Monday, September 26, 2011

Motivational Monday #57 - Making Old New Again

This morning was like so many Monday mornings.  I rolled out of bed and began the routine of getting kids out the door and on the bus.  And like so many other mornings my children had last minute "emergencies" that they "forgot" to deal with over the weekend.  Ahhh, the joys of Monday mornings!

Today's emergency revolved around the need for a clipboard.  I know this seems like a crazy emergency, and it was, but any way you slice it, my special needs child needed a clipboard and mommy had to deliver.

So what did I do?  I did what any self respecting mom would do, I climbed through the mess in the garage, and dug through dusty boxes to find a clipboard I had seen the last time I cleaned out the garage.  The good news is that I didn't come out covered in dirt...and I had a clipboard!

The clipboard I found was in a box filled with my father's odds and ends.  How I got the box isn't quite clear, but inside was a perfectly sized clipboard just waiting to be used.  To make it even cooler, my dad's name was printed in black plastic label tape and adhered to the metal clip.

As I handed this well used, but industrial strength clipboard to my son, I pointed out the name and asked him if he knew who that was.  Then I reminded him that he got part of his name from grandpa, and that this was now his clipboard.  His face lit up and off he went to school with his grandfather's clipboard clutched under his arm.

So what was only recently a dusty old clipboard taking up space in the garage is now a beloved treasure in the hands of a child.  It didn't take much to make an old thing new again.

How many old things do we have in our lives?  How many metaphorical boxes of odds and ends do we have stored away?  Do we take the chance to dust them off and bring them new life?  I would suggest we take the time to do just that.

I'm not sure if a clipboard can be considered part of the circle of life, but today an old clipboard was made new, and the past was linked with the future. Not too bad for a Monday

Monday, September 19, 2011

Motivational Monday #56 - Detours

I have a dear friend whose husband was just diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.  For an man who has always been healthy and active, this came as a shock.  It was not the path this family expected to take.  It was not the road they expected to travel.  This definitely qualifies as a detour.

Detours are crazy things.  By definition they take us off the path we were on and lead us into unknown, unexpected and often unwanted directions. Sometimes we get placed back on our intended path, but very often we continue in a far different direction.

Detours are not always bad, in fact they often have amazing outcomes.  They introduce us to things we did not know existed and offer us opprotunities we didn't know we could have.  Other times these detours test our strength and beat on our spirit, but leave us stronger and more capable than when we started.

I think detours in life can be what you make them.  When you realize you are headed a direction you didn't expect, you can either attempt to get back on track or choose to learn from this new path.  Sometimes detours are out of our control, but sometimes they are a result of our actions.

I don't have all the answers for the detours in our lives, but my suggestion is that you learn the lessons available and keep moving forward.  There is a distinct difference between a detour and a dead end, but I think many of us forget that simple detail.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Frantic Friday #30 - Autumn Focus

It is official, I got cold this week.  Yes, it's true, I put on socks and snuggled in a blanket while I watched a little evening TV.  Now don't get me wrong, it is still almost 100 degrees during the day, but at night and early morning there is almost a chill in the air. (In the spirit of full disclosure, "a chill" means high 70's, but when it has been over 110 for almost 5 months, that does give you a 40 degree drop...thus a chill.)

I wish I lived in a place where leaves changed and people wore sweaters, but alas, I don't.  There is something magical about the changing of the seasons, as if nature is telling us it is time to focus on other things. For me, cool weather means it is time to plant a garden, (yep, I live in the desert) clean out my closets, (I must make room for the presents coming at Christmas) and start baking.  My focus changes and I feel the need to get closer to family and appreciate that which I have.

What do the changing seasons mean to you?  Does your focus change?  Do you find yourself doing things differently?  Well, whatever it is you do to commemorate the turning of the leaves, enjoy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I prefer cuddly puppies over kittens, juicy steak over chicken, swimming pools over ski resorts and capris over shorts.  (I know you were dying to know that.)

We all have preferences in life, and they usually make no sense to anyone but us.  Depending on our personalities, we may be very attached to our preferences...or not.  For some of us, things must be exactly as desired, while for others, well, it doesn't really matter.  (Just for the record, I am a "my way or the highway" kind of gal.)

When it comes to preparation, preferences do matter.  Some things obviously require a preference, for example, when completing memorial plans, knowing if you prefer burial or cremation is vital.  Other things may not be as important, like the color tent you have or the size of your binoculars.

While staying true to your preferences will ease a lot of stress down the road, it is important to remember that not all things can go according to plan.  Not all emergencies will happen on the preferred day, most interruption will not be scheduled, and the likelihood you will be given the option to decide which medial emergency to have is slim.  When these things happen many preferences go out the window and getting through the situation as quickly as possible becomes the driving factor.

So, is it possible to maintain some semblance of dignity when chaos is all around you?  Is there a way to etch out a little space to do things "your way" when all manner of nastiness hits the fan?  Of course, but it will likely be the small things you have control over. 

Having your preferences prepared ahead of time will give you back the smallest feeling of control in an emergency.  Things like stocking your glove box with a favorite brand of pen, (I admit I do have a favorite pen in the car, but for the record I would use anything that was handed to me.) keeping favorite snacks in your purse, maintaining a list of people you know your kids will enjoy spending time with, and knowing which hospitals your personal doctor has privileges at will keep your preferences available.

Let's face it, we all like to do things the way we want them.  We enjoy the feeling of "rightness" that comes along with having our preferences recognized.  With that said, the next time I have an emergency, I really hope I am given the chance to cuddle with a puppy, eat steak and lay by the pool in my capri pants. I imagine any emergency I had to deal with would go much smoother.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Motivational Monday #55 - You Can't Always Get What You Want

Life is not often what we expect.  As the Rolling Stone so eloquently put it:
"You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well you just might find
You get what you need."
My life can easily be summed up by these eloquent words.  I could never have seen my life's experiences coming...and it isn't always what I would have asked for, but amazingly enough, I am making it through and will be just fine.

When we prepare for emergencies in our lives we are doing our best to guess at what life may throw at us.  We are anticipating the future and hoping we will have in place what we need.  We are boiling our wants down into needs and cutting back the fluff to reveal the solid rock.

I think one of the reasons preparation scares us is that it can be hard to accept the differences between wants and needs.  If you have ever been in a crisis, you will know needs become obvious very quickly.  For some reason our vision becomes clearer and our priorities become obvious.

In movies I can always pick out the characters who will die during the crisis.  It is the doofus who goes back for his briefcase, or the guy who only cares about himself.  It is the woman who won't take off her heals, or the one who complains about moving to higher ground.  Those who quickly identify their wants vs. needs are the ones we see at the end of the movie all dirty and exhausted, but alive and well.

In life we don't always get what we want, but if we plan ahead, and prepare the essentials, we will have what we need.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Frantic Friday #29 - Being a Parent

I have realized that there are things you will do for your child you would never do for yourself.  There are mountains you will climb, fears you will conquer and questions you will ask for the good of your child.

I often wonder if parenting is more about refining ourselves than anything else.  I am sure my children could be raised by someone else far more amazing than myself, but if that happened I would never have the refining fire I experience daily.   

Being a parent is not always comfortable, nor is it always enjoyable, but if I was not a parent I would have missed so many things in my life. I would have avoided so many growth moments. I would have slept in so much more often. (Oops, did that last one sneak in there...?) 

So on this crazy day, one where I head off to do yet another thing for my child, I realize that personal growth is a daily opprotunity.  I may not always like it, but the opprotunity is always there.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Excuse #5 - There Is A Chance I Will Never Need to Prepare At All

I love being optimistic. (I'm just not very good at it.) It is nice to look ahead and see only good things coming your way...unless of course, you are wrong.  I know that most of us hope we will never be in situations such as fire, natural disaster or medical emergency, and if we never have those problems, there is nothing to prepare for...right? 

Today's blog is an ongoing discussion into reasons we hate to get prepared.  The original blog can be found here and you can find links to each of the reasons below. 
  1. Preparing is expensive.
  2. Preparation takes time.
  3. Being prepared takes emotional energy.
  4. Getting prepared means I have to focus on negative situations.
  5. There is the chance I will never need to prepare at all.
I really do think most of us cannot fathom having some of these emergencies happen to us.  Emergencies are for "other" people...who ever they are. It is hard to imagine needing to evacuate.  It is hard to wrap your head around losing a loved one. It is strange to think of disasters of any kind landing on our doorstep, unless of course it happens to you.

Right now, all across the United States we have tens of thousands of people who are dealing with unthinkable situations.  They are dealing with flooding, wildfires, loss of infrastructure, and loss of power.  Hurricanes, tropical storms, wildfires, drought, and excessive heat are all happening at the same time.  My guess is we have a lot of people who never thought they would have these issues. 

Just for a moment, let's imagine you chose to do no preparation.  Now let's assume you were in the north eastern United States when the hurricane hit.  I want you to answer a few questions.
  1. Did you have enough food to last the 5-7 days you were without power and stores were not open?
  2. Did you have enough batteries for flashlights?
  3. Did you have enough medication to wait until the pharmacy's computers were back up?
  4. Did your home flood?  If so, were you able to leave safely and did you have a place to go?
  5. Did you have flood insurance? Could you contact your agent?
  6. Did anyone get hurt? Were you able to get them medical treatment?
  7. Were you able to notify your family/contact list that you were safe?
I'm sure I could ask many more questions, but the point is a little preparation could have made each of those questions easy to answer.   While there is a chance you will never have to deal with these issues, is it really worth waiting for the flood to find out you were wrong?

I know many of us are overwhelmed by all of this, and if taken as one big preparation task, yes it can be very overwhelming.  Taking it one step at a time can make it all a little easier to handle.  You don't have to think about the emotions of a flood, only the things you need to do to make it easier when/if it happens.  Doing a single thing at a time will get you prepared, and sometimes that preparation is the difference between riding out the storm and being in trouble.

So get up and go get can do it!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Frantic Friday #28 - Preparing to Relax

I don't know about you, but for me, relaxation takes preparation.  I can't relax if I have things left undone. My mind spins, I feel uneasy and it takes a long time for me to let it go.

With a three day weekend just in front of me, I realize I am looking forward to family time and relaxation.  I'm thinking a few hours in the pool with the kids (the doc decided not to cast my arm after the break, yippee!) and some burgers sounds wonderful.

In order to make that happen I need to make sure the pool is clean, that we have hamburger meat and that I have the goodies to go along with everything.  I also need to know my duties around the house are caught up and I have prepped for next week.

Wow!  Who knew relaxation could be so tiring??

I do find it funny when I think about how many parts of our lives need preparation.  It is true, I could forget a lot of these things and just 'wing it' but honestly I doubt I would enjoy myself very much.  So I am off to prepare for relaxation...and I am so excited!