Sunday, December 21, 2014

Like Those Chips, I Can't Have Just One Favorite Christmas Memory

When my buddy, Cherdo, invited me to her Favorite Christmas Memory blog hop, I was excited and figured it would be easy. I love Christmas and have many great memories. Turns out, just like those darn BBQ chips, I can't have just one! Here are three that stand out.
1. My first Christmas working in the real world. In high school I worked at a chain music store. I enjoyed it UNTIL Christmas time. I thought Black Friday was rough. Oh no.  Listening to Christmas albums for hours and hours every shift was torture. Dating myself here but the hot band then was New Kids On The Block. We played their Christmas album a minimum of two times per four hour shift. That was the Christmas I came to appreciate Alvin and The Chipmunks Christmas album. It was a welcome reprieve.

2. My first Christmas as a teenager. Like most kids, I loved getting up super early on Christmas  morning and making sure everyone else was up so they wouldn't miss the fun. When I was thirteen my uncle repaid me in full for my kindness by sending windup singing Santa toys down the hall by my room every 15 minutes from 5 am til I finally got up.

3. My first Christmas coffee. Back in the day, my parents drove an old beat up VW van. We had moved up north and had flown down south to visit family. We flew back in late Christmas Eve right into a snowstorm and subzero temperatures. Of course that was the night that the family van's heat failed. As my dad drove the two hours home from the airport my mom made us put on all the clothes we had packed and huddled between me and my sister. Ahhh, the days before seatbelt laws. About an hour in, it was so cold my parents got truly worried so they pulled into a hospital and we piled in the waiting room to warm up. It wasn't the cold I really remember about that night. It was the nurses. They were so kind. The only warm drink they had was coffee but they sweetened it with as much sugar as they could. Then they took turns chatting with us and even played Barbies briefly. It always stuck with me that though they were pretty busy they took time to care for random people, not even patients, in the waiting room. So my coldest Christmas memory is really the warmest.
I could keep listing more but my seven year old is tugging at my sleeve to go make surprise cookies for his brothers. So, I'm off to make more Christmas memories.  Wishing you and all of yours the merriest Christmas and happiest holiday season.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Beauty tip from airlines?

Rule #4

Do you ever feel like the crazy lady in frame one of this pic?  I do!  I'm running around all the time trying to do things for the kids, my husband, my job, etc. Just like frame 1, I don't smoke and I think that pic next to it is a watch showing that I am always running late. I get so frustrated and wound up that I start shaking and throwing yellow Tupperware containers, especially when my kids roll their eyes at me. 
At least that's what I see when I look at that picture. As we all know it's showing what to do in case of a loss of cabin pressure. Air masks will drop from the panel above.  If traveling with young children, please place the mask on yourself first before helping others...zzzz.  See I think I never got the wisdom of that before cause I was always asleep during the safety spiel. 
But there is wisdom there. If only we would take a little time for ourselves - to rest, relax and restore our sanity, think how much calmer our family and work like would be.  Refilling our mental energy stores allows us to help those around us and protects them from having to dodge incoming Tupperware!  So Rule #4 take time each day to do something for you. It's not selfish - it could save a life!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Boundaries Are Beautiful

Rule #3
So, you've figured out your priorities and made some rules to help you actually make them priorities. But what about when real life happens? Let's use the example of family dinner time. Say you decide that you want to have a sit down dinner with your your 3 nights a week. You look at the activities schedule and decide Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are the nights you have free so they will be sit down dinner nights. For a while this works great but then, of course, real life rears it's ugly head. One kid has an extra sports practice on Thursday.  And then of course the next week you are asked to attend a parent meeting on Tuesday. What do you do? My answer used to be that of course we would just skip sit down dinner that night because it was no big deal, right?  And guess what?  Every time I decided to skip it, just this once, I was demonstrating that family dinner really wasn't that big a priority. My family and I got that message and we stopped intentionally keeping that time free. Family dinner stopped happening in my house.  Instead, our weeks were filled with random activities that popped up rather than with the activities that I had said were my priorities. 
Don't fall into that trap of letting the random activities fill your time.  Make rules that work in your life and honor your priorities. If you are going to break a rule, make sure it is for a high priority reason.  Those rules create boundaries on your time and attention. Those boundaries are what will allow you to create the life you want rather than the life that sort of happens.
Rule #4 coming soon and I promise it's one you will want to do!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Turn your ideals into priorities.

Rule #2
Now that you have identified your top priorities, make some rules to safeguard those. One of my top priorities is spending time with my kids. Real time not time in the same room while we are all doing other things. That has been an ideal for a long time for me but I didn't make it a priority by making rules to make that time happen. Now I have set family time hours each day. During those hours, I only do things with my family. Not big or organized things. A lot of the time, it's just making dinner with my two younger boys and then having a sit down meal with the whole family. Sometimes it's just a simple walk with them. It doesn't have to be fancy, it just has to be consistent. So, make some rules that will help you turn your ideals into priorities.  Living an intentional life that is focused on your priorities is beautiful.
Rule #3 coming soon...