Thursday, July 15, 2010

Celebrating Mediocrity

I just recently got a postcard in the mail from an online company touting that they were 2 for 2! This is the second year in a row that this company is #2 in customer satisfaction. At first, I was really surprised at reading that this company was so proud of being #2, much less for 2 years in a row. Then, I wanted to know what was the name of the #1 company. If and when I shop online, I'd rather shop with the company that is known for their level of outstanding support and customer service.

Immediately, I had to begin examining myself and thoughts. Aren't we supposed to be excited about being the best? Aren't we trained and conditioned to desire to be#1? Why do we continue to be ok with being average? Then I thought about it a little more. Prior to 2 years ago, what number was this company? Were they #15, #10, or even #5 and are now inching up in pursuit of greatness? Have they managed to finally break out of the pack and for them, #2 is as good as being #1 because of how far they have come? Are they on the verge of unseating the #1 company and wanted to let all of their previous customers now?

Then, I stopped, thought about it for a minute, and wondered if I've fallen into this train of thought with my own family. Am I training my children to accept mediocrity in any form? Am I creating an environment where being #1 is the only "acceptable" way to be? Have I ingrained in their minds that if they weren't great at something, but worked hard to get better, it's still only OK, and not great? What value do I place on effort?

I have to admit, it makes me want to stop, take stock, and applaud every time one of my children do anything mildly great. Not that I want to celebrate mediocrity, but I do want to let them know that greatness comes in all forms and effort means a lot!

Not sure how you feel about it, but I won't celebrate being average. I will push my children to be the best they can be, but I will expect them to give a terrific effort in the process. I encourage you to examine your thoughts and actions, but more importantly to laugh out loud and enjoy your family today.

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*image courtesy of Getty Images: Todd Warshaw Getty Images Sport featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Confident in this one thing

Wow, it's been a minute since I've written. I probably think to write something daily, but time is not always in my favor. Anyway, here are a few good thoughts to contemplate.

Last week, my hubby gave me the second greatest and heartfelt compliment I can ever recall, all without knowing it! We were celebrating our 10 year anniversary and decided to take a sunset cruise. As the breeze off the Gulf of Mexico steadily cooled our skin from the relentless sun beating down on us, we talked and drank virgin pina coladas. After meeting and greeting a host of other couples, one who was celebrating their 50th anniversary, we took our seats and prepared for dinner.

On the menu were lobster (for me) and steak and lobster for James. The meal was average at best, and I was sorely disappointed at the quality of food. I expressed my displeasure to James, but he knew. I love food and like the food critic in the cartoon movie, Ratatouille, "if I don't like it, I don't eat it!" Not a problem I often have, but certainly a concept I embrace. I had high expectations based on the price they were charging. However, it dawned on me that the reason they charged such an outrageous amount of money was because the cruise included unlimited basic alcoholic beverages. Since we don't drink, this was by far, not a selling feature. I wish they had two tiers of pricing and progressed on that basis. However, I digress.

The boat's host/MC came over to our table smiling, "How is your meal? Are you enjoying it?"

I looked up, smiled, and said, "The boat is nice."

James saw the slightly puzzled look on the face of the man and said, "We are having a great time. Thanks." The man walked away.

I looked at James and said, "thanks honey."

To wit, he replied, "You're welcome. I know you can't lie!"

With that one statement, my heart shot to the moon. No longer did the average quality of the food matter. No longer did the humidity or heat take it's toll. All was right with the world because I had the essence of what most long lasting relationships are built upon. I had the absolute and complete trust of my mate! He knows me! He knows my heart! He knows I wouldn't lie to him or others! That is such a major thing that many people take for granted, but don't realize is what unravels many marriages.

My husband knows that what I say, I mean, and what I mean, I say! There is no double speak, or trying to peel back the layers of innuendo to discover the true or hidden meaning.

I challenge you to speak to the heart of your mate, child, or family member. See the love on their face so you can make them smile today and enjoy laughing out loud with you daily!

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Not another Resolution

The very definition of resolution is to have a firm determination or decide upon a course of action. As usual, the top 10 resolutions made (according to are:

1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
2. Fit in Fitness
3. Tame the Bulge
4. Quit Smoking
5. Enjoy Life More
6. Quit Drinking
7. Get Out of Debt
8. Learn Something New
9. Help Others
10. Get Organized

With this grandiose list of "desires" how many will truly get a firm determination? How many will be broken after 30 days or so? What happens when you get that "summer-ready-body?" Will you stop exercising? Will you really quit drinking, smoking, overeating, or using credit as a way to stay afloat? When are we going to learn to stop setting ourselves up for failure?

I invite you to not create resolutions which have an expiration date. Instead, create a vision for your life that has stages and obtainable goals? Why not determine your course of action to succeed and not to fail? Why not choose to make 2010 the start of something great in your life? Take 15 minutes to jot down your dreams, visions, and goals, and then over the course of January, make an earnest effort to pick at least one, define and detail your plan of attainment and get started on the road to changing your life by charting a different course.

As you prepare to go out and have a wonderful evening filled with family, fun, and friends, be absolutely resolute to make a change that will impact your life and the life of those around you. Laugh out loud, and enjoy your family today! Happy New Year's and may the best of 2009 be the launch pad for the basis of your 2010! Much success, blessings, and enjoyment!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Do you want to be loved?

This morning, I woke up refreshed, and excited that I had 7 full hours of sleep. Being in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, that is not only an oddity, but a rarity! I got out of bed, freshened up, and headed to the kitchen. I made fresh blueberry muffins, coffee, set the table, made my 2 school-aged children lunch, and even had time to make my husband lunch....all before waking them up! Once I woke them up, we all got ready, came to kitchen, began to enjoy breakfast and my husband calls out, "Hey, do the kids have time to watch President Obama receive the Nobel Peace Prize?" At first, I said, "no," but then I changed my mind and let them watch the last 15 minutes. It was a good discussion point as none of us had ever actually watched the ceremony.

Afterwards, we finished up, headed to school, and dropped them off. All in the midst of last minute yelling to "hurry up before we're late."

"Those are my sneakers, take them off."
"Mom, he's wearing my sneakers and won't give them back to me."
"They're not her's, they're mine." yadda yadda yadda.

You see, the kids have to wear black sneakers to school. They have the same ones, but they differ by one shoe size.
"Son, take her shoes off, put your's on, and let's go!" We arrive to school, now calmed and ready to begin the day.

On the way home, I heard someone say, "Most people who are mean, sarcastic, or continually say critical words really just want to be loved and don't know how." The first thought that came to me was, well, maybe, but sometimes they're just mean and could care less. The second thought was it's true. Those words then pierced my heart and I had to examine the words I used or my actions this morning and how closely they aligned with one side or the other.

Sometimes, people have never had a positive example of what love is and how to love. They just don't know how to do it. As creatures, we oftentimes lean toward negative behavior because that is what has been modeled. Negative being sarcasm, think the worst, self-destructive behavior, lying, sharp remarks, rebuffing kindness, etc. There are many times where it totally rubs us the wrong way to accept those who are different than ourselves, or even those who do things in ways we just wouldn't do.

How does this all play out during this Christmas season when we're all supposed to be jolly, happy, filled with joy, and thanks? What happens when we come across that disgruntled employee; or that person who cuts us off in traffic; or nearly knocks us over as we're walking and then has the audacity to yell at us for being in their way? Is our response to return the gestures or words? Do we just smile on the outside and fume on the inside? Do we have sympathy and just keep doing what we're doing? What is your response? How are you going to show someone else love?

This morning, I showed my family love by making a special breakfast. I showed frustration by yelling at the kids for nearly making us late because of switching shoes. I showed love by apologizing, hugging, kissing, and saying encouraging words. I yelled at the driver who cut me off and nearly made me hit another car while driving. I smiled at the person who walked as slow as possible to cross the street. I had ups and downs in my "love walk" this morning. I agree there are things I need to work on, but it prompted me to think about what I heard. Did I consider that the other driver who sped through the light and nearly hit me was late, or maybe got horrifying news of a loved one who was in the hospital? Did I consider that there may have been something medically wrong with the slow walker and they could go no faster? Everyone has their own reasons for why they behave the way in which they do. We are only responsible for our own actions, not necessarily judging the actions of others.

So I invite all of you to consider the other possibilities and think outside of your own situations. Think how can I show kindness and model love today? What one action can I do or word can I say when someone is not being as kind as possible? It's a hard assignment, but when we model love, it's a seed that breaks down the barrier to others hatred, hurt, anger, bitterness, depression, or negative situation. Try it and see what happens.

If you have a positive story, please post it here so we all can laugh out loud, rejoice with you, and enjoy our families and lives today.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mean Mommy Syndrome

After putting my son in time out because he was jumping on the chair for the second time, about to hurt himself, I heard him mutter under his breath, “Mommy’s Mean! She never lets me do anything.” With that gruff, he turned his little lips up, scowled to himself, and pouted for a minute before I turned in his direction.

“Son, do you not have a happy heart right now?” I know it seems like an out of the blue crazy question, but in my usual fashion, I asked anyway.

A brief moment passed before he answered, but he finally grumbled, “Yes, I have a happy heart.” It took another 30 seconds or so, but after that affirmation, he stopped grimacing, stopped whining, and sat up straight. He finished his time out, we had a brief talk about actions, consequences, rewards, and his heart.

The quick history behind my question is that we are teaching our children that their actions carry consequences or rewards. I don’t choose their consequences or rewards, they do!

A happy heart is about learning to understand and deal with controlling one’s self even in the most negative of situations. When we learn how to control our emotions, mind, and physical bodies, we will ultimately learn that our choices have placed us in many of the situations we find ourselves (both positive and negative). By developing a happy heart, we will find that our outlook leans more towards the positive, than towards the negative. We begin to seek solutions as opposed to focusing on the problem or what we cannot do.

On the other hand, I almost enjoy being labeled a “mean mommy.”
1. It is the mean mommies of the world that set a standard and don’t back down from that standard.
2. It is the mean mommies of the world that expect and push children to achieve greatness and reach their full potential.
3. It is the mean mommies of the world that love unconditionally and command respect.
4. It is the mean mommies of the world that get looked back on with reverence when the child matures and life’s lessons are absorbed. The child sees the points behind all the lectures, the rules, and the motives.
5. It is the mean mommies of the world that are actually not mean at all, but love their children to a fault and want nothing but the best for them. Out of this love, what is initially perceived as “mean” is really imagination, hope, vision, and desire.

So, I salute all the “mean mommies” of the world and say, keep doing what you’re doing. It pays off, and in the end, our children will look back on us and their undying love will spill out as they realize we weren’t mean at all, but simply being a Great Mom! So, laugh out loud, and enjoy your children today!

College Hoorah

Today I received the most exciting call regarding acceptance into college. It was from a friend who was a single mother for nearly 14 years before meeting and marrying her second husband.
She has worked hard and long. She has fought the statistics and is on the other end excited, standing tall and proud. After working, saving, and investing for the past 14 years for her son’s college education, her family just received a preliminary letter of acceptance into college, ALL EXPENSES PAID! Her son needs only continue getting good grades, finish his sports seasons, and confirm with the university his arrival date. That’s it!
After speaking with her, she expressed her excitement as well as her continual work over the years. She has had to make sure to follow up with him on his homework daily. “Son, do you have any homework? Are you sure? Are you sure? Are you sure? Can I see your folder?” Not that this was disbelief, but she wanted to make sure that neither he nor she was missing something that would hinder his continual success.
She further acknowledged that her work is not done and she knows it! Contrary to popular belief and even practice, she knows that even though he has received this preliminary letter, both he and even she still has to finish strong. Now is not the time to relax and let go, even though it would make sense and even feel overwhelmingly great. Now is the time to dot every “i” and cross every “t.” Now is the time to complete all paperwork, reaffirm the vision and goals, and find comfort in the wonderful relationship they have built over the years.
I am so inspired and can relate to her enthusiasm, relief, and pride. Were it not for a scholarship to attend college, I would not have been able to go. My mother was a single mother working hard to put food on the table and clothes on her 5 children’s backs. She didn’t have any “extra” savings or income with which to put me through college. I worked hard, got scholarships, grants, loans, and worked while attending college in order to pay for it. I consider myself fortunate and know the relief that comes from a child attending a college, and it not being a financial strain or even a burden on the family.
I not only rejoice with her today, but with every woman who stands strong, powerful, and persistent. So today, I stand in agreement, and salute all those who can laugh out loud and enjoy their families today!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Healthcare Stance Pt. 2

I just had two weeks of finger pricks, blood draws, and completely normal results! I called the attending nurse after faxing her my weekly results. I informed her that I would no longer continue the process as I committed to only two weeks and no more. She was somewhat surprised at my announcement, but reluctantly accepted this. She told me she would call me next week to make sure that I didn't change my mind. I reassured her that I wouldn't.

To this her reply was, "well, you will have to speak with your physician and get his approval before stopping the monitoring."

I wondered what in the world was going through this nurse's mind the entire conversation and doubted whether or not she remembers our initial discussion or even paid attention to this current dialogue. Again, I restated, "I explained to both you and to my OB that I was not diabetic. Your tests confirmed this result. I entertained these last two weeks to not only ensure I was well within the normal guidelines, but also to ease all of our concerns. Having done that, I feel confident that it is my privilege and right to refuse further treatments."

She put up a weak fight again and asked, "when is your next OB appointment?"

"It is tomorrow," I politely, yet adamantly responded.

"Well, your OB still has to call me, but in case he doesn't I need to hear back from you too."

"Not a problem, I'll call you as soon as I leave the appointment." With that, I got off the phone and eagerly anticipated the showdown with my OB. Showdown because I was enrolled in a course of treatment I was not originally a part of. I felt hoodwinked and bamboozled. However, that wouldn't happen again.

At the appointment, I informed my OB that I wouldn't participate in any more of the finger pricks. I was done. I was well aware of my body, eating habits, physical exercise, amount of water I drank, and even monitored the amount of sweets I consumed. I was choosing to not accept this treatment any longer.

"Well, Mrs. Cadet, it is a service we offer. You seem like a very intelligent patient and your decision is fine. We mainly suggest this to our patients because many of them need monitoring and help to control all of the factors that you just listed. Obviously you don't so I see no further issue."

"Well, Doctor, glad you agree with me. Can you please call the nurse so that she is aware of this conversation and understands that this is not only authorized, but in MY best judgment?"

"Sure, I'll have my nurse call her today. Thanks and have a great day."

With that, the OB left the room, I got dressed and life went back to normal.

Moral of the story is that when you are informed of not only the purpose of treatments, your physical health, and even what your rights are as a patient, you are in the drivers seat and can have an intelligent discussion with your physician.

The talks we have heard about with all the different discussions on health care, mammograms and the the such will do you no good if you are ill informed and go only with the flow. You have to stand up for your rights and research your options. Only then will you be able to make decisions that positively impact your and your family's lives.

So, as I did, I invite you to Laugh out Loud and Enjoy your family today.