Be grateful, not entitled.

Entitlement. Feeling worthy. I think of both ideas often. Of course we all (admit it, you do) judge others when we look at choices they make and think “well, they sure act entitled.” Maybe they are and should feel that way. We most likely judge because we think maybe we are not worthy of what they received. “Why did they get so lucky? How did I not?” Assumptions are made by many that someone is or is not deserving of getting things, especially if they think they did not have to work for them.

Just like my dad used to always tell me: “Money does not grow on trees.” He was right, and I think the same about entitlement. Most things in life are not easy. Most things require work. Often we see people take the easy way out, and then take credit for it. You know it has happened to you. A colleague I worked with a few years ago mentioned a project he worked on recently with another individual — she did nothing to help him on the project and took all the credit. What made her do that? Did she feel entitled to do so?

Seth Godin recently posted a blog on entitlement and worthiness that resonated with me. I love this idea:

“When you receive something you feel entitled to, something expected, that you believe you’ve earned, it’s not worth much. And when you don’t receive it, you’re furious. After all, it’s yours. Already yours. And you didn’t get it. Whether you’re wearing a hobo costume or showing up as a surgeon after years of medical school, entitlement guarantees that you won’t get what you need.”

He has a good point. We need to do work that we care about and feel worthy regardless of whether we get what we expect and regardless of whether others get what we think is everything without having to work for it. And…you know what? Sometimes life is not fair.

I want to teach my son that you have to work for things in life. When they are given to you, be grateful, but not entitled. Know when something is earned from your hard work and when something is handed to you. Do not take anything for granted.

Write: Let it trickle then flood

Write, write, write. I continue to find books, articles, and blogs that discuss creativity and the urgent need for so many individuals to write. I am always instantly enamored with reading more on this topic. Writing to me is the way that I make sense of the world. There are always so many ideas happening inside my head that often writing them down allows me to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

A recent article (it is long but worth the read) shares many ideas from well-known authors called “Great Artists Write” by Paul Jun says:

“It helps us not only gain new ideas, but also articulate them. It untangles the messiness in our lives and allows for clearer thinking.”

and later he says:

“The psychological benefits are like the slow and steady benefits of exercising. You may not see the gains yet, but the transformation is happening underneath: dots are being connected, ideas are crystallizing, and feelings are not merely passing through but rather examined and questioned.”

There are many times each week when I sit down to write a blog, or endeavor on a piece for work where I have no idea what to write. Usually as I allow my thoughts to open up the words come out, sometimes in a trickle, and sometimes with a flood of words. That does not mean that every piece that comes out is ever seen by anyone else — plenty stays on my computer — but I know when my fingers are ready to go and the words come forth.

If you write and want to feel inspired, are curious what writing could add to your life, or are just trying to process and resolve a jumble of ideas in your mind take some time out to pick up a pen and paper, or your computer and let the ideas make themselves evident. You never know what you might learn.

Haters gonna hate.

Of course being 7.5 months pregnant I think often about how I want to raise my son. A few weeks ago we were out to breakfast and saw a mom pick up their child and then watched as the child began to smack, hit, and just go crazy on the mom. I was shocked. Of course I said to Chris “Our child will never act like that.” And — I meant it. First of all, if my kid acts out I will take them outside. I do not care if it is rainy or beautiful out, I would want to take them out of the situation and discuss further. It might even mean making the choice to leave the restaurant. There is absolutely no reason to watch a child loose control and beat the crap out of his mom. Something is not right in that scenario. Those of you who are already parents think I might live in a dream world, but let me tell you, my father might have scared the crap out of me, but I knew how to behave.

So that little rant was about the kids misbehaving, but what about parents? I just read an article about a dad who was mocked for his son loving a custom play kitchen. Now, I will tell you I have not discussed this with Chris, and so he might not agree with me — but I would love for my son to have a play kitchen. Why you might ask? Chris is the chef in our family and he is a damn good one. He does not look at it as the wife’s job. He looks at it as art. He loves his time in the kitchen and from the taste of a dish, to trying something different, right down to how he displays the final product on a plate. Now that does not mean there are nights that it does not feel laborious to him, but he loves his kitchen and I stay out of the way. Why would I do anything to keep my son away from that? Why would he spend his childhood watching his father in the kitchen (and hopefully interested enough to want to join him) and then tell him he cannot have his own play kitchen?

What has this world come to? Cooking is an art and it is not just for women. If I was the one in the kitchen we would eat like crap — just ask Chris. I have no patience, I cannot time things right, and really have no interest. Chris has the patience, loves it, and I know he will have the patience to teach our son as well. My job will be teaching him how to bake. Yes, I will.

I loved this comment from the dad in the article:

“As far as my comment on if he wants to play with a barbie doll…again, let me stress this. HE IS 2. I have seen him get excited and play with a broom. Ya’ll need to chill. Kids are going to play with what they want, and if you try to prevent them from doing something as harmless as playing with the toy they want to play with, they are going to end up resenting you.”

So damn true. Let them play with what inspires them. I would much rather my son paint, get dirty, play in the kitchen and use his mind then be mesmerized behind a video game and develop no social skills whatsoever.

What do you think?

Removing toxic energy

From time to time we find there might be people in our life that bring toxic energy. When that happens we usually know and feel it, but sometimes what is the hardest is removing those individuals and their toxic energy from our life entirely. You might think — well, why is it so hard? For a few reasons. They might be a family member or co-worker, they might be a neighbor, or a long time friend. Yes, it might be a lot easier said then done. However, when we are able to make the choice to remove them from our life, the way forward can sometimes be very easy and, when it’s done, we feel free.

That is the easy part. What do we do with those we cannot remove, but yet leave the toxic dust in their wake? A recent Daily Om titled: “Taking on the Energy of Others” discusses how to cope with people toxic people or those that drain us:

“Each of us radiates energy and is capable of being influenced by the energy of other people. It is important to learn how to shield yourself, so you don’t unknowingly take on someone else’s energy.”

Later is says discuss how to protect oneself:

“There are a number of ways to avoid being affected by people’s energy. Shielding is one preventative technique you can use. Center yourself and envision being enveloped in a cocoon of loving and protective light. This protective layer should allow you to consciously regulate the energy around you.”

Sometimes that is easier said then done. However, if you take it one day at time, one conversation at a time, it gets easier. I know I can work on it, as there are days when it is easier to vent about a frustrating conversation, or to complain about that person that makes our life miserable. What if we just did not let it bother us? If we let the toxicity roll off of us, like water on a car that has just been waxed? Easy? No. Doable, yes.

I am going to go find some wax to work on my shield.

Random Recipe: Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread

First time ever. I completely missed posting a blog yesterday. Blame it on pregnancy brain. Alas. I do have a great recipe to share with you today. You can see I am continuing my pumpkin theme. I cannot get enough, and since pumpkin eventually gives away to peppermint and egg nog, well, you have to take advantage while fall is upon us. Can you believe that Costco already has their peppermint pretzels? It is not even Halloween yet and we can already purchase favorite treats for Christmas. Will we soon be able to purchase Christmas treats in July?

This recipe is a must try. It is, dare I said it? (Moist!) Yummy, and the perfect treat. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. We actually had it for dinner last night with tomato soup. It is worth trying this fall.

Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread

2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup beer (at room temperature)
1/4 cup honey
4 large eggs
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons table salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Shortening (to grease pan)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add pumpkin, and beat at low speed just until blended.

2. Whisk together flour and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, and beat at low speed just until blended. Divide batter between 2 greased (with unsalted butter) and floured 9 x 5 loaf pans.

3. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool bread in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool until you’re ready to devour it!