Just a Thank You

Rob and I took the kids out of town a couple months ago and we ended up staying at a hotel where free breakfast was included. This is always amazing with kids. The breakfast turned out to be a big buffet with a whole spread of hot and cold food to choose from.
As usual, I helped my kids before I went to grab myself some coffee. One of my kids wanted fresh pancakes but as we got over to the machine, all the batter was gone. One of my other kids wanted orange juice but that was out too. It wasn’t that big of a deal since they had many other things to choose from. I got them all seated, and as I was going to get my coffee, I noticed the lady working there carrying an armful of items to restock. There was only one of her and about 50 people eating breakfast. She looked busy and very stressed. As I approached her, I stopped her and said, “I know you are so busy but just wanted to let you know the pancake batter and orange juice are out when you have a minute.” She nodded and kept walking.
Minutes later, the kids went to grab something else from the buffet and they came back with orange juice and pancakes. She obviously quickly refilled everything. We all sat and enjoyed some down time while they ate, we talked, and I sipped my coffee.
Before we left, I had the kids clean up the table and I told them I would meet them back at the room once I refilled my drink. As I got to the coffee area, I realized the lady from the hotel was there refilling the coffee and cleaning the counter. So, I stopped her again. I looked at her and said, “Thank you so much for the amazing breakfast. I noticed that you haven’t stopped moving, you are refilling like crazy and I so appreciate it. It was a nice break from having to prepare breakfast for my 3 kids and you are doing this for 50! You’re doing a wonderful job, so thanks!”
At that moment, I saw the tears fall from her eyes. She quietly told me that I made her day and explained that her job is filled with rude people. People who yell at her when there is a dirty table, food not filled, or empty coffee. She said, “I hardly ever hear a thank you, so that means a lot.”
At this point I am almost crying myself. This poor lady looked so exhausted and defeated. On most days, she has a thankless job but keeps showing up and doing it well. To all of you reading- never underestimate the power of a thank you. It might just be what someone needs to hear to have their day turn around for the better. How easy is that? I know we all are busy but let’s make the decision to slow ourselves down to see what is going on around us. There are people everywhere that can benefit from a kind word or two. So, find someone to thank and say it from your heart. It may just make their day:)

Success: Making a List, Checking it Twice

Life with three kids is chaos most of the time. I am always looking for ways to prioritize. One thing I am realizing is that my mind is more chaotic than my schedule. Simplifying my thoughts by creating a plan of action has helped me reach my goals.  I love this quote and enjoy reading success stories. Most of the stories have some key factors in common. I am trying to apply these factors to my own life. Check out this list of some important rules others are following to achieve their goals.

 

 

  1. Compliment others
  2.  Embrace change
  3. Forgive others
  4. Continuously learn
  5. Accept responsibility for their failure
  6. Gratitude (this is huge)
  7. Set goals and develop plans
  8. Strong self-esteem (believing in themselves)
  9. Meditation
  10. Don’t compare themselves to others

Examining this list and comparing to what we are already doing or not doing is important if we too want to be successful. I can look at this list and clearly see what I need to work on.

I am uncomfortable with change. I am a huge fan of routines and schedules so when something throws that off, it can ruin my day. I don’t like the unexpected. The problem is, that is life. Many things get tossed at us when we least expect it and we must roll with the punches. So, one of my goals is to find better ways to react to these situations. I am doing this by focusing on the fact that some things are just out of my control. The only thing I can do is control my reaction to them. Easier said than done!

The hardest of all for me is meditation. My mind races a mile a minute. It can go from what I need at the grocery store, to the bill that needs to get paid, to the pile of laundry that needs to be washed, to a doctor’s appointment that I need to make. This is a typical few seconds in my head. I bet a lot of you can relate. I downloaded the app, CALM. It’s free for the first 7 guided meditations. I do amazing for the first 30 seconds before I lose concentration:) I keep moving through the 7 days and then I go back and do them again. One of these days, I’ll get it! Does anyone have a good meditation app that they are using? I would love some new ideas.

We all have things that we want to do and be better at. It is not easy, but we need to be persistent if we want to be successful at our goals. Baby steps are better than no steps at all!

The Energy Bus

There is something about being on Notre Dame’s campus for a fall football game. Everyone is decked out in school colors and fan gear. The parking lots are filled with tailgaters. The student organizations are all around selling freshly grilled hamburgers and hotdogs. The band plays as they march and lead the fans from the Golden Dome to the stadium. This elevates the enthusiasm of the crowd. I remember this as a child and now my kids get to experience it too.

Once we get into the game, the students are standing. They remain that way for the entire game as they cheer on their team. The marching band plays loudly, while the cheerleaders and leprechaun hype the crowd even more. It is a feel-good environment and you can’t help but absorb the positive energy. It’s all around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is energy? How does it affect our lives? Here is my favorite quote from The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon.

“All you have to do is think about your own life. Think about the people who increase your energy and those who drain you. Think about the foods you eat that make you feel great and those that make you want to take a nap. Think about the projects at work that energize you and those that burn you out. Everything is Energy. It is found in our thoughts, the words we say, the music we listen to, and the people who we surround ourselves with.”

Energy matters, the positive and the negative. The energy you bring to your day makes an enormous difference in your family, job, and every other aspect of your life. If you have not read The Energy Bus, this is a must! It is a quick read that not only leaves you feeling like you can accomplish anything, but it also teaches you how to deal with the negative people and situations in your life. I reread this book every 6 months. It serves as a great reminder of how I want to live my life. Jon Gordons’s book and principles have been used by the NFL, NBA, college coaches and teams, Fortune 500 companies, school districts, hospitals and nonprofits. Check it out! (affiliate link)

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Missy and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Monday

Usually Mondays are my least favorite day but not last Monday. I had a bunch of fun things planned for the week and I was excited to keep working on this blog. So, when my alarm went off at 5:45, I jumped out of bed and forgot to do my daily gratitude. I usually come up with 3-5 things I am thankful for before I start my day. Instead, I grabbed my phone and started going through emails. I have read over and over again that reading emails first thing in the morning is not the best idea, but I did it anyway. I deleted most of them quickly and then got to an important one about my blog. The email explained mistakes that I made on my website that needed to be addressed. As I was already starting to freak out, I realized that my blog posts scheduled for that day had to be updated immediately.  As I am sure most of you do, I allow only enough time for my usual morning routine and I did not have time for this extra task. I was now panicking as I thought about how I could possibly get it all done.

As I headed downstairs to get my middle schooler fed and out to the bus, the dog started moaning at the back door. I tried to slide it open, but it seemed frozen shut. As I pulled a little harder, not only did the door open, but it came off the track. It was stuck open and wouldn’t budge. It’s February in Chicago, people! Temperatures that morning were in the single digits. The snow on the deck was blowing in and the frigid air was moving quickly into the house. Now what!?!?! I immediately called my husband to see if he could help over the phone. He said he should just drive home from work to fix it, but it would take him at least 45 minutes. The only thing I could think of to do in the meantime was cover the huge opening with old towels (cue the banjo music).

By 7:00am, I had the door covered, my 12-year-old almost out of the house, and my other two kids coming down for breakfast. I started feeding them and got their lunches packed. I grabbed my phone to see if there was a text update from my husband. I hit the screen, and nothing happened. It was completely black. I shut it down, restarted it, and then a message popped up that it had to be synced with iTunes. I have no idea what happened from there except that my phone was completely cleared of everything. By everything, I mean contacts, pictures, notes and hours of blog work. Please don’t ask me when the last time I backed up my phone was. Yep, this all happened before 8am. Really not a great morning.

I DID end up making the necessary changes in time. My husband DID make it home to fix the door. I did get SOME things recovered on my phone.

As I write about positive attitudes, just remember that my blog is called CHASING EASE not I AM AT EASE. I did get so upset that I wanted to cry. I am far from perfect. I don’t have life figured out.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but that morning was my reminder that life will always give me challenges. We all have bad things happen in our day, even the girl who writes blog posts about being positive.

I am excepting the day for what it was. As hard as the day tried, it didn’t take me down. I am strong enough to get through the bad days and so are you. Let’s put our chins up and realize tomorrow is another day. I just hope it has a few less surprises:)

Game Changer

Picture this…..the grocery store on the Saturday before the Super Bowl. Yep, it was a nightmare. People jammed in every aisle and carts were blocking my way. I shopped and took deep breaths as I made it down each aisle grabbing the things on my list. Last but not least, fresh guacamole! I couldn’t go to a Super Bowl party without that. I struggled my way through the crowd, got to the produce section, and guess what?!?! The guacamole was gone, completely sold out. Really?  How could they not have massive supplies of this on Super Bowl weekend? Now I was getting more annoyed.

I angrily turned my cart and started heading to the checkout line. Shocker! Every line was packed, and it looked like it was going to take forever. Like I needed one more thing to go wrong on this grocery store trip. As I was waiting in line, I realized my only hope in turning this trip around would be getting carded for my alcohol. I might be crabby but at least I would feel young. But as my turn approached, and the cashier scanned my wine, no such luck. I guess I don’t appear to be under 21 anymore. I paid for my groceries and couldn’t wait to get out of there.

As I started to head towards the parking lot, the sliding door opened but something was partially blocking my way. A young man with Down Syndrome was sitting on the ground. It was obvious that he didn’t want to move. Standing next to him was a young lady around his age but half his size. As I made eye contact with her, I smiled, and asked if she needed help. There was no way she could get him off the floor by herself. She smiled back and said, “No, thanks. I’m good.”

On my drive home, I thought back to the store and how hard it was for ME to shop. Imagine what it was like for that girl. I am not sure if she was on her way in or out or if she even got what she went to the store for. How could I have been so crabby about my experience, but she could smile and say she was good? Crazy how things like this happen in my life and are such game changers in my attitude. When I think only about me and my needs, I tend to get frustrated when things don’t go as smoothly as I expect. When I compare my situation to what others may be going through, I have it so easy.

So, are all these things in my life suddenly happening or is that I am finally becoming aware of them? My challenge for you today…..start looking for Game Changers in your day. I am fairly certain we all have them if we just open our eyes.

Your Worst Enemy

Self-awareness is a super powerful skill to have but what happens when it turns into too much self-criticism?

“I am disgusting.”    “I am a mess.”    “I am a bad mom.”    “I am a terrible friend.”   “I am not good enough.”  The list goes on.

I am guilty of this negative self-talk. When we look at these statements we say to ourselves, they are simply not true. For instance, “I am a bad mom.” We may have said something we regretted to our kids, missed an activity or performance, or chose ourselves over them. These mistakes are all part of parenting. We all have made plenty of mistakes in our lives but that doesn’t make us a bad person or mom. The reality is, most of us are good moms. The positive things we do greatly outweigh the bad and our sacrifices are countless.

I am learning to embrace my faults and work on these 5 things to catch this negative talk and turn it around.

  1. When I say something negative to myself, I stop and ask, is that statement completely true? Most of the time it is not.
  2. Letting go of perfectionism, realizing I have faults, and that makes me human.
  3. Look at my mistakes and decide how I can handle myself better next time.
  4. Ask if I would say that same statement to one of my friends. If I wouldn’t say it to them, I shouldn’t say it to myself.
  5. Finally, LET IT GO!

This will take time to create new thought patterns. Boosting our own self-esteem will make us more confident, nicer to ourselves, and as a result, nicer to others.  We need to learn to LOVE ourselves before we can show that kind of love to those around us. Let’s not be our own worst enemy. We deserve better.

 

Same task, different perspective

One positive thing about winter in Chicago is no yard work. I hate weeding the flower beds in my lawn. Like, really hate it. Cleaning toilets sounds joyous to me over weeding. Well, one day last summer, weeding was on my to-do list. It was a beautiful sunny day and it was the last thing I wanted to do but I knew it “had” to get done. I sent my son Joey to play with the neighbors outside, got my supplies and headed to the back yard. I grumpily leaned over and started pulling weeds.

A few minutes in, I heard Joey next door running around laughing with some neighbor boys. I looked up at them and smiled at their playfulness. I then glanced at the back of my house and thought how much I loved it.  I looked up at the beautiful blue sky. It was then I had a revelation. I didn’t “have” to weed. I wanted to do it because I have a beautiful home with a nice yard and I like it to look nice. I take pride in the things I work hard for. Our home is in a safe neighborhood with lots of kids for my children to play with.

One of my dreams from long ago was to have a house and a family. Now I have it and I was complaining about it. There are many people out there that are only dreaming of the things we have. There are many things in our lives that we hate doing because we feel like we have to. A lot of them we don’t. If we change the “I have to do this” to “I want to do this”, everything changes. Let’s not complicate our lives with negative thoughts when we have better options. Try to find the positive in the things you don’t like doing. It is still the same task but a different perspective. It sure helped me get through that chore and I was in an awesome mood when I got done.

That night, our family grilled out on the deck. I sipped my wine, admired my lawn and my job well done. So here is my challenge for you…..think of something you don’t like doing, find the positive in it and watch your day change for the better.

What’s your vision?

It’s that time of year when many of us have made New Year’s resolutions. You know the ones that sound so good and attainable but one month in and we already start slacking? Every year, my intentions are good, and I feel enthusiastic coming out of the gate, but I never seem to finish the race. My usual excuse is that I get too busy and other things get in the way of reaching my goals. Life can be so distracting if we don’t remain focused.

This year, I decided to try something new and I am loving it! It’s called a vision board. It is a tool to help display words and pictures that represent my goals for the year ahead. I hung this right by my desk, so I can read it every day. It reinforces all the things that I want to work on and what I want more of in my life. Many of us have those voices in our heads telling us that we will fail again. This board helps calm those voices and prove to ourselves that we can achieve any goal we set, one step at a time.

Here is what my vision board looks like.

The board can be set up anyway you choose and can be constantly changing. I even pinned on a wipe off board so it’s easy to create short term goals, check them off when they are done and then rewrite new ones as needed. This simplifies the process of attaining my goals by breaking them down into smaller steps. I am one month in, going strong and am more motivated than ever. Here are some of the things you need to get started.

You are worth it. Go get your dreams.

(Affiliate links)

bulletin board: https://amzn.to/2KmXUqu

board with design: https://amzn.to/2r59BsN

board stickers: https://amzn.to/2HZ3Oj5            

wipe off pockets: https://amzn.to/2KjR4C7
I use these pockets for so many other things!

push pins:  https://amzn.to/2r5L8DY

Do you do a vision board? What do you use to help you stay focused on your goals? Please share pics and POSITIVE comments. I would love to see what you guys are doing:)

“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.”-Oprah Winfrey