Thursday, October 30, 2014

The power of a smart phone

   Oh, the power of a smart phone! It can connect us to anyone, anywhere at anytime. We can watch the news as it unfolds. We can see the weather in another part of the world. We can have a face to face conversation with someone thousands of miles away. All with a small device in the palm of our hands! My smart phone has more memory than my first computer!
  I've thought about how different our world is today from when I was growing up, which doesn't seem that long ago! While I think the technology behind my phone is amazing I do think being connected at anytime can be very destructive.
   Login to Facebook and within a few minutes, you are likely to see someone using the power of their smartphone to rip someone to shreds. You get angry and upset at someone and the first reaction is to get on your phone and tear into them via social media. The heat of the moment can cause us to completely lose our heads. On more than one occasion, I've said something that made me feel about an inch tall. You can delete the post, but the words have already been said and feelings have already been hurt. I've learned to put my phone down when I am upset about something and resist the urge to profess to the social media world how upset I am. If truth be known, most of the people on my friends list probably don't want to hear about it!
   Nobody is immune to being on the receiving end of a social media blast. Teachers, neighbors, coaches, doctors, lawyers, restaurants, supermarkets, retail shops, police, etc. The list is endless. Of course there are always those "vague" posts or pictures meant to tear someone apart without really mentioning their name. Vague statuses are no less damaging than the tirades. Vague statues are a weak attempt to get attention because you don't feel there are consequences. I would be willing to be 90% of people have read a vague status and thought, "They are talking about me!"
   Think back to when you were a kid and you'll find we handled things quite a bit different. When someone upset us, hurt our feelings, or "did us wrong", what did we do? We didn't have cell phones so we couldn't text our friends about the person. We didn't have social media, so we couldn't talk bad about them for the world to see. We had two choices. We could go to the person and talk to them or we could just move on. Pretty simple, don't you think.
   Why not start a change and put the power of the smartphone to good use? Send someone a positive, uplifting text message. Post something on a teachers page praising them for all they've done for your child. Post on a restaurant page about the great service you received. Once one person posts a negative comment, it begins snowballing and before you know it, a hundred people are bashing a restaurant because someone forgot part of their order at the drive-thru window.
   Being connected all the time also has created a generation of people who don't communicate any way other than through their phone. My daughter was talking to me one day when I was so buried in my phone, I completely missed what she said. I knew it hurt her feelings. I have allowed this device to become such a huge part of my life. When I get on the road (as a passenger) to go out of town, I immediately connect to Facebook or Twitter. By the time we arrive at our location, my phone is warm because I haven't put it down. Look at what I'm missing out on by letting this powerful device have so much of my time! I'm missing conversation with my husband and daughter. I'm missing the beautiful scenery. I'm missing out on life, people! I've made a pledge to my family and myself to stop letting my smartphone take up so much of my time. After all, our time is limited and I want to use every single minute like it's my last.
   You are in control of your smartphone....don't let it control you!

Monday, October 20, 2014

How would you treat a friend?

   I've been spending time reading a book on letting go of expectations and embracing your true self. It's been a very eye opening book and has hit me in the gut several times. I've felt like the author used me as a case study for the book.
  The chapter that resonated most with me was the one on cultivating self-compassion. Now, I know I can be a very compassionate person...TO OTHERS. When it comes to myself, I am my own worse enemy. I point out every one of my flaws and am harder on myself that anyone else has ever been. Isn't that the case for the majority of women? I don't know about you, but I'm ready to break free from that cycle of "picking on myself" and becoming the woman God made me to be.
   One of the first things I did when reading the chapter was take a self-compassion quiz. I answered each question as honestly as possible and at times felt shame I truly felt that way about myself. My self-kindness score was very low, but my common humanity score was high. Something has to change! You can take the quiz here
   After taking the test, I began a exercise on self-compassion and that is when everything came into perspective for me. It was like a ton of bricks dropping on my head. Wow...I truly could see what my lack of self-compassion was doing to me.

   The exercise was simple:
   Step one - think about a time when a friend was feeling really bad about herself or was struggling in some way. Think about what you, as her friend, did to help her in this situation. What did you do to help her see her as the world does?
   Step two - think about a time when you felt bad about yourself or when you were struggling with a situation. How did you respond to yourself?
   Step three - Did you notice a difference in the way you responded to your friend and a way you responded to yourself? If you answer honestly, you'll probably notice you were much more compassionate, giving and thoughtful to your friend that you were to yourself.

   I like the concept of treating ourselves like we would one of our friends. There isn't a time I would not give of myself to help a friend. There isn't a time I wouldn't do all I could do to make my friend see all her amazing qualities. There isn't a single time I would leave my friend without her knowing her worth.
   It's time to start treating ourselves like we do our friends. After all, they love us and are our biggest cheerleaders. Shouldn't we do the same for ourselves?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Age is just a number...

In a few short weeks, I will celebrate my 42nd birthday. I've never minded telling anyone my age, after all, it's just a number. I'm actually glad to have a number, because it means I've been granted one more day on this great earth of ours! This will be a big year for me. In May, my youngest will graduate from high school and I will become an "empty-nester." I'm saving that for another blog...cannot talk about it now without tears!
   So, back to me being 42. I have a couple of things planned for this upcoming year and hopefully I will be blogging about how those things came to fruition. Time shall tell! For now, I'm going to give you 42 random facts about myself.

  1. I was born in New Mexico, but consider myself a true Texan!
  2. I am terrified of mice, rats and snakes.
  3. I gave a boy a Christmas present in the first grade and he smashed it in front of all his friends. Why he didn't like a BeeGee's 8 track is beyond me!
  4. I have never watched or read "Gone With the Wind."
  5. I have never watched the movie "Mary Poppins."
  6. I doodle on everything and focus better if I'm doodling when someone is talking.
  7. I like the smell of dirt in a vacuum cleaner.
  8. I check the back seat numerous times when I'm driving alone at night.
  9. I had a huge crush on Bo from the Dukes of Hazzard.
10. Certain commercials can make me cry.
11. I was 1st runner up in a pageant and sang, "You Light Up My Life." My brothers laughed at me and I never did a pageant again.
12. My brothers coined the nickname "Tumbleweed" after I got a perm in fourth grade. It caught on with the kids at school.
13. I once voted for Ross Perot.
14. I got swats in the 7th grade for not writing 350 sentences because I was talking in Coach Rhodes class.
15. I've never been to another country.
16. I believed in Santa until I was in fifth grade.
17. I tried to convince some of my friends we should form a "Pink Ladies" group one day in the playground when I was in elementary.
18. I have a secret desire to be fit enough to run a marathon one day.
19. My feelings get hurt very easily.
20. I am a numbers freak...I have to check a door that's been locked 3 times....always.
21. When someone tells me their age, I add up the two numbers and keep adding until I get a one digit number and associate them with that number.
22. I do a drumroll on my desk before I write a new post on my blog.
23. I can remember in detail many experiences from elementary, but they fade after that.
24. I have always thought I should have been a teenager in the 50's.
25. I have a secret desire to dye my hair blonde just to see what it would look like.
26. I do not like Taco Bell.
27. I do not like having my picture taken.
28. Closed in places make me panic.
29. I never went to prom.
30. I am intimidated of a few different people in my community.
31. I was baptized when I was pregnant with my daughter and she is a very spiritual person.
32. I will never swim in a lake again. Thank you, Jaws.
33. I've never ate Chick-fil-a.
34. I am not a big fan of jewelry, shoes or purses.
35. I once blacked a boys eye for shooting me with a bb gun.
36. I cannot sleep in a pitch dark house. Night light, please!
37. I have never worn pajamas in public.
38. I am overly trusting of people, no matter how many times they destroy that trust.
39. I can drink coffee before I go to bed and sleep like a baby.
40. I met a US Congressman a few months ago and felt like I'd met a celebrity.
41. I once went to nursing school for a couple of months before I realized it wasn't for me.
42. If I could invite any 5 people (living or dead) to supper it would be Jimmy Fallon, Julia Roberts, Melissa McCarthy, George W. Bush and Jimmy Stewart.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It's a Fall giveaway!

   In honor of my absolute favorite season, I am hosting a blog giveaway! One lucky winner will receive the perfect Fall gift!
   The rules are simple! Just leave a comment here (or below my post on Facebook) on what you like the most about Fall. I will select a winner by a random drawing! You have until Friday, October 10 at noon to post your comments!
   Here are just "a few" things I love about Fall.
  1. The crispness in the air.
  2. The leaves as they begin changing colors and falling to the ground. The colors are breathtaking!
  3. The smell in the air!
  4. The sunsets in Fall are spectacular!
  5. Pumpkins, mums and hay bales!
  6. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin cookies!
  7. The sound the leaves make as you walk across your yard!
  8. Jumping in a pile of leaves you've just raked!
  9. Wearing scarves!
 10. Cool evenings spent outside around the firepit!

Oh, wait...I think I've left one very important item off my list.... FOOTBALL!

   I'm looking forward to hearing what you love about the Fall! Good luck!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Be a filler....not a dumper!

   "Leave the world a better place." I love the simplicity in this statement. It requires no special skill set and no specific income or education level. All it requires is you.
   I wholeheartedly believe the best way to leave the world a better place is to be a bucket filler, not a bucket dumper. In my mind, a bucket filler is the one who chooses to see the good, instead of always seeing the bad. Someone who encourages others instead of constantly finding fault and someone who makes others feel good about themselves.
   A dumper is quite the opposite. A bucket dumper is someone who spews negativity, spite, jealously and hatred. Someone who is so unhappy in their own lives, they are only happy if they are making others unhappy. Someone who zaps you of every single bit of energy you have. Someone who makes you turn the opposite direction in the store when you see them. You avoid bucket dumpers at all costs. It's not bucket dumpers are bad people, they've just fallen into a rut and need helping getting out of it! We don't always know the battle others are going through in their lives and can always find a way to be a blessing to them.
   Don't get me wrong, I have had times in my life when I was a dumper. Life can be difficult at times and in certain circumstances, it's hard to be positive or see the good. However, I found taking that negative energy and turning it into positive did quite a bit to improve my attitude about my circumstance. It took a good friend bringing my "dumping" to my attention before I stopped to think how I was not leaving the world a better place. I did not want to be known as the dumper everyone avoids!
   One of the greatest pleasures in being a filler is seeing what it does for others. Just think of the chain reaction you will have by filling someone's day with positive and encouraging remarks. In turn, they will do the same for others and before you know it, there is a lot of filling going on and not so much dumping!
   Yesterday, I used the opportunity to fill someone's day by sending them a message on how much I appreciate what they have done to help one of my children. I didn't just give them a blanket message, I was very detailed in what they did, how it impacted my child and how much I truly appreciated them. I could tell by their response it made their day. It made me feel pretty good as well.
   We have a finite time on this earth and each and every single moment we have is a gift. We have the opportunity to leave the world a better place many times throughout the day. At the end of our lives, wouldn't it be great to realize we filled a lot of buckets?