Over the weekend, our country celebrated its birthday. So Meera, my trusty Great Dane, and I went down to the riverfront to join in on the festivities! There were crowds, and vendors and kids everywhere. Meera was in heaven! She loves all the attention she gets when we go to these events. And I enjoy the live bands, so it's usually a win-win. We find a nice spot to stand so I can dance in place to the music and she can wait patiently for kids and adults to come up to pet her, marvel at her size and compliment her on her demeanor. She loves every moment of it. She is patient and doesn't even slobber on people. She has to watch the tail every once in a while... but other than that, she is a most congenial festival-goer.
This year I noticed that when people came up to us, they would talk directly to Meera and not to me. It's only when Meera didn't respond to their questions that they'd finally turn to me for answers.
I met up with a few friends and while we were standing around, the people who would come up to pet Meera, would ask my FRIENDS about MY dog! I'm holding the leash and everything! As if I wasn't even there. They would ask my friends the "owner questions" like, how old, boy or girl, what breed, can we pet her...
Wouldn't you think to ask the one holding the leash those questions?? Me too, but everyone directed their questions else where.
So, the experiment continued. I handed the leash over to one of my friends to see if the questioning varied. NO! They STILL asked them instead of ME!! HELLO!! I'm the Momma!! So I stood watching my friends be the dog owner... it was weird.
But it got even worse! When my friends didn't know the answer to the questions they would look to me and I would answer them! The "petters" waited for the answer to come back through the friend, and then acted like it was the first time they heard the information. Sometimes, my friends would even say, "It's her dog." and they STILL wouldn't look to me! I have never felt so invisible in all my life!! I've always thought I was approachable. I try to be kind and friendly. I'm available to answer Great Dane questions... Big dog questions, good with kids questions... It was the weirdest thing. Even my friends were starting to see the reality of it so, it wasn't just in my head!
It turned into the joke of the evening, and even while Meera was attached to my wrist, I concentrated on the music and my friends socialized with the dog-folks that came up to Meera.
Who ever said bringing your pet to the park is the best way to meet people was obviously not invisible!
Ah, Valentine's Day... the holiday of love... How can you go wrong with a holiday like that? I was surprised to find out how just the opposite is true! There is more passionate debate about this holiday, it seems that saying "Merry Christmas" over "Happy Holidays!" In talking with people, it is definitely a love/hate kind of thing. You either love it or hate it.
I, personally, love it. My philosophy is all about loving one another, so how could I possibly be against it? The comments I am hearing are a lot from singles. Why should they like Valentine's Day when they don't have a sweetheart to call their own? And others are just upset at the sheer commercialism of it all.
Having my own blog has it perks every once in a while and this is one of them. I get to have my own happy way and get up on my soapbox and say what I want. You are welcome to continue reading, in fact I encourage it, but if you don't want to, it won't hurt my feelings! This is my room and you are welcome here, but brace yourself, I'm going to defend one of my favorite holidays...
My argument is this. People choose to celebrate holidays in different ways. Why should this one be any different? And who cares if it was created to generate more business for the card and floral industries, in any other text that would be called good business! And no one ever said it is just for couples! The holiday is about love! But let's face it, ladies, sometimes men need a little help showing their affection in different ways. And Valentine's Day makes gift-giving a no-brainer! You can't go wrong and marketing won't let you forget!! It's a win-win.
And let me address the argument that "if the men don't get just the right thing, or they forget all together, it causes strain in the relationship." Well, it's not the holiday that did that. That goes a little deeper than only one day a year. Men love this holiday just as much as the women! More proposals happen on this day than any other holiday. Every store and even every gas station is geared so men- who want to make even the tiniest effort- can't possibly mess it up! One holiday shouldn't be able to have the power to make or break a relationship. If it does, there were problems before February 14th came around.
"It's just another reason for men to have to spend money. And if they don't spend the right amount, it makes them look bad." Again, I say, read the above paragraph. It shouldn't be about the money. I know a thoughtful gift that didn't cost much would mean more than a gift that took no thought at all. Anyone can purchase a dozen roses (and believe me, I love cut flowers as much as the next girl) but if she hates roses, you have missed your mark. But a gift showing her that you KNOW her, is priceless. A letter, is one of the most romantic things that is a lost art anymore. A special outing to someplace you know she would like. Or someplace completely new that will create new memories. It's not about the money, boys. Gifts don't have to cost a fortune to be special. But yes, it's more than the thought that counts! A little action, please.
"You shouldn't have to have a holiday to tell someone you love them." No, and you shouldn't have to have a day to remind you to rejoice in the Lord either, but we do. And we commercialize the heck out of it too! It's a fun day!! Stop trying to make it more than what it is! Yes, you should love your people every day and yes, you should show them in some way or another so they constantly feel loved, but some people need this day to kick their people into gear! Some women have to wait all year to get a bouquet of flowers sent to their job letting all the office know that her man loves her. And if it takes that one day to make her feel that joy, so be it! You're relationship is a daily work in progress. Valentine's Day is an EXTRA day of love and showing love and remembering why you love, and love for the sake of loving.
"Companies like Hallmark and jewelry stores and florists profit ten fold during this time of year!" And your point is??? You don't have to buy a card from Hallmark... it's still freedom of choice around here. No one complains that Budweiser takes up a huge chunk of the Superbowl! But have a Hallmark commercial make you cry and you boycott a holiday? And talk about a price mark-up!! Anyone who has bought ANYTHING from the ball park during a game has felt the sting of ten-fold profit!! But we buy it anyway. Every holiday has its share of price mark-ups. It too, is the American way. We pay more for gas over the three day weekends, we pay more money for a fir tree thats going to die in a month, we pay a fortune for eggs... EGGS! because we want to paint them pretty colors, but only in April. This holiday is no different.
Thanks to our American commercialism, we have taken a small drinking holiday that didn't even belong to us and turned it into a major party to where the nation is allowed to be Irish for a day and wear green to be protected from pinching! And only in America can we glorify lucky clovers and leprechauns and green tinted food. I don't hear that holiday getting any flack. And yes, the price of beer, ham, cabbage, green beaded necklaces and anything green goes up ten-fold in price!
"I'm single, so it's just another day." It doesn't have to be. It amazes me how many people let this holiday that stands for love, throw them into depression! What is that all about?? It's just a day! It doesn't define who you are! Goodness! And it's not just for couples! Love your friends with little tokens of appreciation. Love your children with candies and goodies and cards. Love your pup with a heart-shaped rawhide. Love your mate with heart-shaped pancakes and flowers and love notes. Heck love your waitress a little extra with a bigger tip. I haven't had a Valentine in years but it doesn't makes me love this holiday any less. Maybe there will be one in my future, maybe there won't. But I enjoy having the "excuse" (and the ease) of spoiling those I care for with a whole day of love!
We shouldn't have to be told to love each other, but thank goodness we have a holiday to do just that. So quit your bah-humbugging and get out there and show some love!
Stepping off my soapbox now... we will now return to your regular blog-posts... Thank you....
The Christmas season is an excellent time of year to pour love out on everyone you come in contact with! For some reason, during this time of year, people are more generous and giving than in other times. And people are more accepting of love and displays of affection than in other times of the year. I can tell you, I get away with hugging more people in December than in any other month! And yes, I abuse the privilege!
So don't miss out on your opportunity to share in the pleasure of giving love to others. Here's just a few suggestions to get you started...
1. Donate to a charity in someone's name. There are so many worthwhile causes out there and some people are uncomfortable accepting gifts so this is the perfect solution!
2. Baked Goods. Give the gift of homemade cakes or cookies or other yummy snacks. And as an extra bonus, spend the day making the treats with someone you love!
3. Tell someone something you admire about them. Everyone enjoys hearing a kind word. "Love the way you share with your sister." "Great Customer service today!" "I love when you read our kids a story before bed. You're creating great memories."
4. Invite a friend out for coffee. Get to know them better over a steamy cup of java or hot chocolate.
5. Leave someone a secret encouraging note! Make their day when they find a note saying something thoughtful like, "Way to go on that project!" or "Thanks for cleaning your room without being told!" or "Just wanted to tell you that I'm proud of you for all of your hard work."
6. Make some homemade Christmas cards and take them to the patients in a local hospital or send them to our soldiers that are stationed overseas.
7. Ask what the best part of their day has been, and then listen! Don't interrupt!
8. Remind someone how much you enjoy having them in your life.
10. Actions speak louder than words! Do it! Don't just say it! If you've been promising to do something, now's the time!
11. Do something unexpected. Bring donuts into work. Clean the ice off the neighbor's car. Take out the trash. Offer to cook dinner.
12. Pay it Forward. Participate in random acts of kindness. Donate toys, food or money to a good holiday benefit. Pay for a stranger's meal or coffee. Give a random person a gift. Volunteer.
13. Gift a small gift... just cause.
14. Smile! Look people in the eye!
15. Say it! "I care for you." "I love you." "You are special to me." "You're amazing just the way you are."
16. Pass on the gift of music. Donate new cd's to the children's ward at a hospital or church or just some stranger walking down the street! Do you play an instrument? Can you carry a tune? Go and sing/play for a senior living center or hospital or even on a street corner!
17. Watch a favorite holiday movie with someone special.
18. Put your phone away and ask questions. Get some one-on-one time with each member of your family or a close friend or a co-worker or someone sitting alone at the airport.
19. Enjoy the Christmas light displays either by walking, driving or carriage ride!
20. Buy ANYTHING a child is selling! If they took the time and the courage to ask you... buy. You'll do wonders for their self-esteem! (Parents! Don't do it FOR them!)
Christmas is a magical time of year. Take advantage of it and share the love! Happy holidays everyone!
Chime in! What are some things you do for the holidays to show others that you care? Comment below! I'd love to hear your feedback!
The topic of being grateful is one that I feel is so vital, that I touch on it in every one of my seminars and workshops. I call it the Attitude of Gratitude. It's a way of thinking that impacts your whole life. Not just for one day a year but all 365. Whether I am speaking to children, parents, teens, couples, or co-workers, gratitude is a topic that has the power to change the attitude and atmosphere of a relationship. Any relationship. And even the way we think and feel about ourselves. Of course, this seems to be the perfect time of year to blog about it. In fact, I think you might be a little disappointed in me if I blogged about anything BUT thankfulness this close to the holiday with Thanks in its title.
Thanksgiving is a time for families and feasting and while the commercialized version of the holiday spawned from football and kicking off the Christmas season, let's take it back to what WE have come to celebrate Thanksgiving for. Being thankful and giving thanks.
You know, this isn't just a once a year thing, though. You could get those warm fuzzy feelings all throughout the year. In fact I encourage it. When we put on a thankful attitude, it takes the edge off of the negative things that are thrown at us on a daily basis. The harsh realities of life don't sting nearly as bad when we can reflect how good we really have it. How "easy", by comparison, our lives really are. There is and always will be someone that is worse off than we are or have a more difficult life. Having an attitude of gratitude makes our hard times a little easier to get through.
Tell them. Show your appreciation. Literally, Give. Thanks. It's something that we take for granted. People do nice things for us all the time and we pay little attention to it. Make it your habit to show thanks. And when someone shows you grace, or forgiveness or an unexpected kindness, make sure they know that you know. This is often overlooked in the home and the workplace, but when you change your perspective, and take the extra time to see that there are good people around you doing nice things let them know you appreciate it. Even if the nice thing wasnt' for you! If you "catch" someone being nice to someone else, acknowledge their kindness and thank them for it.
Look at it this way. When you do something nice for someone, and they are sincerely grateful if they let you know it, you are more likely to do nice things for them again in the future. Because it feels good to be appreciated. And so it goes, back to the old rule "you reap what you sow" "you get what you give". Give thanks and more will be given to you to be thankful for.
Keep Score! Having a tough time getting started? Just try and thank ten people for something every day. Let the words just come out of your mouth. It may feel awkward at first, but soon, you'll find yourself being thankful for even the tiniest things.
If you are having find yourself running out of people to thank, start texting! Emailing! Snail mail! Mom is an easy one, you could just thank her for being "mom". Thank your co-workers for their great job! Thank your friends for just being there. Thank your family for years and years of putting up with you. Thank our soldiers for keeping us safe and letting us live a life of freedom.
When it's all said and done and you have a few months of ten thank-you's a day, let me tell you, that feels pretty good. It gives you a glimpse at the "bigger picture" when you are thankful for all the paint brush strokes it took to create it. Just try it. You'll thank me later!
Being thankful is to take the time to realize all the wonderful things you have in your life. Right down to the air in your lungs, the blood pumping through your veins and even the sun shining in the sky.
It is so easy for us to be harsh with ourselves and the world around us. We have grown into a bitter and judgmental society. We complain about the things we don't have and it never seems like we have enough. When you look at life in that way, it's true, you WILL never have enough. But for all the things you think you are lacking, what someone else would gladly give for the things that you have and don't appreciate. The shoes on your feet. The roof over your head. The food that you're throwing away because you just can't eat another bite.
So when you look at yourself in the mirror and focus on all your flaws take just a moment to think of how lucky you are to have a body that functions and takes you places. How you're home may not have the finest furnishings but it keeps you warm and safe. How you may have to eat the same left-overs for the third day in a row, but you have food to eat to keep you healthy.
I am certainly not trying to paint a morbid picture here. Quite the opposite. So many people think that it has to be something big before we can feel thankful- a huge spread of food on that chilly November holiday, a big promotion, a new purchase- but it's the little things. Every day.
You are a wonderful person and there are so many wonderful things about you that I bet you forget about it. I am thankful that you are who you are so I can just concentrate on being lil ol me. Appreciate you. Appreciate your talents and skills and personality. Be thankful that you have gotten this far in life and that you have faced any number of trials and tribulations to make you who you are today. I am thankful for you. I am thankful that you have found me and are reading my works and have allowed me to touch your life in whatever capacity. You be thankful for you, too. Because without you, someone would be very sad.
And while you are rolling your eyes and checking your watch while your in-laws quibble, or your grandpa falls asleep on the couch and snores, or your crazy uncle wants to tell you about his newest, greatest... thing; while your aunt wants to love and kiss on you with her slobbery lips and while the conversation may bore you to tears, remember; these are your people. Your family. This is where you come from. Find something- even if you have to dig deep- to appreciate about them. Keep looking. It's there. They are the only family you have. And no one lasts forever. Find it. Appreciate it for yourself and then... tell them.
Keep Score! As you lay your head down on your comfy pillow tonight take a moment to think of all the things you can be thankful for. The big things, the little things even the tiniest of things. Change your perspective. See the world as a place that's always trying to do good for you and to you!
While I am grateful for this once a year reminder I am hopeful that it jumpstarts your perspective to be thankful and give thanks every day. (Oh yes, and you know that the "Give love, get love every day of every year" is coming for the next whopper of a holiday, so hold on to your hearts, cause it's-a comin!)
In the meantime friends, have a wonderful, healthy, happy, fulfilling Thanksgiving holiday!!
You're turn! What are you thankful for? What can you give thanks for that you didn't notice before? How can you change your perspective at the workplace, at school or at home to be more thankful?
Please share and comment below!
There's just something about getting the ba-jeezes scared out of you. In a controlled environment, of course! And tonight is the night! The kids are all coming over with an assortment of scary movies so we can be terrified in the safety of Momma's house!
Which begs the question, which are your favorite scary movies? It's too late to influence our decision for tonight, but it's still relatively early in October and I'm sure we can squeeze in a few more movie nights before the season is over. Because at the end of October, all bets are off! No more scaring the Momma! We move on to Charlie Brown and Santa Clause! But for the next couple weeks, the dark side prevails!!! So give me your favorites!
After we decided on our movies, the topic turned to; what scares you? For me it's clowns... hate those things. Even when I was a kid I'd steer clear of them! Spiders, heights, and snakes also came up for us. "Anything that can kill you in one bite!" my Thomas added.
It's fun to enjoy the creepy holidays with the teens! Thriller by Michael Jackson sounds just a little cooler around this time of year, pumpkin flavored anything is in season, hoodies, apple cider and bonfires are the call to action! Embrace your fears for a short time and let it be okay to hide behind your pillows and peek out from behind your blankies and lets not forget the ultimate excuse to squeeze a little closer to the ones you love! Scary movie night! Gotta love it!!
Chime in on your Halloween favorites below!! What scares you??