The Difference A Smile Makes

After a day of running errands I stopped at a local restaurant for lunch. As I pulled into a parking space, a car with two elderly women pulled into the parking space next to me. Since our spaces were so close I waited patiently for them to leave their vehicle. As I waited I noticed that neither of them were smiling. They both had very stoic looks on their faces. I immediately said privately to myself, I hope I don’t like that when I am their age.  Then I wondered if I ever look like that when I am driving possibly after a long day at work or after a stressful situation.

As I exited my vehicle I  walked past them to hold the door open and I smiled. They both smiled back and graciously said  thank you. I am not sure if they realized how they looked when they arrived but I noticed they continued to smile while they were eating and when they were leaving. Their looks could have been one of hunger pains or maybe something else but I will never know. What I do know is that I smiled , they smiled back and all was good with the world at least for those moments.

Have you done a mirror check lately? What do other drivers see when they pull up to you at the stop light? Are you frowning or are you smiling? If you catch someone looking down just give them a quick smile because a smile can make all the difference in the world.

Smile

Think Big!

I like to approach things strategically.  I plan, act, and then review the results. I understand that everyone may not approach things in that manner. What I don’t understand is why others are less accepting of me being this way.

It is easy to feel as if we need to go with the status quo of  how others think we should behave. When that happens then we are not staying true to who we really are. To have someone say that you are too complex or that your vision of doing things is on a bigger scale can be mind boggling. It may cause you to second guess yourself or feel as if you are doing something wrong. Yet, there is nothing wrong with thinking big.

It may be difficult trying to collaborate with people that are comfortable with where they are. Unfortunately when they are comfortable doing things a certain way it causes stagnation and no growth. Asking them to think big challenges them to change and may require them to do more. If they are not willing to commit to the change or it breaks them out of their comfort zone, they may ask you to scale down to meet them where they are. Don’t scale down to meet others where they are! Stay true to yourself, scale up and continue to think big.

Think Big

Trust and Truth

I am by no means the type of person that will shy away from speaking the truth. Despite this, from time to time I still find this hard to do. It’s easy to speak the truth when everyone is happy and things are going well. It is more challenging when things are falling apart.

In both my life and work experiences I have learned that you can’t build trust without having the freedom to speak the truth. Being able to communicate openly is essential for  building trust in family, personal and business relationships. If we have the freedom to speak openly and honestly, we don’t have to try figure out what is not being said or when a need is not being met. We can ask the tough questions and have an opportunity to be heard.

This opportunity opens the doors of sharing what we are experiencing with a family member or team member. Sharing openly enables learning what each other’s needs are so that we learn to support each other in those areas.  That support helps to build  trust.

Truth 2

If you want to build trust with someone give them the freedom to speak truth.

 

 

 

Just Two Words

Recently I wrapped up another successful year of working with a group of amazing 6-8th grade mentees. We recognized our graduates at a luncheon attended by their families, community members and other mentors.

A few things I enjoy most about working with mentees is seeing them grow, come out of their comfort zone and develop their self-esteem. All of this they learn through our time together every month. I do this because it’s an area of service near and dear to my heart. I don’t  expect anything in return but it feels good when a parent says thanks for all you have done or when the student tells me how much they have enjoyed our time together.

Just those two words, thank you, can make all the difference in the world no matter what language you say it in.

Thank You

 

 

 

Fatherless Gaps

Today in the United States we observe Father’s Day which is held every year on the third Sunday in June. Many however may not know that the first observance of Father’s Day occurred July 5, 1908. The observance occurred as the result of the lives of fathers lost in a mining accident leaving their children fatherless.

(Source: http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/fathers-day)

There are some men who are amazing fathers. They take care of their families and provide for their children. There are also men who step in to fill the fatherless gaps for the men who do not take care of their responsibilities. They become the circle of influence for children of single parent homes.

These men are leaders in their communities, teachers, mentors, coaches and relatives. You may not receive a card today but know that you are truly appreciated for the nurturing and support of children who are not your own.

God bless you for filling in the fatherless gaps.

nurturer

 

 

Can you hear me now?

Earlier this week I was sitting in a meeting and the room starting spinning. I could still hear the conversation but felt completely out of whack physically. After taking a few sips of water I was able to get it together. I spent the rest of the day trying to figure what was the trigger and what was my body trying to tell me. I know that I had gone full steam ahead with my work schedule but I had also made it a point to take out time to spend with my family. So what was it?

I know that I am at an age now that I have to be more conscientious of when I feel out of sync. I understand the importance of addressing these types of things rather quickly. I also don’t find it a coincidence that I have been postponing scheduling my annual physical. It has been on my to do list for weeks. Last week it was as if my body was trying to tell me something. Whatever it was I don’t want another room spinning event to occur for me to find out.

As moms we schedule doctor appointments for everyone else in the family and usually save ours for last. Don’t wait for the warning signs before going to see your doctor. Don’t wait until the room is spinning and your body says, “Can you hear me now?”

Can you Hear me now.jpg

 

 

A Successful Journey

Celebrate I love when I can celebrate with others especially  moms that have successfully raised their children. This weekend I was able to do that and much more with my friend Tammy!

I was super excited to celebrate with her and her twin daughters on their successful completion of college. Yes, one tuition payment times two and here I am freaking out about paying tuition for one!

Family and friends came from near and far to join together for this wonderful achievement. We enjoyed good food, music, laughter and conversation. Amazed how quickly the years had gone by,  we celebrated how Tammy’s daughters blossomed into beautiful young ladies with a plan and a bright future ahead.

Although the storms earlier in the day made the drive to the celebration treacherous, the clouds parted and the sun began to shine. This is very much like our life’s journey. Our journey may take us through storms, growing pains, failures and successes. Then,  we get to the success and the sun begins to shine.

Today I salute my friend Tammy for being an AWESOME mother and on your successful journey with your twins.  Congratulations not only to your daughters on earning their college degrees but to you as well. You earned it too!

 

 

 

Selfless Love that Endures

happy mother's day

Today is Mother’s Day! A special day not only for me but for mothers all over the world! We recognize this national holiday the second Sunday of May every year but, one day a year is not enough!

A mother’s responsibility is 365 days of the year through age 18 and/or until college is completed. Mothers who develop a selfless love for their children want to ensure that their children have all that they need to live a productive life. It is why some mothers may still provide assistance, advice, and words of wisdom well beyond the college age years.

As this Mother’s Day weekend comes to a close think about all the mothers who give of themselves selfishlessly. Take the time to call,  send handwritten notes, text, or whatever you can throughout the year. Encourage mothers for all that they do and their selfless love that endures every day of the year.

Celebrate While You Can

Thanks to Chicago weather I am in bed not feeling well recovering from a weekend filled with prom send offs, graduations, and other celebrations. These however are monumental moments I am glad that I didn’t miss.
Generally proms take place a week or two before graduation serving as pre celebratory activities of the completion of high school.  As we waited patiently for the prom attendees to get dressed and depart in a chauffeured vehicle, I listened to elders of the family discuss how prom send offs were in the “old” days.
In the “old”  days, prom attendees would get dressed and parade around the block so that the neighbors could see the well dressed students in their dresses and tuxedos. Today, everyone comes to the prom attendee’s home for prom activities. These activities include all the food you can eat and  sweets on a themed candy table.
prom-candy-buffet
Prom has come a long way from picking out an outfit and exchanging corsages. It is the official red carpet event of the year for family and friends to also partake in. As we wrap up this school year remember to celebrate while you can. Cherish the moments that you have with the youth of your family because there are many that did not live to see this weekend of prom. Celebrate moments both big and small!
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Living a Lie

When you live a lie you never have that feeling of ever really being fulfilled. While telling a lie is not hard to do, keeping up with the lie is. You have to work at keeping your story straight about what you did, remembering where you were and who you were with. People lie for so many different reasons but the common factor is always selfishness. It is that selfishness that causes them not to be concerned about those they hurt in the process. They were only concerned about themselves.

As I continue to teach life lessons to my daughter, the life lesson of being hurt by someone’s else lie is an uncomfortable one to discuss. Especially if you have been the object of someone’s else lie. It eventually  happens to all of us. We give people the benefit of the doubt and then we discover the truth in the end. Either someone lies to us, we ourselves withheld the truth, or we lie to ourselves.

Truth

When it is all said and done we are held accountable for all of our actions. Even those we consider to be minor.  Until then, we have to  live with what we have done good or bad. Why not stop the selfish way of living and live truthfully?