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Inspirational

        In Africa, they have a saying. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”        

  
     
    
       
        
           
                
           
        

        

       
    
     
  


          This saying has crossed my path many times but I was inspired to write about it when I heard it again last week. Researching this quote brought me to many incredible articles and blogs that spun directly off the message. Most of the articles went deep into team building; political analogies regarding government allies; and a myriad of other interesting and thought provoking topics. I am more interested in the quote and how it impacts us as individuals on a daily basis and regular activities. I have often caught myself saying, “It’s so much easier if I just do it myself.” I have witnessed young parents attempting to get their child dressed and suddenly grab the laces of the child’s shoes and say, “Here, let me help you with this, we need to hurry.” I have frequently overheard one employee say to another co-worker, “I don’t have time to teach you how to do this right now; it’s easier if I do this myself.” The more time we “waste” doing things ourselves the more quickly frustration and stress builds up in our bodies. Suddenly, thinking we have to do things on our own becomes a feeling of resentment; we feel as if we’re “always” left to do things on our own. We will travel farther on this incredible journey of life when we invest the time to do things "with" others who are traveling with us.       I remember working in this one office where I was the first person who was called upon to fix the copier when it jammed. I didn’t have the time to teach anyone else how to repair the machine; “it was easier to do it myself.” More and more jams in the copier left me feeling resentful; they were left feeling inadequate. Finally investing the time to share my knowledge on "copier jams" was a win-win for everyone. Watching the confidence grow in a child as they accept more and more responsibility leaves a parent feeling more at peace with the knowledge their child is equipped to “survive” in the real world.    Turning a simple task that you may be able to get done more quickly can turn into a wonderful memory and treasured experience if you take the time to do it together.  “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  Thank you for going the distance with me. I look forward to your comments. 

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In Africa, they have a saying. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

     This saying has crossed my path many times but I was inspired to write about it when I heard it again last week. Researching this quote brought me to many incredible articles and blogs that spun directly off the message. Most of the articles went deep into team building; political analogies regarding government allies; and a myriad of other interesting and thought provoking topics. I am more interested in the quote and how it impacts us as individuals on a daily basis and regular activities. I have often caught myself saying, “It’s so much easier if I just do it myself.” I have witnessed young parents attempting to get their child dressed and suddenly grab the laces of the child’s shoes and say, “Here, let me help you with this, we need to hurry.” I have frequently overheard one employee say to another co-worker, “I don’t have time to teach you how to do this right now; it’s easier if I do this myself.” The more time we “waste” doing things ourselves the more quickly frustration and stress builds up in our bodies. Suddenly, thinking we have to do things on our own becomes a feeling of resentment; we feel as if we’re “always” left to do things on our own. We will travel farther on this incredible journey of life when we invest the time to do things "with" others who are traveling with us.

     I remember working in this one office where I was the first person who was called upon to fix the copier when it jammed. I didn’t have the time to teach anyone else how to repair the machine; “it was easier to do it myself.” More and more jams in the copier left me feeling resentful; they were left feeling inadequate. Finally investing the time to share my knowledge on "copier jams" was a win-win for everyone. Watching the confidence grow in a child as they accept more and more responsibility leaves a parent feeling more at peace with the knowledge their child is equipped to “survive” in the real world.

  Turning a simple task that you may be able to get done more quickly can turn into a wonderful memory and treasured experience if you take the time to do it together.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Thank you for going the distance with me. I look forward to your comments. 

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Viewer Discretion Advised...I'm a little naked in this blog

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Viewer Discretion Advised...I'm a little naked in this blog

     Following my rape and wrongful discharge from the Air Force in 1977, the “One Size Fits All” counseling I received never addressed the specific needs of a rape victim. Although they served me well at the age of nineteen, the skills I developed on my own turned out to be more damaging than I could have ever predicted. Anger and resentment were becoming familiar tastes in my mouth yet I masked them in a variety of artificial behaviors. Despite living a life that follows Jesus Christ and believing in absolution for the true believer, I had a silent wish for my rapist that was also harming me. Holding on to the desire for quiet revenge was etching a groove on my soul as it played over and over again.  I didn’t want my rapist to wait until the day he died to seek forgiveness; I silently hoped pain would befall him while he is here and alive on earth. I wanted him to know what it feels like to see someone in his family hurt. It’s this specific belief that turned into a coping skill that gave me peace until the day I was confronted head-on with love and compassion.

     I was traveling so frequently to speak and give seminars that close friendships near my home were very rare. Thankfully, I was at a neighborhood woman’s club meeting when I met a special woman and our personalities immediately clicked. Lunch was scheduled and we were both excited to get to know each other better and become friends. Sitting in the middle of the restaurant and anxious to discover all about the other, we started to laugh when we simultaneously began to ask the same questions. I said, “You go first and tell me all about yourself”. While she began to share and I asked questions, I felt the emotional earthquake begin in my soul. Her son is in prison for rape. I can hear her voice; I see her lips move; but, it’s the loud crumbling noise coming from the tumbling and collapse of my coping skills that is most distracting. In an earthquake I would have run to stand under a door frame but in my psyche there is no place to run; no table where I can crawl and hide. My physical senses were heightened and I became fixated with the texture of the white napkin draped across my lap. I thought I was going to rub a hole in the fabric as I rolled it between my thumb and finger tips. Suddenly the sound made by the droplets of water trickling down the outside of my water glass caught my attention. I watched her tears pour from her eyes and I felt the blood from my face as it drained down into my chest; leaving me pasty and pale. The cold groves etched by years of misdirected coping were softened while she shared her pain and heartache; I could never wish harm upon her. It was clear to me she was also a victim and like me, she was suffering. It is this exact moment where our two worlds collide with incredible force. 

     I sat motionless and contemplated how far I was willing to open myself up to her. It doesn’t matter if someone is in physical or emotional pain; I am overwhelmingly driven to give them comfort. My way of comforting usually starts with a touch; I wanted to touch her; I needed to touch her and wipe away her tears. I was prepared to use this opportunity to share my experience of rape and reach out to touch her hand but then she says, “It really bothers me when a women claims rape and they actually haven’t been.” It was all I could do to resist falling back upon my outdated coping skill and closing myself off to a new friendship. Thankfully I used this opportunity to heal two hearts at one time. With one deep breath I was filled with the courage to reach across the table and take her hand. To this day, I am amazed by how quickly the tear drops streaming down my face turned into rivers and poured out my heart to my new friend. It was such a joy to finally shatter and adjust a misaligned coping skill.

     I have a great compassion and true understanding for the nineteen year old girl who lives inside me. I accept that my private bitterness “was” a coping skill I needed “at that time” to survive; I was doing the best I could to make it through a day. I have been very good friends with this woman for over a decade; we smile and reminisce about the specific moment we looked at each other across the table and found such a common bond.

     Take a moment to review the defenses and walls you’ve built up due to a bad experience. Open yourself up to discover who you are “today” and see if your old beliefs still benefit you. Be willing to explore and change who you are today and who you want to be tomorrow…….you are likely to make a new friend.

I really look forward to your comments.


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It's called "Giving" not "Trading"!

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It's called "Giving" not "Trading"!

I’m going to go out on a limb….

     Today’s blog is prompted by the beautiful Christmas tree standing in the corner of my family room. In comparison to most trees, mine is small but the trunk is solid and dozens of limbs stretch out from this core. Even more branches expand from this point with needles shooting out like little bursts; bursts of hope. “Hope” is the perfect word to use when thinking about the limbs of a tree. Hope is similarly expressed when someone says, “I’m going to go out on a limb”.  There are two different interpretations for the phrase; both involve risk and hope. The first is when I go out on a limb for someone; when I'm willing to put myself in a precarious situation to help them out. It means I’m going to risk my reputation and I hope they do me proud; make me look good while they achieve their dream. The other meaning is to "take a wild guess or express an opinion that might not be shared by others".  It means I’m going take the risk and liberty to express a thought; hoping I don’t cross a line and offend someone. Risk and hope! Just like the tree, when you reach out from your core and give with heart, honesty and sincerity, it will shoot out and spread to others.

"Lighten Up and taste all that life offers."

"Lighten Up and taste all that life offers."

     Imagine all the good that will be created this holiday season if we all went out on a limb for someone else. Take a chance and help a co-worker or family member who would benefit from your support and kindness. Do this without expectation of anything in return. Do you remember when someone took a chance on you? It’s time to give back.

The meaning of “True Giving” means to give without expectation; it’s called “giving” not “trading”. Give without expectation.

 

Open up your arms; we are far more beautiful when we are reaching out!

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Learning To Ride!

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Learning To Ride!

"You Can't Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar." This is a book title from the Sandler Sales Institute. I like the title because it's a great analogy for life. You can only learn so much from books, classes and other people; there comes a time when you just have to get on and ride.

 A similar point can be made when we are trying to obtain our Learner’s Permit to drive a car. First we have the formal classroom to learn about the traffic codes, laws and vehicle operation. The fun part comes when we actually sit behind the wheel and apply what we’ve learned from the books and instructor. When we actually drive, we are in control of where we want to go and what we want to see and experience. “Truly” living isn’t much different than learning to drive a car or riding a bike. We learn from others as they share their personal experiences; this is similar to the instructor and it’s educational but not experiential.  “Truly” enjoying life and learning from it comes from getting out there and just doing it.

One of the beautiful things about “living” is that we continue to learn and grow. Life is full of lessons and most of them come at the most unexpected and inopportune times. I use the word “inopportune” because we frequently say, “Now? Why did this have to happen now?”

I had the pleasure of meeting a beautiful young woman last week who is in the middle of a rough patch in life. While being only in her early teens, her father passed away last year and she is having some challenging days with his absence. We had a great conversation about whether or not “everything” happens for a reason. We also questioned whether or not “everything” has a lesson to it. It’s my opinion that lessons and learnings don’t always come in the way of enlightenment and joy; some come in the way of struggles and sorrow. Some of them have been clear and obvious while others have been obscure and hidden. For me, the most challenging lessons are the ones that don't come with answers the moment I seek them....I "want" an immediate understanding. One day I realized that the delay I was experiencing in learning a lesson was also a lesson in and of itself. While waiting years to gain understanding on "why" certain things were happening, I realized that this “was” my lesson. I was learning patience. I had to come to terms with the fact that not everything happens for a reason. At least it didn't happen for a reason that I was supposed to understand. I simply had to have "faith" that it was part of a bigger plan for me; it was all part of my journey. I had to have "faith" that God knows what was better for me than what I think is best for myself. But...but...but this is "MY" life!  Shouldn't I have a say so in what happens in "MY" life? Then I realized that I DO. I have 100% control on my attitude and how "I" was going to respond to the experiences that occur in "MY" life. Similar to the saying, “You can’t help the cards you’ve been dealt; only the cards you play.”

We can choose our attitude as easily as we can choose to get on the bike or behind the wheel. We can choose to play it safe and only read about travel; finding a new career; moving on to a new location or moving outside of our typical comfort zone. We can play it safe and not reach out to feel love again after we have been hurt, or we can get on the bike and ride. We can choose to live in fear and anticipate every negative card and experience in life that will probably be dealt to us; or we can learn from the lessons and continue on our journey with optimism and appreciation.

Me… I’m opting to get on the bike and ride. Life can’t be lived in a seminar or through an instruction manual, but it most certainly can be enjoyed through the ride. Care to join me?


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Changing of Seasons

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Changing of Seasons

Slumber parties rekindled!

          I usually write to you from my home in the Napa hills of California, but this week is much different; I’m in the beautiful state of Oklahoma. I am surrounded by tall, mature trees that are revealing their brilliant colors of autumn; it’s breathtaking. It’s time for the trees to change their appearance and move through the seasons of their life. It’s a joy to witness their transition from summer to fall. My usual scenery of the vineyards below has been exchanged for an incredible view of a pristine lake; my typical view of hummingbirds has been replaced with swarms of pelicans and cormorants. More important than the view which surrounds me is the company I am blessed to have on this visit. I am staying in the home of my childhood friend Nina and her husband Ted. Nina and I have been friends from the budding age of five where we shared graham crackers and milk in kindergarten. I haven’t had milk on this visit but the wine has been wonderful.  

          Friendships develop from so many different circles and cycles in our lives. I have friendships that developed from my work and friends that are couple connections for me and my husband. I have independent social friendships and connections made through social media. Each of these relationships stands alone and impacts me on different levels. However, it is the friends from my childhood that have a unique connection to my soul; this conduit can never be replaced. We know each other’s family; we know the struggles and joys we had as children; we slept over each other’s homes where we often returned back to our own home in the middle of the night because we became frightened. We know the names of each other’s pets and recall the tears of their passing. We have been shaped by these details and sharing these memories is done on an intimate level. It doesn’t matter if we became disconnected or lost contact for more than a decade or two, we are brought back together the moment we reconnect. It is as if the time apart never existed and we are again warmed by the affection.

          Remembering how hungry we were to turn sixteen and get our driver’s license makes me laugh. It seemed as if we couldn’t age fast enough; now we are ageing too fast. We didn’t know back then that becoming an adult would bring with it, the strains of commitment, debt and responsibility. Reuniting with these friends of my childhood unites the sweet childlike innocence with the mature responsible adult. Why must life be such a tug of war? The child in us wants to age faster and the aging adult wants to hold tightly to our youth. This tug of war makes me realize that it is much easier to simply enjoy where I am at this very moment. The conflict of young and old makes me more appreciative of my current age. Regardless, reuniting with old friends who have been with us through the awkward and growing years is beautiful. Appreciating the memories we shared while we each developed the core that holds us strong today with the added weight of responsibility is priceless.

          It is only appropriate that I sit among these changing colors and witness the changing of the seasons. Like me, as the seasons of life change, the colors become more vibrant with age.

 

Thank you Nina & Ted for a wonderful visit.


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You are the "Bomb!"

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You are the "Bomb!"

It couldn’t have been easy having a Mom who was a Motivational Speaker…..and was sometimes seen as being “kind of out there”.

I tried my best to exercise self-restraint while attending the sporting events of our son Austin. For almost two decades, I tried everything within my power to sit still. I even tried sitting on my hands to see if that would help. Gathered around me on the bleachers were other Moms who were poised, in control and non-emotional. On my part, this lack of exuberance only lasted about ten minutes. It burst out of control when “our” Little League Coach used foul language toward “our” boys. “Catch the damn ball”, he cried out to one boy. Next he shouted to another boy, “What the hell is wrong with you?”…… I was never a cheerleader and unless I was on stage speaking at a convention or conducting a training workshop, I quietly participated in activities. However, in this case, I didn’t care. I’ll always respect the call of an Umpire and the leadership style of a Coach, but there was no excuse for bad or negative language toward anyone; especially not eight year old boys. As I leaped off the bleachers and ran onto the field to address the Coach, I knew I was never going to be a “bench warming Mom”. The Coach tried to tell me that he didn’t use the word, “Damn” and he insisted he used the word, “Tham”. Really? He expected us to believe that “Tham” is a word. I knew I had the attention of the parents when I told the coach, “If you want us to believe this, then you’re really YUCKED-UP.” That was the day I revealed my deeper “Mom” spirit.

Regardless of being the only mother who applauded with exuberance; complimented the other team when they were exceptional; and always inspired our team, I knew it had to make our son uncomfortable. He never said a word to me about wishing I’d hold back or wanting me to be more reserved like the robot Moms who sat beside me. I tried with all my might to bite my tongue and not regularly offer words of encouragement. Then one day, our team was way behind in the score. It was the eighth inning and I heard shouts coming from the dugout of our team. The boys were yelling, “Go get Austin’s Mom….she can help us win”.

As Austin grew older and much larger, baseball turned into football and the crowds on the bleachers grew larger too. The parents and cheerleaders were supportive when the team was winning; not when they were behind. It was a major playoff game and our team was behind. The parents were quiet and I stood up and shouted out to the crowd, “This is when our team needs us the most. Stand up!” No one did.  This is the moment when MY power shifted. I spotted Austin on the field and I yelled out to him. “Austin! Austin!” Quite a few seconds pass and he didn’t move. I wasn’t sure if he was purposefully trying to ignore me or if he truly didn’t hear me. Suddenly, he turned around and looked up at me in the stands. Among all the other parents who had slumped into a sea of disappointment on the bleachers, I was the only one standing up. Again I shouted, “Austin, you know you have what it takes to turn these guys around. Get in there and do what you know you can do. They believe in you…like we do.” As he turned away from me, he pulled off his helmet and dropped it on the field. My heart sunk as I thought I had embarrassed him beyond repair. Slowly he turned around to face his team-mates. He turned his palms up toward the sky and reached out to his sides. He ran out to the rest of the players and clapped his hand up and down over his head. He motivated them to get the applause going and shift the energy up. He shouted words of encouragement and a few of the parents stood up and joined me in the bleachers. The energy and excitement was infectious and exhilarating. I’d love to tell you that they went on to win that game; but they didn’t. What they did win was a lot more than a game; they won their pride and discovered a unified spirit through their personal power.

Austin is twenty-nine years old and is a successful businessman. Last night he was home for dinner and I had a beautiful conversation with him. It was his response to my apology that melted my heart.  I said, “Austin, it must have been difficult for you as a young boy, to have a Mom who was so out-there and shouting words of encouragement to everyone, regardless of the team they were on. I know I certainly felt the stares and looks from some of the other parents who sat properly on the benches. Some of them were careful to not sit too close. I guess they feared I was contagious. I am sorry if I ever embarrassed you; will you forgive me?” He reached across the table and extended me a fist pump and said, “I know exactly what you gave up for me Mom; I even knew back then. You need to know that according to me and all the other kids, you are always the bomb.”

Standing out in the crowd isn’t always easy. Being the positive voice in an office of negative comments or in a family that is full of doubt, can be a challenge. Sometimes you have to be the powerful yet polite voice for those who can’t speak up for themselves. Please stick with it…..believe in your heart that what you’re doing is coming from a place of optimism, encouragement and love.

And always, always trust that “You are the bomb”.

Annamarie

 




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                         Spilled Milk!                  "Worry, Regret's & Guilt"

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Spilled Milk! "Worry, Regret's & Guilt"

Please don’t tell me how to “feel”.

Have you ever shared your feelings of guilt with someone else? Have you ever been told, "Don't feel that way"? How about when you tell someone that you’re "worried", and again they say, “Don’t worry”.  My feelings are my feelings. Telling me “not” to have them or "don't feel them", isn’t going to work. Now, it’s a completely different story if we discuss “how” these negative feelings aren’t doing me any good. An even better idea is for us to talk about the different ways I can move forward and eliminate these feelings. I’m willing to listen; but telling me “not to feel” isn’t going to work.

Today’s blog topic has been created at the request of a few of you readers. Your requests inspire and fuel me to research, ponder on,….. and write. I enjoy it when you request a blog topic; it’s a great compliment. Your request tells me you’re interested in my thoughts and they help me to learn. You have given me a great gift. Thank you.

Let me begin by saying that I worry; I have regrets; and I have feelings of guilt for some of the pain I have caused others by my actions. However, I do my best not to allow these feelings take away my enjoyment of life today or my dreams for tomorrow. I say that “I do my best” because it’s a constant work in progress. I am forever learning, growing and evolving. To tell myself or someone else, “Don’t feel that way”, isn’t going to help. Please note that I refer to worry, regret and guilt as “feelings” and not “emotions”. A newborn baby isn't capable of experiencing the feelings of worry, regret or guilt. Through my research, I’ve enjoyed the references of emotions differently than feelings. I can take ownership of my feelings; I’m responsible. When I’m responsible, I can change and evolve.

When left unattended, worry, regret and guilt are absolutely useless feelings; yet, we allow them to bind us up in psychological and emotional knots. These knots block joy, love and laughter from entering our life while they increase stress and “dis-ease”. From “dis-ease” come diseases. Blood pressure will rise, digestion will cease to work property and a host of ailments will develop. When we take worry and do something about it….ahhhhh, that’s another story. With a clearer understanding of its negative impact, worry can be reduced to a feeling of “concern”. Worry is an endless loop of negative thoughts; a hamster wheel of “dis-ease”. When you have a worry, write it down on a piece of paper. When you write it down, it can’t grow or keep spinning out of control. Looking at what you’ve written down, ask yourself this question. “Can I, and am I willing to do what it takes to change this situation?” If not, then agree that it is of no use to you and throw the paper away. If you can do something, then take the steps to do it. Write down what some of these steps are and you'll have a plan. Suddenly, your worry will be appropriately reduced to a “concern”. Concerns are manageable; worry is useless.

I utilize many props in my seminars and a tall glass of water comes in handy for my next demonstration. I replicate a story from another lecturer on the subject of stress management; it perfectly applies to the subject of worry, regret and guilt. Holding up a glass of milk that is half-full, I ask a question. Being an inspirational speaker, my audience suspects I’m going to ask if the glass is half-empty or half-full. Instead I surprise them by asking, “How heavy is this glass of milk?” Some people call out to me and say, “Half a pound to a pound.” They are surprised when I say, “The absolute weight of the glass doesn’t matter. The truth is, it depends on how long you try to hold it.” My audience listens attentively as I continue on to say, “If I hold the glass for about a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for thirty minutes to an hour, my arm will begin to ache and my muscles will burn from the discomfort.” It is when everyone is most attentive that I continue on to say, “This is the same way with stress, worry, regret and guilt. The longer we hold on to them, the heavier they become. Put them down.” 

Wallowing in feelings of guilt and regret weigh us down and prevent us from making changes to move forward. Guilt, like jealousy, will eat you from the inside out. Its purpose is to get our attention to make a change. Not all guilt is rational but the negative feelings we give it are always destructive. Make amends for your behaviors and the actions that caused you to feel guilty in the first place; then put it down.

I have this story to share about regret. The day I made the “elective” decision to remove my entire pancreas; spleen; duodenum; section of intestine; ½ stomach; gallbladder and too many other organs to mention in my digestive and endocrine system, was the day I vowed to never live with regrets of any kind. The pre-malignant tumor hadn’t turned malignant “yet”. I knew there was a possibility that it wouldn’t spread and yet, maybe it would. I had already lost eight family members to cancer of the pancreas and digestive systems. Knowing full well the life before me, that was laid out by the doctors, would be filled with complications and challenges, I focused on the word “life”. Regrets have no place in my life. Initially I was burdened by the statements of "What if". Most of these "what if" statements were presented to me by others. "But what if it never spreads?; What if you have the surgery and didn't need to be so radical?; What if you get in there and discover you're too late?" When making a change in my life, I've learned to do as much due diligence as I possibly can. Search my intellect and most importantly, search my heart. Make decisions and always live without regret.  

 Life, like time, can only go forwards. Join me and live with purpose, love and laughter! Wasting the precious days of life by worrying over and regretting the days of the past while you feel guilty, is like "Crying over spilled milk". Wipe it up and move forward.

 





 

 

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Are you "Fascinated" or "Frustrated"?

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Are you "Fascinated" or "Frustrated"?

The power of words has always intrigued me; especially the words we tell ourselves. Now, as a case in point, let me tell you about some words I told myself for many years.  With the start of each year I was inspired, motivated, and focused to get healthy. Without fail, I was successful in losing weight; only to gain it right back. Contributing to my lack of permanent success was my vocabulary. I was telling people, “I lost the weight”. When I think about it, I’ve never been happy to “lose” anything. When I was a young girl, I “lost” an Olympic commemorative coin. I made it my mission to find that coin; and I did, along with extra stuff. It made sense to me that when I tell people I “lost” my weight, my sub-conscious will help me find it; and it did, along with extra weight . Conversely, when I cleaned out a cluttered closet or a cabinet in the garage, the stuff remained GONE. I realized that I was telling people, I “got rid” of the junk. When I changed the words I was using, I was in more control and the weight stayed away. Yes, I “got rid” of the weight. I will continue to “get rid” of additional weight, and my attitude will always be lighter because of my vocabulary.  

With the very first awareness of their vocabulary, the participants in my seminars improve their attitudes.  Participants feel a powerful change in their outlook when they replace the word “frustrates” with “fascinates”. You may not be attending one of my workshops right now, but try it. Instead of being impacted negatively by the actions of someone else or the situation, you’ll be "curious" to find a solution. Changing from “frustrated” to “fascinated”, you have a desire to better understand. Have you ever said, “It really frustrates me how you think!” Instead you’ll say, “It really fascinates me…” At the very least, you’ll smile and not continue to fuel your frustration.

Try this exercise with something that currently “frustrates” you. Write it down.

 “It really frustrates me how………………….…”.

Can you think of solutions to this frustration?

Do you even feel the desire to come up with a possible solution?

Now, write that same situation down by saying,

“It really fascinates me how…………..….”.

Before you start to write down all the possible solutions to this situation, focus on your attitude. Notice your willingness to move in a positive direction. Recognize your new willingness to take the steps to improve the circumstance.

Now, write down the possible solutions to alleviate this situation. 

Look at the powerful change that comes from using the word “get” instead of “have”.

You’re sending a powerful message to your children when you tell them they “get” to do their homework, instead of “have” to do their homework. This little change also helps to teach gratitude and fuel a more appreciative attitude.

We “get” to go to work.  We “get” to go to the gym and get fit. We "get" to clean the house. We "get" to work in the yard. 

Do you ever feel “overwhelmed”? Simply saying the word “overwhelmed” will make you feel overwhelmed. Whenever I use the word "overwhelmed", I'm told that I run my hands run through my hair; spiking it up from root to tip. This gesture conveys to everyone how stressed I’m feeling. I've learned to change the word “overwhelmed” to “in demand”. Pause here for a moment and think about it. Feel the smile on your face when instead of saying, “I’m really overwhelmed lately” you'll say, “I’m really in demand lately”. Feeling "in demand" means we're wanted; we're needed; we're IN DEMAND. When we are “in demand” we are in control of ourselves. That is an extreme way for me to prove my point; but I did. You smiled. 



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"Live Like Someone Left the Gate Open"

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"Live Like Someone Left the Gate Open"

     The fact you landed on this page is a great sign YOU WANT MORE OUT OF YOUR LIFE. CONGRATULATIONS!

     The poster telling us to “Live Like Someone Left Gate Open” is something that makes me smile. Each of our interpretations of this saying is unique and personal. For me, the translation of this statement means to live life freely, openly, and without fear. I hear this statement to say, “Be open to exploration but not with reckless abandon or without consideration of the consequences.”  Living life with an inquisitive mind and spirit provides me with a journey that is rich with both excitement AND joy. I don’t believe this saying contradicts the other saying that, “There is No Place Like Home.” Living life with an adventuresome spirit and bold attitude doesn’t mean you’re dissatisfied with your home. It doesn’t mean that you want to run away. Living with the “gate left open,” means to have an open heart and to live life free of fear.

     I’ve just returned from a special vacation where we cruised to Belize, Honduras and Cozumel. It was fun to discover and experience new cultures, environments and cuisines. I was fascinated with conversations I had with other "cruisers" from around the United States. I was surprised to meet a couple who were on their sixty-second cruise with nine more scheduled by the end of the year. It wasn’t the number of cruises they had been on that I found so intriguing; it was the fact that they NEVER get off the ship at the ports to see the country. It is the fear of the unknown and the comfort of their cabin that keeps them from venturing outside of the ship.  To this couple, the port is like the front-door on a home. They aren’t comfortable in stepping outside the front-door; let alone living like the gate is left open.

     Gates not only keep us locked inside; they keep others locked out. Our mental gates and closed-minded thoughts keep us confined. Opening our hearts and minds to discover new points of view, is also living life more fully. Open your mind to new adventures, experiences AND points of view.

     Take a moment to look at the gates that have you trapped. Ask yourself, “What would I do differently if I had the freedom to do anything at all?” "Where would I go?" "What would I experience?" "Who would I talk to?" Now, it’s important to stop and “Feel” the excitement in your body as you dream about living outside of the gate. Stop and “Feel” the lighthearted joy that fills you. This thinking promotes healing. Let your thoughts travel freely and heal.

     Live with excitement and enthusiasm….. “Live Like Someone Left the Gate Open”

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Cutting the Ropes Around YOUR Ankles

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Cutting the Ropes Around YOUR Ankles

It starts with a small elephant and a big rope. You know the story, it's how humans control an animal that is greater than us in both size and strength. When a young elephant is being trained, a thick and heavy rope binds it to a spike in the ground. It may struggle for a while but eventually it gives up the fight. The baby elephant learns to live within the limits and confines of the rope. It can only reach out as far as the length of the rope will allow. Obviously, humans can't overpower a large elephant; but when the baby elephant has been trained in this manner, physical strength has no bearing. The elephant is controlled by his own limiting thoughts. It has convinced himself that the pulling of the rope and the resistance is stronger than his own strength. It gives up in defeat. Now, as a mature and large elephant, a simple string around his leg will provide all the control necessary to keep it restrained, restricted and mentally imprisoned. 

I'm sitting here looking at my ankles and I don't see any strings, yet I know I'm bound by some limiting thoughts. There aren't a lot of them but still, I know they exist. Many of these thoughts have been self-imposed and others have been unintentionally placed by influential people who have crossed my path in life. These limiting thoughts are more apparent when I look at my dreams and desires. When I take one of these dreams and go through the steps to turn them into a goal, SNAP-- there goes the jerk and  pull from the rope of doubt and insecurity. Now, as a case in point, let's look at this very blog. I continued to tell myself that "I'm not a writer, I'm a speaker." For over five years I wanted to write a book but the tug of the limiting thought kept me from achieving my dream. I discovered the weakness in the rope that bound me by asking, "Who told you that you aren't a writer Annamarie? What was the motive for telling you this?" Imagine my surprise to discover that It was actually me who told myself that I wasn't a writer. I discovered that it was my own personal motivation to inspire myself as a speaker and not to limit myself as a writer. I didn't intend to bind myself up; and yet I did. Little unobtrusive thoughts constantly cross our minds. Consciously we give them little regard but our sub-conscious is listening loud and clear. 

Take a look at your dreams and listen closely to hear the sound from old ropes that tug, bind and limit you. Some of the limiting thoughts may sound like, "You're too old for that." "You tried that once and it didn't work out then." "It's not worth it." "Why bother." "You'll never be able to....." Cut those ties and replace them with positive and constructive comments that free you to reach out past the length of your ropes. Take a look at "why" the rope was put there in the first place and free yourself. Be aware of the comments you tell yourself and what you recklessly say to others; especially children. You are an influential person in the lives of others and what you say can bind them or set them free to reach incredible heights. Your positive words are the fuel to strengthen and encourage a young personality. Speak with intention and thoughtfulness.

I am a writer; a storyteller; and a speaker of words. I may not be on the stage right now but I'm having fun between performances. When on stage, one of my greatest rewards is to see the look on someones face when we connect and share "a moment" of oneness. Your comments and questions are now my connection. 

Look at your dreams and cut anything that binds and prevents you from flying. Free yourself up to move toward your dreams; establish a goal; and achieve success. The thoughts that limit you...they aren't real.  Fly!




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Give yourself a little credit...

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Give yourself a little credit...

I can actually “feel” the tension in the tone of her request. “Annamarie, I need your help.” Instantly I’m put on edge and I respond with a willingness to do whatever I can to assist her. Her request was easy from my perspective. All I needed to do was drive to a garden that is close to my home and "hopefully" find something she has lost. She had been working in this garden to get it ready for an up-coming wedding and was already back in her own home that is quite far away.  It was here in her home that she developed that sick feeling that comes along with PANIC! She lost her credit card.  

You know the feeling: your heart sinks, your stomach tightens, and fear fills your entire body leaving little room for your breath. The next thing that typically happens is a feeling that your mind is clogged like the 405 freeway in Los Angeles during rush hour where nothing can move.  You put your life in reverse, backing up through your actions and replaying your conversations, activities, and movements. Forward and back, forward and back. While reviewing the steps of your day you second-guess your memory. Wait, wait, wait- first I did this, then that, no this, then that. Logic gets blocked by panicked thoughts and negativity makes it impossible for productive ideas to pass. 

Like an ambulance with red lights flashing, logic attempts to push through the traffic jam to say, “Relax!” If commonsense could scream it would shout to these useless thoughts and say, "Look in the rear view mirror and pull over, I'm here to repair this panic situation." But without commonsense and logic, your mind stops and comes to a complete standstill. Thoughts about the worst-case scenario push to the front like rubberneckers at the scene of a crash. Suddenly your mind is racing forward to conversations with the credit card company. You hear yourself requesting to place a hold on your card and apologizing for losing it in the first place. You rush through the list of people, businesses and accounts you'll have to call to cancel the card. Frustration and self-deprecating thoughts push ahead and arrive before the logic can get to the scene. Instantly, you're impacted by the negativity and you severely damage the positive and confident parts of your being. "How could I have been so stupid? Why do I do such irresponsible things?" Stop! Pull over and let the logic through. 

When logic arrives, it also brings an ample supply of oxygen. Commonsense and reason will restore your resourcefulness and repair your physical and emotional clarity. Suddenly, levelheadedness and prudence pull up alongside and align your practical insights. Rolled up in a receipt, slipped into the wrong pocket, or stuck in the cushion of your car seat is where you find the card you assumed was lost. You're flooded with a sense of peace as the wreckage of negativity is pulled to the shoulder. Words like "Phew, Hooray, Thank Goodness and Wow" pass your lips and your shoulders lower to relax.  

Panic.... It has no benefit in any of our situations. It will only cause us to crash and burn. No matter if it’s a lost credit card or an emergency of any proportion, Stop! Pull over and let the logic through. Wait until your emotional distress subsides before you let panic take over.

I look forward to your posts and suggestions for future topics (and Monica, I'm glad we found your credit card ;-) 


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Life is funny

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Life is funny

Once in a while things happen in life that you shouldn't question; just ENJOY!

That's me on the left...in the blue. I'm around four years old in this photo and the girl in the right is my next door neighbor. She is only a month older than me and we remained in contact through high-school. Although our families continued to stay connected and very close, life separated us as friends. We weren't separated because of personality differences; it was just the different roads we traveled. In a lifetime, so many people come and go from our circle. Each person and the relationship we have with them influence us in different ways. Changes in our lifestyles, careers and responsibilities take us in different directions and time passes. The older I get the more I reminisce about the contacts and friendships I've had. With some friendships, it's clear as to why they ended. In other friendships I'll have to stop and think hard as to why they dissolved. I always wondered what happened to this little girl in the red cowboy outfit. Frequently I'll wonder what happened to the little girl inside of myself too. What caused me to lose some of these connections...these relationships. Thirty-six years after having contact with my little friend and just prior to moving to where I live now, I searched her out. I located her via Facebook and I told her we were moving to a small community that is about an hour away from where we grew up. This is where something amazing happened. When I shared with her the location of our new home we were both thrown back in our seats. You see, she lives in this community and lives down the road from me. It is so much fun to be able to call her up and see if she can come out to play. Sure, now we can drink a little wine and a few more lines adorn our faces but the lines don't bother us any more than the fringe that hangs from our skirts in this photo. We know they are there but they don't stop us from living. The lines around our eyes are like the maps of our lives. They show the roads we have traveled and the memories we've made. Oh yes, some of the roads entailed a detour now and then but each line is a treasure. I try to buff a few away with a moisturizer but I view each of them as an emotional souvenir. Each line is evidence of the gift of life. Every day I rediscover the little girl inside me and I'm so grateful to be able to connect with her and my little blue cowgirl friend. If you want a relationship to stay active, it needs to be nurtured. Ask the little child inside of you to come out and play. Nurture the qualities and parts of yourself and your life that you want to stay alive and active. Reminisce about joyful experiences and savor the fringe lines of experience on your face and body. Seek out new friendships so you can travel down new roads together. Welcome the childlike spirit inside yourself and if you're as lucky as me to connect with your old cowgirl friend....well, don't question it. Just ENJOY.  


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Fire! Fire! Fire! A twenty minute experience that expanded my soul.

What are these tiny things floating around my face? We don't have fireflies in this part of California. Then it dawns on me that these tiny particles are actually pieces of ash falling from the sky. The fires in Napa and Vacaville have combined to a strong force that now threatens my home. There is only one small and very dry mountain ridge that stands between me and the fire. The winds are gaining strength and this little ridge isn't giving me much confidence as a shield of protection. I have never experienced a fire for myself but I have seen on T.V. that if a fire is hell bent on crossing a dry ridge, nothing will stop it. A neighbor who has access to a police and fire scanner shares the news with me that time is not on our side and we need to be prepared to evacuate. 

It's amazing how moments like this can become eye-opening, soul expanding experiences. I've been allotted twenty minutes to walk through my home and assess what I really "need" to have in order to move forward in life.  What can't I absolutely live without?

Standing in the center of each room of my home I slowly spin around and examine the "things" I've collected over 57 years of life. Room by room I stand and assess the "stuff" and I walk out empty handed. A container of photo's that haven't been scanned or saved onto a thumb-drive are carefully dragged out of storage and placed into the trunk of my car. Of all the decorations that adorn my walls, a hand carved piece of wood that represents the Lords Prayer is the only "thing" I want to take. My Uncle carved the prayer onto the wood for my Mom as a gift. She cherished this gift from him when she was alive. This piece reminded me of her special love and it just fit inside the front of my trunk. The special pair of high-heels that I once thought I "had" to have for a special event don't get a second glance from me. Only a couple pieces of jewelry with sentimental value are slipped into my purse. Two pair of socks are squished into the toes of my favorite tennis shoes and my favorite pair of summer flip-flops are pressed together and placed into a paper bag. Three pair of shorts; a tank top; a night-shirt; underwear and a bra.....that's it. My medications and supplies for my insulin pump are placed near the front seat so I'll know where they are at all times. The important documents and passports fit neatly into a manila envelope and I'm done.  One cat carrier will be sufficient for two cats and a case of cat food will take care of my two loving critters. With my computer in hand I look at all the extra space I have in the trunk and I laugh. Without blinking an eye, 4000 square feet of home and "stuff" fit easily into a trunk. There is extra room on my back seat but there isn't anything I need or couldn't absolutely live without.

The winds that are fueling the fire have changed. I've just been notified that my home is no longer in threat of being burned and the trunk can be unpacked. Not only have the winds changed; so have I.      Next week when I'm standing in a store or looking on the internet for something I "think" I need to buy, I'll remember this twenty minutes. I want the "things" that surround me to be reminders of the memories that make my life beautiful, lighter and happier.

Get ready! You have twenty minutes. There is room in your trunk for only one more small box. There are two boxes left and you have to choose between the two. You may only take one box. Inside one of the boxes is your prized possession; something you've kept on your mantle for years. The other box contains all the memories of your life. Contained within these memories is the love you have received; the love you have given; the love you have witnessed others sharing with each other and all the joy that life has given you. You will also find in this box, the strength that was developed through struggle and conflict. Which box are you going to grab to put into your trunk?   

Once you make certain that the people and animals you love are safe, you'll discover that within your core sits a fireproof box. Inside this fireproof box sits everything of value. You don't even need a trunk.

Take that twenty minutes.....evaluate and appreciate.

 

 

 

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Sing Louder....The Stronger Voices Win!

Do you remember when our elementary school teacher divided the class in half and each side was assigned a song to sing? One half of the class was instructed to sing "Row-Row-Row Your Boat" and the half was assigned the song "Are You Sleeping Brother John?"  I remember the concentration I had to have to stay focused on the song I was assigned. Often the voices on the other side of the classroom would cause me to lose focus and start to sing their tune. Frequently we could all end up singing one song or start singing the different song than what we started. Some kids would put their hands over their hears to avoid being influenced to go off track.  This example is similar to the influence that negative voices from other people can have on us. When you're trapped by negative people, it can be difficult to stand out and sing a positive tune. Before you know it, you feel the heaviness of their attitude and chime in with their hopeless and helpless tune. Don't do it! Sing out a positive and hopeful tune and focus on what you enjoy. Seek out other positive voices and surround yourself with good energy. 

I'm tired of the negative bashing of America. That negative song that bashes politics, policies and our people. Frequently posts are made on Facebook and other social media sites that trash -talk our country. One negative comment after another without so much as a positive statement is numbing and disheartening. I fight it! Conversely, I don't support the Ostrich approach of sticking your head in the sand and pretending that problems don't exist. I support a balance; a meshing of outlooks and attitudes. Blasting our country; our politics and our people insistently, won't make your voice heard any more clearly. In fact, when you don't balance your negative voice with positive comments, your voice is viewed only as routine negativity and not constructive thought. People tire of you and will eventually avoid you all together. The negative commentary has no impact except to bring others down. Nothing positive will result.

Take a moment to look at what you do like about America....and post that thought or feeling. Post what you do like about a situation or circumstance. Let the positive voices give you perspective to make positive change for the right reasons and not simply because it's easier to complain. Seek the higher and tougher road to post constructive thoughts. It was so refreshing to have my family from Denmark visiting with me this last week. It was a joyful sound to hear them sing about the beauty of our country.....America. I heard about the friendliness and helpfulness of the American people. I listened to their admiration of our systems and policies as well as their thoughts on improvement. I enjoyed the light in their eyes as they shared their experiences of the Grand Canyon; Yosemite; Las Vegas; Los Angeles and numerous other locations across our country. They never reduced their admiration and loyalty to their own country as they talked about the challenges facing Denmark and Europe. They balanced their voices of positive and constructive views of Denmark and America. It was a wonderful reminder of how beautiful the Land of the Free and the brave really is. 

Harmony comes from a balance of tones. Think of the positive attributes you have in your life and focus on them as you constructively address the issues. Sing out in a stronger voice to share the joys you have and the blessings you've received. Drown out the negative and useless bashing of life and tell the negative influences that you're not going to sing that song. Be proud. Be strong. Be hopeful. Be constructive and not critical. With a positive voice, you'll be heard.

Please comment on what you do love about your life; your country; and....you! What do you love about yourself and your life?

 

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The benefits of being "Impish"

Shhhhh............

Shhhhh............

Impish - adjective     1. Inclined to do slightly naughty things for fun; mischievous. "She had an impish look about her."

I believe that it is this "Impish" quality that has allowed me to persevere through some of the challenges that life has tossed into my path.

I come from a long line of "Imp's" and I was taught that practical jokes and mischief were good things. No, I was actually taught that they were GREAT things. My parents may not have felt the same way but I felt as though I received as much applause for an A on a report card as I did for coming up with a great practical joke. Humor and laughter were always encouraged but it came with a few stipulations. These guidelines were: 1. No one can get hurt and no property can be damaged. 2. No ones pride or ego can be lessened or wounded. 

My parents would go to elaborate length to pull off a prank. On one particular prank, I recall waking up at 3 a.m. on a Saturday morning to drive for 3 hours to the home of my Uncle. From the exit of the freeway to the driveway of his home, we placed bogus signs that read "Garage Sale." No..he wasn't having a garage sale. (That's what bogus means.) These signs efficiently lead people directly to his driveway from all around his town. We sat quietly and watched from a distance as my poor Uncle was greeted at 7 a.m. by a mob of strangers on his front lawn. He was mystified as to their cries of, "How much do you want for this lawn mower?" to "Open your garage door so we can see the other stuff you have for sale!"

The list of stories I have gathered as a young girl by being a participant and a witness is endless. Not one of our friends were exempt from being a recipient of a practical joke. Our Minister would enter our home with slight trepidation and sincere excitement as to what might be in-store for him. Everyone loved it....especially "us." I have carried this "Impish" prankster mentality with me through life and I give it credit for helping me to survive the rough episodes. it is when life deals me a difficult challenge that this playful "Imp" pulls me through. I regularly thank God for building this character within me and for strengthening me when the days are long and difficult. I continue to thank God for the character that continue to grow within me. Additionally, I whole heartily support Benjamin Franklin's quote, "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." 

The friends who are the closest to me in proximity fall victim to the "Imp" in me more than others. I had the opportunity to go into the home of our friends while they were at work and I took advantage of their absence. They have beautiful rooms for their guests where I slipped some notes between the sheets on the bed's. The notes read, "If you're reading this note, it means that Mary and Joe haven't changed the sheets since we last slept here. I just thought you would want to know."  On the following weekend, their home was full of guests who stayed over the night. It was when one of the guests came down for breakfast and said, "I don't know how to tell you this but....." Then the other house guest said, "We had the same thing but I didn't know how to tell you that I knew the sheets weren't clean." These poor friends of ours have also come home from their vacation to discover lawn chairs set up beside their elaborate and beautiful Koi fish pond. Beside the chairs were ice chests of beer that held up the fishing poles and large fishing lours. It made it look as if someone had a great weekend fishing for their valuable Koi fish. Another time when this couple wasn't able to catch their limit of crab while fishing in the local bay, we quickly went over and took advantage of their empty home. I printed out life size photo's of crab and cut them out to place all over their home. We placed the crab strategically all over their home to greet them unexpectedly. When they opened up their microwave, it was set up so BAMM...a crab pounced down. When they opened up their toilet...BAMM...a crab pounced down. When they opened their spice cabinet; pulled down the visor in their car; opened the dog food bin.....you got it, a crab pounced down. Written upon all ten of the crab were funny Yo-momma jokes with reference to "crabs." Other friends have come home to find huge birthday banners and what looks to be the remains of a birthday party for someone else. We placed bottles, banners and balloons all over their beautiful deck and made it appear as if a grand gala had taken place while they were on vacation.  I have to tell you that it was really difficult to stand with a straight face as they put the friends of their children through the paces to. They interrogated these children to discover if they had held a party at their home while they were away. Of course I sent them photo's of me and my family celebrating on their deck as we set up the elaborate plot. I had to get the innocent children off the hook. Remember...no one can be hurt by my prank.

To have been "pranked" by me is also a badge of honor. It's as if to say, "Hey, Annamarie's been here and she loves me too!"  If I have ever made you wonder if I was up to no good...please know that I mean it with great love. If I have yet to "get  you" or if it's been a while since your last touch by Annamarie, please beware

Love often, laugh routinely and use the joys of life to get you through the challenges that life puts before you. Let the crisis of life build you character and remember to love and laugh with yourself. 

Have any good stories you want to share? I can always use another idea. Now....Go Play!

 

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A limitless number of stars in the sky

Today I learned about the non-profit organization named Project Semicolon. The goal of the project is to restore hope and confidence in people who are troubled by addiction, depression, self-harm, and suicide. The non-profit encourages these people to draw or tattoo a semicolon on their wrist. The semicolon symbolizes that the difficulties they face are not the end but a new beginning.

This has me thinking! Many of us wear bracelets to express and support a cause.  There are bracelets to bring awareness to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's as well as various forms of cancer and a host of challenges and adversities. We often wear symbols to express our religious and spiritual beliefs.  A military uniform is not only used to identify each other as comrades but to also reflect the dedication and sacrifice they have given to our country. These bracelets and symbols are beautiful opportunities to heighten our awareness and more easily identify common bonds. We use these bonds to quickly relate and connect. When we recognize the symbol, it is as if we say, "aha, I understand you." If someone isn't wearing a bracelet or symbol, am I to assume they don't have a cause, challenge or concern? Because it isn't visible doesn't mean it doesn't exist. The stars in the sky aren't visible in the daylight but I still know they are there. 

Just as there are a limitless amount of stars in the sky, there are an unlimited amount of challenges and causes that impact each one of us. If we tried to express each and every challenge we have, some of us would be covered from head to toe with tattoos, bracelets and symbols. I encourage and endorse the power that these symbols have to help us connect with each other. It isn't enough to simply wear a symbol or to make note of what symbol someone else is wearing. Instead, please look at these visual symbols as opportunities to connect with someone and to better understand what moves and inspires them. But just because you don't see the sign doesn't mean that their challenge doesn't exist. 

We don't pick up a bracelet in the morning that expresses an emotional need where we could use some support. It's unrealistic to think of each of us putting on a bracelet that said, "I'm sad." "I'm scared." "I'm fragile." "I'm lonely." "I'm worried." "I'm disillusioned."  BUT...it is not unrealistic to assume that everyone can use some kindness.  

On the days when you are overflowing with kindness, I know you could use some too. I'm exactly the same. Similar to a hug, when you give kindness you'll simultaneously receive some.

It's amazing!

Please invest in a moment to look at the stars in the sky; count your blessings and share your comments with me.

Thanks for your support by signing up to receive the blog weekly.

Annamarie

 

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Sizzling Chicken Fajitas for "Two"

Sizzling Chicken Fajitas for "Two." 

For the last thirty-four years, whenever we go out for dinner at a Mexican Restaurant, my husband and I share a plate of Chicken Fajitas for "Two." The humongous platter of vegetables, chicken and side dishes are separated into equal portions to satisfy the visual appetite and simplify serving. I'm not writing to complain about portions or presentation. In fact, I'm not writing to complain at all. It was just over a year ago that the waitress came to take our traditional order and I boldly announce, "I don't like Fajitas and I have never liked Fajitas for Two." The look on the faces of my family is total bewilderment. I add to this befuddlement by stating, "I like Chili Rellenos." Their confusion is thoroughly justified because I don't believe they have "ever" seen me eat a Chili Rellenos. I only eat them when I'm out to lunch with my friends. All they know is that I've been eating Fajitas for "two" for over three decades and apparently I haven't liked it. The tipping of their heads and the rapid blinking of their eyes spoke to me loud and clear. They think I've lost it.

I'm a people pleaser. If there is such a thing; I'm too much of a people pleaser. It's obvious that resentment had built up in me to the point that I couldn't eat another "flipping" Fajita for Two. It's my husband who really enjoys Fajitas. Not me! When you order Fajitas for two, it's a better bargain than ordering Fajitas for One. This is the reason I ate "flipping" Fajitas. I've developed the opinion that you're not a "sincere" people pleaser if you're resentful about what you're doing. There was never any reason I couldn't order a Chili Rellenos and take the leftovers home. But oh no. Then I might have leftover Chili Rellanos. My husband doesn't care for Chili Rellanos. "What does this matter Annamarie; YOU can eat your own leftover Rellenos!" Martyrdom isn't a popular dish in this century and it certainly isn't a dish you want to eat in public.

I like to be a people pleaser. I like to "be" with people pleasers and co-exist. Pleasers are typically "giving and thoughtful" people. But a lot of us have overlooked the fact that we've got to please ourselves too. It relates directly to the directions we receive when taking off in an airplane. We are instructed to always put on our oxygen mask before assisting others. If we run out of oxygen and don't take care of ourselves, there won't be anyone to help our loved ones. I like this metaphor better than the example that was set for me as a child. While trying to teach me to be a gracious hostess of the 1960's, I was taught to always serve my guests first. I still hold hard and strong to this belief. However, I was also taught to let others win at games; take the smallest cookie on the plate so others have the big ones; and slouch a little because boys want to believe they are taller than you. If I didn't know that these teachings were coming from the most pure place in my parents hearts, I'd be concerned. It was with the best of intentions that these practices were shared.   In today's parenting, we now know that this practice can lead to low self-esteem. It's always best to teach our children to share and be an example of goodness and kindness; but not at the expense of their own needs. To be a gracious winner is equally important as being a gracious loser.....even more so. I believe that you aren't a true "giver" if you feel like a "loser." I wasn't being true to my family by pretending I was happy with the "flipping" Fajita. 

As a young girl, I always believed that my Mom liked the wings of a chicken best. I served her the wings when I was old enough to have my own home and entertained my parents for dinner. Being the perfect hostess, I wanted her to have her favorite piece. One day I finally asked, "Do you want the chicken wing?" I was stunned to hear her say, "I'd prefer a thigh."...........We had all come to falsely believe that Mom liked the wing best. She had become so practiced at serving the larger pieces of chicken to everyone else, she was labeled as "liking" the wings best.  I guess this daughter didn't fall too far from the chicken coop.

The next visit to the Mexican restaurant presented me with another "aha" moment. When the waitress asked for my order, I replied, "I'll have this chicken, tortilla and vegetable dish." My family laughs and says, "Mom, that's a Fajita!" 

I discovered that I was really craving "personal power" and not Chili Rellenos. I wanted the confidence to be able to order what "I" wanted. The fact that I eat "flipping" Fajitas for Two is now a family joke. Now and then I order my Chili Rellenos; but, I'll order it with a side dish of humble pie that's seasoned with extra-confidence and a smirk.

Please pour yourself a Margarita and share your comments with me.

Annamarie

 

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They Said Satisfaction Guaranteed - Shhhhh.....open up the package!

Yep, I thought that would get your attention.

The other night I had a bout of insomnia and decided to sneak out of the bedroom to enjoy a warm bath. Drops of lavender oil in the water helped me to relax and quiet my mind. The room was filled with the essence of the flowers and I could feel myself settle down. My thoughts shifted quickly to concern that I'll fall to sleep in the water and drown. To counterbalance this dilemma, I decided to turn on the TV. It's amazing what programs are available at two o"clock in the morning. I stumble upon an infomercial about Adult Toys for Sex. The other infomercials to "Get rich quick"; "Speed up your cooking time"; and "Melt away your wrinkles in seconds", didn't require any explanation; however, this one did. I thought I was "somewhat" knowledgeable in this arena but some of these items were quite mystifying. I found myself slightly confused and befuddled. I had to listen closely as the host clarified some of my curiosities. Ahhh, now I understand. More than anything, what I found most amazing was the fact that all the merchandise came with a money back, 100% satisfaction guarantee. Wow! How on earth can they guarantee that someone will be "satisfied?" Don't people have to take responsibility for their own "satisfaction?" Unlike the other infomercials, these toys didn't offer a "free" second toy for only the additional cost of shipping and handling. There was no offer of a free Ginsu knife. I suppose that was because of the well known "Bobbitt" situation. 

Getting back to this guarantee and the point of this blog. Just as in all of life; in order to receive full satisfaction, it's up to "ME" to participate. There are no guarantees for happiness or satisfaction. There certainly are no guarantees if I'm not willing to participate fully. I hear so many people complain about their lives but aren't willing to do anything to make improvements. I think it's easier for them to complain. I've learned that I have to put myself out there and make new discoveries;  new friendships; new memories. Keeping pleasure and joy encased in a brown paper wrapper won't allow me to fully experience living. I've learned that trusting others and letting them trust me is what "living" is all about. Yes, I've had disappointments and those are the experiences from which I learn the most. I'm certain that in the future, I will have even more disappointments.....but a lot more joys.  There is a 100% guarantee that if I allow life to sit unwrapped and undiscovered, I'll be unsatisfied. 

Just as you were curious to read what I wrote and wanted to know more....unwrap the gifts that life has presented you.....Enjoy!

Annamarie

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Use your head...."Annamarie, only you can get away with that!"

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Use your head...."Annamarie, only you can get away with that!"

When I wear a hat, more often than not, people have said to me, "I wish I could wear a hat." I'm even more perplexed when people will say, "Annamarie, only you can get away with that." This just isn't true; everyone has a head.  

This is the message I hope to share with you through this story: When there is something you want to do.... Do it!

Fearing what others will say or what message you'll convey is crazy. When you follow your heart; your passion; and your dreams, you are "living." If you're concerned about what "others will think," I'll tell you what they are thinking. They are admiring your confidence and free spirit.

If you have ever said, "I wish I could wear hats like that."....... You can, you have a head.

"I wish I could wear pants like that.".....You can, you have a head. No, I didn't accidentally copy the sentence above. Use your head and think about your passion and desire. When you support your heart and dreams, your confidence will go up and people will be drawn to you. They will admire your truth. The more people you touch and connect with, the larger your heart will grow.  

Use your head and follow your heart.

Annamarie

 

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Coming out of the closet.

She had no arms, one leg and no head. Every night she was dragged into my bedroom closet; this is the room where she tortured me. You see, my Mom was a seamstress. Ladies would come to our home and she would sew them dresses; make alterations; and keep me and the rest of our family well dressed. However, every night the sewing mannequin was dragged into my closet to get her out of the way and let her sleep.  

When the closet door was shut and my bedroom light was switched off, the torture began. This "thing" would chase me and hunt me down....it made me sweat. Finally, when I couldn't take it any more; I ran out to my parents and yelled, "LET HER OUT!"  You see, from behind the closet door, she was ugly and powerful. When they opened the door and I could see it in the light, I could see it for exactly what it was.....only a mannequin.  

When left in the dark, the fears that come into our thoughts will only grow and torture us. We water them with worry and they become distorted. If I have a fear or concern, I've learned to write it down on paper and use the four step process to conquer it. No matter if the fear is about health; business; family or something else; bringing it into the light and open the door. "Let her out!"

First step: Write down my fear or concern.  When I write it down, it can't grow. This way I'm able to look at it realistically and not let my negative imagination get involved. 

Second step: Write down my "possible" concerns about this fear. "What am I specifically afraid might happen?"

Third step: To each of the "possible" concerns, I'll write down what percent am I positive this outcome will occur.  By assigning a % percentage of my convection that I know it's going to happen, I'm engaging the logical and non-emotional side of my brain.

Fourth step: For each "possible" negative outcome of this fear that I've listed, I'll write down steps and actions I can take to prevent it from occurring. Or what can I do to lessen any negative result? This helps me to feel in control and not helpless. 

(There are other steps to empower you but this is a great foundation to gain perspective and confidence)

Example:

Step 1:  Write down the fear.        "I'm afraid to travel because of my diabetes."

Step 2: Write down the possible concerns.                    Step 3: Write % it will happen

              I'll go hypoglycemic or not have any insulin.         5%

              I'll end up in a hospital that won't know how to handle me or my insulin pump.   1%

              I won't be able to eat the foods of that country/area.                3%

Step 4:  Actions I can take to prevent this fear from occurring.   (Written in a positive voice. I WILL)

              I will take plenty of glucose tablets with me; I will take plenty of insulin: I will take a new prescription with me to make certain that if I should happen to lose my insulin, I can get some at a pharmacy in that city/country; I will research the names and locations of hospitals in that area; I will bring information on insulin pumps with me to give to a hospital if necessary; I will research the foods of the area and I always know there are plenty of fruits and vegetables to eat; I will research what the foods of that country are and know what their carbohydrates are well in advance of ordering my food. 

My fear is no longer a fear because..... I have a plan and I'm in much better control.  When you do this enough times, it becomes a natural habit....it becomes a practice you'll do instinctively.                 

I'm not saying that I have no fears....believe me, "I do." I wanted to share this technique with you because I've found it helpful. It helps me to see what I can control; what I can't; and what I have to let go of. It helps me to hand over my fears to my higher authority. When in doubt.... I'll always trust him.

Let me know if this helps....and please feel comfortable in sharing your fear with me and I'm happy to work through this process with you. Maybe other posters can help.

Take care..... 

Annamarie

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