slow-your-life down places in the country. You might not have cell phone coverage, so you will have to check out of your smart phone habits, enjoy your family, the fresh air, and sand coming out your pores, in your car, and in your bed. It is the summer life in Northern Michigan. Can you tell I am addicted?