Posts Tagged With: choices

Strong Women, Grey Ties & Valentine’s Day

As a girl, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a school party, card boxes, ice skating and moms visiting our classrooms.

google.images.com

google.images.com

As a teenager, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a boyfriend if I had one and avoided if I didn’t.

google images

google images

As a young married woman, Valentine’s Day meant cards and flowers – for a while, anyways.  As our relationship evolved, romantic gestures were replaced by thoughtful ones.  Things you can’t buy in the store: taking out the trash; filling my car up with gas on a snowy day.  Running his vehicle through the car wash then detailing the inside myself. Folding the laundry left in the dryer; bringing in the groceries.   It’s the little things  ~ but they’re helpful and kind and nice.  And there’s a flow and a comfort to it that I love.

In my 50’s I don’t wait for someone else to make me happy ~ I make myself happy.

get-your-happy-on-quote-1You see I learned it from her:  My mother was a strong woman and my role model  – 100lbs of dynamite ~ she calved calves, trained horses, wrangled 5 kids, a husband, a 1/2 acre garden, 2 dogs and 14 cats.  She rode in trail rides, taught 4-H and Sunday School, balanced the books and Chaired the Board.  She always got out to vote, once taking the tractor to the highway to catch a ride to the polls. No muddy roads were going to stop her!  Not much ever did!

Mom wrangling a Thanksgiving turkey in 1963 - mother of 5, do-er of anything she set her mind to. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Mom wrangling a Thanksgiving turkey in 1963 – mother of 5, do-er of anything she set her mind to. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Like she did, I go to bed when I’m tired,  take a nap if I need one and I stay up late when I choose to.  I make room for the things I love – books – and never apologize for the space they occupy.  I have learned how to say “no thanks” to stuff I don’t want (or want to do) and “YES please!” to the ones I do.

Years ago Mom bought my sister & I that novel about the guy with the grey ties  ~ She made it clear she had no intentions of reading it and quipped “you can handle it” with a snort.   The two of us traumatized our grown kids by leaving it out on end tables.  The comments of horror from my nieces and the looks our boys shot my way were so worth it.  That was her point, to stir the pot and to remind us we always have a choice.

I chuckle remembering how Mom and I joked that if a good looking, rich man came near us with a grey tie, he’d find himself in some deep do-do.

God, I miss her.

So this Valentine’s Day I wish you this:

  • I wish you the courage to make the leap you’ve been pondering,
  • I wish you dreams in technicolor,
  • I wish you the conviction to change what’s not working, to stop worrying about what others think and to do the things that make your soul sing.
  • Time’s a-wasting and, per the wisest woman I’ve ever known, the only hero we have is ourselves.

 

strong-women

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Fun, Gratitude, Grief, Growth, Holidays, Humor, Joy, Love, Mom, Personal, Romance, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Where dreams are born

Yes, yes I did :)

Yes, yes I did 🙂  Google images.com

Growing up in a farm family of five kids we not only rode in the back of a truck, we drank from the hose and the tap down at the barn.  We lived in a house with lead paint, climbed trees, jumped off barns, tied a toboggan to the back of the snowmobile and let ‘er rip, rode our ponies bareback and more.

I remember being around 12 and thinking it would be cool to smoke a cigarette – ick – glad that habit never stuck and no, I never smoked more than 1 or 2 puffs of it.  Cough! Gag! Sputter!  Bet you’ll never guess our hiding spot while we tried this out?  The hayloft.  Dry as tinder – surrounded by bales – and it made perfect sense at the time -but I shudder about that one now.

I also remember swimming in a fast moving river,  skating on a (mostly) frozen pond, snowmobiling by moonlight, mowing the lawn in flip flops and running quickly through the bull’s pasture.

We did it all and lived to tell the tale   My kids have only done a few of these things and the grands, even less. Somehow I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.

The freedom I grew up with gave us opportunities to make decisions for ourselves – good and bad.  We learned the consequences of our actions.  We saw what can happen when things go terribly wrong.   We saw what can happen when …  they don’t.

When my brothers and sisters and I reminisce about these adventures, Mom just shakes her head and covers her ears.

Google.images.com

Google.images.com

How about you? Did you survive … or thrive?  What was the last thing you did that made you feel like a kid again?

 

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

The thing about Alices

So, I’ve been quietly mentoring a young woman who works in my office.

We’re not in the same work group or function or even “job family.”  But, there’s something about her that I recognize: a quiet dignity that screams, “I need a change. I can do more. See me. Please.”

She’s educated. Intelligent.  Articulate.

She’s also stuck, frustrated and scared.

I’ve encouraged her to research other roles within the company; we have a national presence, there are opportunities, but one must look for them.

23b_cheshire_cat

Alice in Wonderland

I’ve explained the path I’ve taken, of volunteering to improve a process, of stepping in to help other departments, of being part of the solution, not part of the problem.

I’ve supported her as she applied for open posts and offered my help as she readied herself for interviews.

I’ve silently cheered when she stepped up and inwardly cringed when she talked herself out of new opportunities.

I’ve suggested she try a simple exercise called “to a tee.

I’ve taken it all in as she explained how busy she was with whatever and why she never did do it.

And … I’ve stepped away when I realized she just might just be an Alice.

“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.
‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.
‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
       ‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Growth, Life, Uncategorized, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Can’t you take a joke?

Traveling with colleagues, I excused myself after lunch to freshen up.  Imagine my confusion when I returned to an empty table.  Neither my colleagues nor the others we’d met with were to be found.   I assumed they must have been paying the bill and readying to leave the restaurant.   Bear in mind, this was my first time in that city, we’d parked some distance away and had walked a few blocks to get there.  Fear and disbelief bubbled up when I realized they’d actually left without me.   Gathering my things I headed out in the direction I’d hoped was the parking garage.  About two blocks away, with my head down into the biting wind, I heard “surprise!” as they jumped out at me from an alley.  There, in the heart of it all was the ring leader, laughing hysterically.  The others laughed too, but not as loudly. It was obvious who’d led the pack and when my reaction was less than charmed, his words stuck the final blow, “Geez, can’t you take a joke?”

I’ve been witness to others’ pranks and the intended of many more.   Some were harmless – a plastic spider placed perfectly for a Halloween scare – but most were mixed with just enough cruelty to leave only a furrow of resentment behind.

I’ve spoken up, I’ve protested, I’ve defended and, shamefully, sometimes I’ve kept quiet.  Indignation has consistently been met by “Geez, can’t you take a joke?”

Being the youngest of 5 kids, yes, I can take a joke.   I really can.

This is what being the butt of jokes feels like; image courtesy Rachel Leamon.pinmarklet.com

But … I’d prefer to laugh with you vs. being laughed at.

I am happy to be part of the fun, but I’d rather not be … the source of yours.

Being the “butt” of jokes hurts our feelings, destroys trust and the only thing that thrives is … ego.  And it’s not ours.

# # #

“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you.”  -Matthew 7.12

# # #

Do you know the difference between harmless fun and bullying?

(by Alan Teal)

1)         Harmless fun lets everyone enjoy themselves

  • Think of going to a party and playing charades or cards with your friends; think of children playing “Freeze Tag” at a family reunion
  • Everyone chooses to play; everyone has a chance to laugh and have fun

2)       Harmless fun means no one ends up embarrassed or hurt

  • Your date uses a lampshade as his prop in charades and everyone laughs
  • When you have a choice, it’s fun

3)      Bullying starts when someone is singled out without their consent

  • When someone is chosen as the “butt” of the joke without their knowledge, bullying has begun
  • The intent is to embarrass, scare or humiliate
  • Some people don’t mind being the center of attention but many do

4)      Bullies aren’t happy with just the laugh

  • They need to talk about the prank over and over
  • They relish telling the victim how “funny” their reaction was, how “hilarious” the situation is and, therefore, how witty they are
  • They like to tell the target how ‘everyone was in on it,’ thereby increasing the humiliation factor
  • A bully’s laughter comes when the target is put down, made to feel smaller so … they can feel larger

5)      Groups can be bullies, too.

  • If you hear about a prank ahead of time, speak up.  Your silence equals permission
  • Confront the organizers.  Let them know you are uncomfortable with their plans; chances are others are also but lack courage to speak up (Pack mentality… the weakest follow the strongest).
  • If it appears that the person to be pranked won’t appreciate it, the shift from harmless fun to bullying has already started
  • Be brave enough to be the “party pooper” and tell the victim ahead of time.

I can take a joke; the question is .. why should I have to?

image from southern-cinderalla-tumblr.com


Categories: Life, News, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 41 Comments

Time to stop “shoulding” on myself

I don’t know about you but I keep a running list of shoulds.  These aren’t written down, to the contrary, they’re like squatters, taking up space in my head rent-free!

All I need to do is take a look around and there they are, glaring at me:

Should file those benefits statements
Should get out and pull some weeds
Should organize that closet
Should exercise and lose some weight

What’s the message?   That what I am doing is clearly –not enough.

Ugh!

It’s time to stop SHOULDING on myself!

So … I’ve been getting up early to exercise.  Some days… when I am tired and achy it is oh-so-tempting to hit the snooze button and blow it off.  But I haven’t.  I do a weights routine in the mornings and cardio at night, after I get home from work. There’s always lots of other stuff to be done, but, for once, my stuff is getting done first.  Whoop Whoop!

I’ve been down the exercise path a million times before because I know I should.

But that’s not why I’m doing it this time.

I am exercising regularly … because I want to. 

I am choosing to stretch, to sweat, and to be sore.  Conversely, I am also choosing to lower my cholesterol, strengthen my bones and tone my muscles.

I think it’s different this time, because, by plowing through the shoulds, the musts and the have-tos,  I’m making room for choices.

Of course, some “shoulds” are important and non-negotiable (I should wear a seat belt and I always do) but there are just so many more in my head that …aren’t.

And now? Now the benefits statements aren’t filed but … I will take care of them on my lunch break; the weeds are thriving but … the youngest kid wants extra money so here’s his chance  to earn it …. and my closet?  My closet looks exactly the same as it did.

And I know I should care.  But I don’t.

..::..

Are you “shoulding” on yourself, too?  What “shoulds” can you replace with “want tos?”

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Forgiveness, Friendship, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Random, Rants, Relationships, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , | 22 Comments

Decision points

image from westernpostersandprints.com

 

“Courage is being scared to death – and saddling up anyway.”- John Wayne

 

Ever have a decision before you that is both thrilling and terrifying at the same time?

On one hand .. security, predictability, what is known.

On the other … growth, creativity,  adventure.

What to do, what to do?

Do I swing my leg up over the back of my chestnut gelding and just go for it?

Or do I sit it out and play the cards I’m holding?  

Hmm.

Life-changing-game-altering-decisions.

I don’t make ’em lightly.

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Life, Personal, Random, Self Discovery, Women | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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