Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Finding your way is the best way

I recently starting following the "oh my! handmade goodness" blog.
I have learned a lot from the contributors to this blog, and today's feature is especially wonderful, so I'm sharing it with all of you!

 Finding your way is the best way

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Invisible Mom

A friend of mine shared this with me a few weeks back and I thought I should share it as well. Enjoy the read:

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.
The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie that? Can you open this?? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

Some days I'm a crystal ball, 'Where's my other sock? Where's my phone? What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature - but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it. The workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.’

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there...'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of all of the invisible mothers.

Thank you to all the Moms who are looking down and smiling at the cathedrals they helped to build.

Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Clock is Ticking

I’ve found that nothing works better than checklists to move from the “dream stage” into the “action workshop”. With checklists you can stay focused, set priorities, forget nothing, and turbo charge your productivity. I’m a huge fan.

But there’s an art to list making. The key to getting stuff done is to focus on the 5 most important things you want to get done that day, as opposed to the 50 or more items I see most people attempting to tackle. Long lists can never be finished. There’s a huge negative psychological impact to not accomplishing what’s on your list: it leaves you drained and feeling like a total loser. I’ve been there, too.

And even when you do check off items from your T-Rex size to-do list, it’s usually the easiest tasks first to trim some of the fat and shorten the list. But who are we kidding, right? We all know very well that the easiest items are rarely the most transcendental for your business. So, again, we are left feeling like a failure.

On the flip side, short lists are realistic, give you power, and make you feel good, because you can actually cross your items off. There’s an enormous psychological boost in getting stuff done and cruising through your to-do items, especially when you mark off the things that matters most to you and make the most difference for your business.

So, what on your short-list today?

I found this darling printable "The Clock is Ticking" Checklist, hand-illustrated by Mayi Carles's 10 little fingers, designed to help you break down your Mount Everest into manageable chunks you can actually check-off the list. I hope you find it helpful, too!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Date Night

Today I’m taking the first step towards making date night at my household a reality. I also hope that by the end of this post I have motivated you to take the Date Night Challenge. It starts with coming up with some great and creative ideas and keeping in mind the guidelines below.

I want to hear from all of you. What is your favorite date night idea? Whether it’s one you have been on or dream of going on, post away! I want you to DIG deep and get creative. Not the run-of-the-mill dinner and a movie idea please. I mean if the wonderful and creative ladies of the Promo Frenzy Team can’t come up with a most original, thoughtful, romantic and fun list of date night ideas, who can? I plan to write my favorites down on a piece of paper for my very own date night idea jar. Consider this post your source for date night ideas.

Make an idea jar – I plan to use my favorite ideas you have posted here to fill my own mason jar and I hope you do too.

Pencil it in – Or type it into your smartphone, hire a plane to fly over your house, whatever it takes. I find a date is more likely to happen if we both plan around the date in our calendars. I also think monthly date nights are ideal, but if weekly work for you, knock your socks off!

Schedule smart – The idea of date night turns off many early-bird couples. If mornings suit you better, make plans earlier in the day — like a leisurely breakfast out or a sunrise walk in the park.

Keep it light – Conversations about housekeeping, whose car needs new tires, money or problems (“What’s up with Mikey’s math grades?”) are off-limits.

Double date – Personally I feel double dating on occasion is nice, but not for every date night. When you make it a double date and share deep conversation — real self-disclosure, not just small talk — you grow closer to the group, but you also feel more deeply in touch with your partner, finds new research from UCLA.

Minimizing the multitasking – It’s tempting to call a trip to the garden center a date, so you can cross two tasks off your to-do list. But don’t. The whole point is to concentrate on each other, not your chores. While on this topic you should also leave your phones, iPad, iTouch, laptop etc…in the car. You don’t want to be “that couple” you see who are engrossed in their electronic devices and not each other.

Relax about reciprocity – Yes, ideally you and your spouse would share the date-planning responsibility, but face it: If you want date night to happen, it may be faster and easier to set it up yourself, but just don’t make it a habit. If your partner doesn’t have any skin in the game, well he/she doesn’t have any skin in the game.

Avoid rain checks – While there will be times when you’d really like to cancel a date, try to resist that urge, put on your game face, and go. That lets your spouse know how much you value your time together.

I can’t wait to see all the ideas you come up with!