Best vacation reply? Or not?

The dilemma of going on vacation — coming back from vacation to an inbox full of emails. I know how many emails I get on a daily basis, and multiply that by the number of days away makes for a long time to catch up when you return. I hate to think about all the emails I will have when I return from vacation before I go on vacation.

Daimler has this policy that I found after reading this article “The Fundamental Unfairness of the Vacation Auto Reply” for when their employees go on vacation:

“The car and truck maker has implemented a new program that allows employees to set their email software to automatically delete incoming emails while they are on vacation.

When an email is sent, the program, which is called “Mail on Holiday,” issues a reply to the sender that the person is out of the office and that the email will be deleted, while also offering the contact information of another employee for pressing matters.”

That would be amazing. What baffles me a bit though is it says offering contact information of another employee for pressing matters. I am a bit of a customer service buff. So is that like writing to a store that happens to be closed and their auto reply is to have you send them an email during the hours they are open? What is the person who emailed the individual on vacation supposed to do if they do not have a pressing matter? Make a reminder for themselves to contact them again a week later? Feels like it would be amazing for the individual on vacation, but not such great service for the person who needs their help.

Separate from needing help, what about organization emails that share pertinent information? Those I assume would get deleted as well? That does not make sense to me either. Part of sending a mass message like that is to inform a large group of people at one time. The sender assumes the recipient will read the information and consume it at their convenience. It is up to the recipient to retain that information, but if you were on vacation and had “Mail on Holiday” you might miss out on necessary information to do your job.

What do you think?

Random Recipe: Flourless Pumpkin Muffins with Mini Chocolate Chips

It is that time of year again. I loath the thought of putting away my flip-flops, and yet I savor the idea of all the pumpkin recipes I want to make in the coming weeks. That and the occasional Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. As you can see — I love pumpkin in the fall. If I have to give up my flip-flops, pumpkin might be the only thing to sway me.

These muffins are kind of dense because they do not have flour and instead have oats, making them a bit heavy. The pumpkin flavor is good, but you have to decide if flavor/texture/weight is more important than having a healthy-good-for-you option. You pick which is more important to you, but if you want a good flavored, healthy option then this is a recipe you should try.

Flourless Pumpkin Muffins w/Mini Chocolate Chips

Ingredients (for 12 muffins)

2 and 1/4 cup oats
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons almond butter
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips (we used minis)


  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and then line a muffin tin for 12 muffins.
  2. Place of all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips into a blender or a food processor and blend for about 30 seconds, or until smooth.
  3. Gently stir the chocolate chips into the batter. Pour the batter equally into the muffin tin. Bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before shoving them in your mouth.

Moved by Greatness

You get a chill that runs up your arm. You are inspired to workout and challenge yourself after hearing about someone who has to break through extreme physical boundaries. The words in a speech or talk leave you pondering your life and what changes you can make. What do they each have in common? Greatness that moves you to be, do, and live better.

I love the idea of greatness. Whatever part of our life where we can encourage, demand, and honor greatness. It is something I look for in others. What are they doing in their life to raise their game? What are they doing to raise the game of others? A second day in a row I am sharing a Daily Om that made me think about life. This particular email titled “The Greatness in Others” made me think about how often we forget that it is already within us:

“We are all moved by greatness when we see it, and although the experience is to some degree subjective, we know the feeling of it. When we encounter it, it is as if something in us stirs, awakens, and comes forth to meet what was inside us all along.”

I want to always be awake and aware for those moments when I find greatness deep inside. The question is, what do we do when we find it? How do we bring it out in others? I hope to always be around people who inspire greatness in themselves and those that they are around. It keeps life real, interesting, and allows us to grow.

Who has inspired greatness in your life?

Grace at its core

I have always loved the word grace. There is something about it that is so simple and yet makes my mind ponder and soak up all that it really means. Grace is a word that can have so many words to describe it and in some ways that makes it a vast and complex word and in other ways it makes it so simple. I know a lot of individuals that feel that grace is something they have to constantly track down as it ebbs and flows in their life. I have felt that way too.

Often when I think of grace, I think of poise. I am not musically inclined (yes, do not ask me to sing for you), and I have two left feet, and I am incredibly uncoordinated. Thus, I have never felt very graceful. Over time when I went from keeping my voice inside to spewing my mind and thoughts, to being incredibly direct, at times means that I struggle with how graceful I am. It means that sometimes I am still learning how to stay direct, speak my mind, and share my voice while also trying to be gracious or graceful in my delivery. Not at all an easy task.

I was reminded of my continued interest in grace while recently reading a Daily Om newsletter on the topic of grace titled: “Living a Life of Grace.” This line specifically stood out to me:

“Grace is the state we are in when we are doing nothing but just being who we are.”

At its core grace means we are being true to ourselves, no filters. So maybe that means I should just be me and think less about my grace. What do you think?

She talked for 5 hours straight

Somehow every time I come back from a trip I have annoying airplane stories. For my flights to/from Maui I think the worst was the woman sitting directly behind us on our way to Maui who literally (I am not exaggerating in the least) talked for the entire flight. How the poor woman sitting next to her made it through the flight I will never know. Chris kept offering me his noise canceling headphones but I do not think I should have to block it all out. Rather I think that individuals need to have more self-awareness! Especially when you have a high-pitched voice.

I did tell Chris that he can NEVER tell me I talk too much. I do not think I could ever talk for that long!

The next story has nothing to do with my trip but was an article I read last week about a man on a Portland bound Jet Blue flight that was sleeping and woke up and began peeing on neighboring passengers and their belongings. What, what, what? What is wrong with people these days? What has happened to the art of traveling, the luxury, and the excitement? We no longer seem to care about what is happening around us.

I definitely think a lot before traveling these days. What will my TSA experience be like? What will my overall travel experience be like, and how will the other passengers around me act? A colleague of mine’s spouse is a flight attendant, and they share horrifying stories about the things that people do on airplanes. We need to elevate our travel experiences both for ourselves and those around us.