Posted in Mind

The Choice is Yours … Stressed or Not

How do you do life?

If I met you … what sense would I get from you?

Hurried. Anxious. Calm. Stressed. Peaceful.

Being hurried and stressed doesn’t just cause zebras to unravel — it can do the same to you.

Seriously.

Studies have shown that people that are always in a hurry and/or stressed have more health issues … everything ranging from headaches to ulcers to heart attacks. Not to mention that people that are always anxious and hurried are not a lot of fun to be around.

How do you want to go through life?

The choice is yours.

How you move through life is a choice you make.

Yes, it is.

It’s not your spouse, your kids or mother’s fault. It’s not your job, circumstances or car’s fault.

Pause. Pause as you walk. As you move. As you go through your house. As you go out your door.

Take a deep breath.

Look around.

Look for something you like … a picture, painting, flower, book or the color of your room that you loved last year (or ten years ago) when you painted it. If you have nothing in your house that brings you joy … maybe you need to get something. Not something that costs a lot of money, but something that has meaning to you.

Allow the beauty, the memory, the joy, the familiar feel to fill you.

Take a deep breath.

Maybe close your eyes as you take another deep breath.

In that moment, allow yourself to be content.

If the kids yelled at each other. If your budget is tight. If your spouse is frustrated. If you’re alone. If you are waiting on a doctor’s call. If it’s raining (literally and figuratively)

Pause. Breathe.

You are breathing, so you are alive. You are feeling, so you aren’t numb. At that moment you are okay. Even if you don’t know what the next moment will bring. No stressing needed.

No matter what your circumstances you have a choice on the level of stress you carry.

Yes, you do.

While driving — you can be stressed about the time, the traffic or the slowpoke in front of you. Or you can glance up at the sky or the white clouds and take a deep breath. Absorb the beauty. If it’s raining, watch a raindrop as it makes it way from the top of your  windshield to the bottom (while keeping your eyes on the road) and marvel at the form of it.

This doesn’t mean you don’t have goals and that you don’t work to bring change to your life … but you don’t have to stress in the process. If your diet and/or exercise isn’t healthy, you should take steps to change it — but don’t stress about it. If you want to switch jobs, work on doing that — but don’t stress about it. Educate yourself as much as possible about the wanted changes, then take steps to do them — no stressing needed.

If you have big stress issues, like relationships … do something about it. If there’s abuse and/or danger of it … make a choice to get out. If there is strain, disrespect or any of the myriad of issues that can crop up in a relationship … do something about it. You can’t change the other person, but you can change yourself … and sometimes changes to yourself bring change to the relationship.

If you’ve talked about the same issue, over and over again, have a new conversation about it. Address it differently. Pause. Take a deep breathe. Listen. Since relationship issues involve more than one person, sometimes a referee in the form of a counselor is needed. Make a choice to educate yourself and decrease your stress triggers.

The choice is yours … go through life stressed or not.

The amazing thing is that simply by pausing frequently and making wise choices, you might be able to avoid some unraveling. Some medical issues, pain, pills and more. Plus people will enjoy you more … which will give you even more beautiful reasons to pause and smile.

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Are you stressed? Why or why not? Any tips to share on how to deal with stress when life is stressful?
Posted in Because I Can

Allowing Guilt to Ruin Good Days – or Not

I wake up most mornings with a start … like I’ve done the past decade feeling like I must hit the ground running. It takes a second for the morning fog to leave my brain … and then I smile. Instead of endless lists running through my mind … there are none. I don’t have to get up. I don’t have to look at the time. I don’t have think about our business, or what time I have to open it. I don’t have to think about bills, employees, schedules or anything!

I roll over to go back to sleep.

Some mornings I sleep again … but other mornings I’m too excited about my new normal and sleep alludes me. Instead I lay there thankful. I smile to myself and to the world. It’s a happy time. If the sun is up (or almost up) I quietly get up, get dressed in the bathroom and step over my sleeping sons to go out the door. As I quietly walk down the two steps to ‘our’ property for the week, I again smile.

I’m living a life that I never dreamed I would.

I’ve always wanted to travel, so maybe I loosely dreamed of it … but I didn’t think it would actually happen. I’m on an almost-year long trip around the country in a motorhome with my husband, Jerry and our three sons (then ages 11, 13 and 15) We sold our business, house and property and at the moment our finances are comfortable enough that neither Jerry or I have to work. As a person with a short attention span and a thirst for new adventures, I’m in my glory … especially because each week I have a new world to explore.

It feels wonderful. And unbelievable. Like I’m living someone else’s life.

Some mornings, I make myself comfortable in a lounge chair after situating it towards the rising sun. I relax in the morning quiet sprinkled with only a few sounds … birds chirping, murmurs from other early-risers and at times, the waves of the ocean nearby.

Other mornings I want to move, so I begin walking. At the larger campgrounds (especially if resort is in their name) workers are often sweeping, washing, watering and more as the sun rises. We greet each other and they’re usually more than willing to give me directions to the perfect running route, along with suggestions for the best cup of coffee or dinner later. If no one is around, I make use of the map that I’ve secured the evening before of the campground and its surrounding area.

I’m always drawn to a path or road that runs to or along water, whether it be a small bubbling creek, a lake, a river or the ocean. If there is no water, I look for a running route with trees. I like the majesty of trees … beautiful, strong and (almost) permanent.

There is nothing like exploring a new area on foot. I feel the contour of the land … uphills, flat areas and downhill slopes all feel different on foot than when in a car. I smell the pine trees, the water or the fragrance of a nearby orchard. I notice the flowers planted around the campground sign and a rabbit’s quick retreat as he hears me coming.

I’ve traded my house and 9 acres for a 40-foot motorhome and no property to call my own. As for living space, I have everything my former house did, only more compact. In less than 300 square feet, there is a bathroom, kitchen, table, couch, a bed, space for air mattresses and even a combination washer/dryer.

It’s all there and it is enough … especially because I have a new neighborhood to explore each week.

When I come back to the campsite after completing a few miles, Jerry is usually up … sometimes sitting in his lawn chair quietly enjoying the early morning. Other times he’s not around, but his shoes are gone and I know he’s enjoying a morning walk somewhere.

I live in a state of gratitude. Jerry and boys have started ignoring my frequent outbursts of I’m so thankful for this opportunity!

But like ants at a picnic, sometimes guilt creeps in. I wonder about our choice to do this. I don’t deserve this wonderful and unique opportunity. Maybe we should have given more money away. Maybe we should have moved to a foreign country and helped others instead of traveling. Maybe we should have … Maybe …

Jerry listens to me … for a time, then he reminds me of the years we worked day and night to make the business work. Of the hours we spent planning, discussing and preparing for this. Of the feeling we both had that this was what we and our boys needed … time to rest, relax and reconnect.

I know he’s right … so I breathe deep, relax and allow myself to really live in the moment. When eating dark chocolate or a fresh summer peach … savoring each bite makes the moment and the memory better. That’s what I try to do on each day of our adventure … whether it’s the unlimited time with the boys, reading, cooking in my small kitchen or planning our next stop.

It is all good.

Well almost all. Changes in life, even wonderful ones, have adjustments. And sometimes 300 square feet isn’t large enough for five of us. Sometimes we drive wrong or argue about what to see next or have three rainy days in a row.

But the sun always shines again … and we eventually arrive at a new beach and there’s hardly anything a day on the beach doesn’t make better.

Life is good!
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The third in a series of stories/vignettes to compliment Because I Can … releasing in mid-September.
1) The Adventure of a Lifetime Begins …
2) Sun and Fun in Paradise

 

Posted in Because I Can

Sun and Fun in Paradise

After St. Augustine, we headed south a little farther and set up camp at a campground on the west coast of FL near Sarasota. The boys soon disappeared to explore the campground and came back excited about the options — shuffleboard, pool tables, miniature golf and a large swimming pool.

“Keep your eyes open as you explore,” I told them, “on Friday I want you to draw something you saw this week.” I figured having the boys draw a picture weekly would be an interesting travel-log of our trip, along with providing them with a needed art lesson. (this ambitious plan lasted all of three weeks)

As the boys played all week, Jerry and I finished up bookwork for the business. It wasn’t due  immediately, but we wanted to get it done so we didn’t have to think about it again. We were both as excited as middle-schoolers on the last day of school when we mailed the final papers to our accountant.

When Friday rolled around, I pulled out the sketchpads and pencils, “What did you see or what impressed you this week?” I asked.

“The swimming pool,” Jon promptly said.

A branch of small, purple berries on a tree right outside the motorhome window intrigued Joey and he set up a lawn chair directly in front of it and began sketching.

Joshua thought about my question a moment or two and his logical brain took my comment of “what did you see” literally and said, “Guess I’ll be drawing an old person.”

He had quickly discovered that snowbirds, older folks from the northern states that spent a few months in Florida each winter, occupied most of the other campsites.

Our goal was hot weather and it was only around 65 degrees on the mainland, so we decided to head as far south as we could without buying a plane ticket. The Florida Keys are made up of multiple islands that stretch 130 miles southwest of Florida and are connected by one road with 42 bridges. We fell in love with the area and the perfect weather — temps in the upper 70’s with crystal-clear-blue-green water everywhere. We stayed at a campground in Marathon, one of the middle islands.

“Dad, unload the bikes first,” Joey said as we began setting up our campsite. “I want to see what all is here.” A few minutes later, the boys dispersed to explore their neighborhood of the week.

Jerry continued the outdoor setup — hooking up the necessary hoses and putting up the awning. I put a rug inside the door, a doormat outside and a trash can inside and outside the door. I knew there’s still be cleaning on this trip, but I was trying to omit as much work as possible. I figured the boys would be hungry soon, so I made dinner before setting my chair up by the water. (Giving up eating while traveling would have saved us work, but no one liked that idea)

After an hour or two and the boys hadn’t returned, I became concerned. Jerry didn’t seem to share my apprehension — maybe because he was comfortable in a hammock at the moment. I pulled out the campground map, saw there was a large arcade and headed in that direction.

“Hey, what are you guys doing?” I called, as I spotted Jonathan riding my way.
Skidding to a stop beside me, he was excited. “Hey, it’s not just old people here!”

“Shh-sh,” I look around hoping no one heard him.

“We met two other children,” he continued, “They are also homeschooled and are here on vacation. They’ll be here all week!”

“Great,” I said, thrilled that the boys had other children to connect with. And yes, I was also envisioning all the hours I would have to read on the beach that week.

alligator - bird - starfish - dophins

The boys spent the week swimming, biking, snorkeling and even scuba diving with their new friend’s grandfather. They also discovered wildlife that we don’t normally see in PA.

We tried to do a few hours of schoolwork a morning or two, but already my planned schedule was slipping — it was hard to keep them (and me) in the motorhome when the beach was only a short walk away.

We spent a day exploring Key West, the last island. While there we discovered there is one more US island about 70 miles west which contains Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson.  We booked a day trip out to the island for a few days later.

I didn’t have to plan anything for the day — breakfast was served on the boat, lunch on the island and snorkeling equipment provided. I wanted to kiss the cook, along with all the staff on the boat.

Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson

Air and water temperature was around 85 degrees. We spent the day swimming, snorkeling and photographing some of the unusual fish and underwater creatures. To add a touch of education to the day, we toured Fort Jefferson, which was part of our countries defense plan in the 1800’s. (Geronimo had been a prisoner there for a time)

The 'white horse' that took us to paradise

Mid-afternoon we put our sunburned selves back on the boat and enjoyed the hour ride back to Key West. It was a day that in hindsight seems almost surreal because it was so perfect.

 

This is the second in a series of stories/vignettes to compliment Because I Can … which will be released in mid-September.
1) The Adventure of a Lifetime Begins …

 

Posted in Because I Can

The Adventure of a Lifetime Begins …

Once upon a time … I spent some time living a fairy tale.

Seriously.

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It began on a dark and stormy night …

The wind blew.

The temperature dipped down to 22 degrees.

In a land called Pennsylvania.

In December, 2004.

My handsome husband Jerry and I looked with awe at our three perfect boys, Joshua 15, Joey 13 and Jon 11, snuggled deep in their soft fully beds air mattresses in our castle 40-foot motorhome in the driveway of a house that was no longer ours..

No one complained — the adventure of a lifetime was about to begin.

Over the previous few months, we had sold our house, property and Meadow Gardens, a garden center we started eleven years earlier. We sold, gave away or stored everything else we owned. We were hitting the road — excited to experience a totally different lifestyle for about a year. Waking up to Pennsylvania’s first snowstorm of the season had us rushing to head south before we were snowed in.

We didn’t have a detailed itinerary, but a general idea of where this adventure would take us. We like warm weather, the sun and the beach, so our tentative thoughts were to spend Christmas in Florida with a friend, make our way west through the southern states in the winter, travel up the west coast in the spring and probably see Alaska in June. Then we planned to travel east through the northern states and come back to ‘real life’ in the fall of 2004.

We had family and friends in a few states, so they were on our list of stops. We had some contacts at volunteer organizations that we planned to work with a few weeks. Obviously, the boys needed to continue their educations with books and lessons. We also wanted to see museums, parks and do factory tours to enhance their education.

We spent the first weekend in Virginia seeing my sister and some friends. The weather was cold and they had about an inch of snow, so we were anxious to head further south. We wanted to see some of North and South Carolina, but the temperatures stayed in the thirties, so we drove until we reached Florida.

We had our first week of warm weather and sunshine in St. Augustine State Park in northern Florida along the east coast. The lush, green foliage surrounding our campsite was a pleasant contrast to the barren trees of Pennsylvania. After a few days of bike rides, building sandcastles and running on the beach, I began to realize how much I was going to enjoy this trip.

Leaving a life where my schedule had been bursting with all the duties of a business owner to looking at not just days, but weeks ahead with nothing scheduled was a glorious thought.

View over a bay near St. Augustine

“Can you believe this?” I asked randomly every hour or so. I heard an assorted response of …

“Yeah!”

“Hooray!”

“This is the life.”

… before they rushed off to dig in the sand, explore the campground or other gallant adventures.

As I looked in the mirror at the end of that week, I hardly recognized myself without my normal creased brow … gosh, maybe there was hope. Maybe I would eventually turn into a princess less-stressed person.

I picked up a book and headed to the best spot on the beach … thankful for the moment, for my life and for the opportunity of this wonderful adventure.

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This is the first in a series of stories/vignettes I will post to compliment Because I Can … which will be released in mid-September.

 

Posted in Thinking,
Mind

You are Enough — Stop Lying

Warning: This is a rant.
(gosh, what is with me this week, a political post and a rant?)
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You know what annoys me?

People that lie.

Full-grown adults.

Seemingly intelligent people.

Who care about right and wrong.

People who are religious.

Who teach others how to live life well.

People who want to do good.

But in certain scenarios …when they want to present a certain picture or image of themselves to certain people and/or groups … they will lie to create the image they want their listeners to have of them.

It might not be a full-blown lie … like breaking a window and then saying they didn’t do it.

Instead they embellish, stretch or omit information … to make themselves feel better, more spiritual, more connected and/or more important.

But anyway you slice it … it’s a freakin’ lie.

I know, I know … I am just as capable of it as they are. And maybe that’s why I recognize it … I’ve been there and done that. But mostly when I was ten or so. Okay, maybe a few times in my teen years … but after feeling guilty, getting caught and/or being embarrassed, I apologized and tried to learn from those times and not repeat that behavior.

I know it’s nothing new … people have been lying since the beginning of time. Through out history, people have lied to protect themselves, to cover up wrongs, about what God did or didn’t tell them, to impress others and many other reasons. Today people still lie about the same things … along with who they ‘know’ on Twitter and Facebook.

That’s right … social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, is the new lying ground. I’ve noticed people feel free to say they are connected to this person or that person … when in reality they now like their page,  follow them or at best, had a few online connections with them.

Newsflash: Liking and following someone does not make you friends with them.

Yes, liking and following people you admire is fun, especially if there is any interaction with them … but it doesn’t make you bffs*.  I love to hear stories of people making great connections and friendships online … so tell me when that happens and I’ll be the first to celebrate with you, but don’t lie about a relationship you don’t really have. If you are aiming for connections to help your career, you might want to stop trying to build a platform.

Speak, type, tweet, update … the truth and nothing but the truth.
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You are enough.
Where you are.
With what you do.
You have what you need.
You don’t have to pretend.
Do. Create. Be your best. Aim high.
Just stop feeling like you must impress.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

UPDATE:

After posting this, someone mentioned it could sound like I’m frustrated with people pretending to know me … NOT at all, that is not the case. I love people and want to be everyone’s friend. So whether or not, you know me … you can call me your bff, I’m totally okay with that. This post was because I’ve seen other people do this with real celebrities … actors, musicians, reality TV stars, etc.
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Have you ever been tempted to embellish connections to impress online … or in real life?
*Best friends forever
Posted in Mind

The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Read!

As my husband watched the news I heard someone says, “The presidential election in 2012 will be the most important election in our lifetime.”

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Really?
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Didn’t I hear that in 2008? (Obama versus McCain)

I know I heard it in 2004 (Bush versus Kerry)

I definitely heard it (a zillion times) in 2000 (Bush versus Gore)

And 1996 was important! (Clinton versus Dole)

And 1992 (Bush versus Clinton) was the most IMPORTANT election ever! I should know, it’s when I voted for the first time. (I was 27 because it took a few years to shift gears after being raised in a strict Mennonite world where voting was strongly discouraged for men and forbidden for women)

The first few years after becoming a registered voter, I educated myself about politics and who was running for what office and what they stood for. I was intrigued with the whole process and read everything I could about all the candidates. 

'What's important?' photo (c) 2006, Valerie Everett - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

But 20 years of hearing each election slated as the most important one has made them lose some of their value for me. I find myself ignoring election news on TV and online. But yet I don’t want to be that person … the one that doesn’t know what’s really happening in my country.

So I try to stay informed enough to not be an idiot when it’s time to vote. I live in Pennsylvania, so that means I don’t have to get serious about staying informed as early, because I’m registered as an independent and independents can’t vote in our primaries. (if we seriously want fair elections, that law should be changed)

But what’s with the obsession each election season with the most important phrase? Why do so many reporters, journalists and talking heads fall into that trap? Do they seriously think we will become more concerned if they say it one more time?

I’m not saying elections aren’t important … they are important. And who gets in office can have a major effect on the country, but most times when someone says this is the most important election in our lifetime, they are focusing on a few select topics that are most important to them … and they hope to make them important to others as well.

Politicians, media, leaders … stop it!

Seriously!

Stop telling us what to think.

And especially stop telling us what is most important.

All voters are adults (unless you somehow got your two-year old registered) so just give us the facts and allow us to decide what is most important to ourselves.

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That’s my armchair advice from the peanut gallery … what election advice do you have that everyone should hear?
Share it … because you know, it’s the most important thing!


Before and After — It’s a Miracle!

I’m sorry to shock you … but this was me one morning at 7 am a few weeks ago.

Help!

Thankfully a few friends worked some magic …

Makeup by Debra Brown

I love friends that do makeup, hair and make me laugh even when I’m nervous.

Hair by Robin O'Brien

It’s a miracle!

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I thank Woman’s World for this opportunity!

Yes Woman’s World … the weekly magazine that is stocked at cash registers. All this  unusual fuss was because a photographer from Woman’s World was coming. About a week before the photo shoot, I had two phone interviews with editors at Woman’s World. They were interested in doing an article for a fall issue about my emotional recovery from trauma.

This opportunity happened through connections that began in May at Fitbloggin’ which was before I knew that Because I Can won a publishing contest. After I realized Because I Can will be published and it’s release date was in October, I was hoping the article would run in October.

Woman’s World selects when articles will run (unless I’d be Julie Roberts or Angelina) Mine will be in the September 12th issue and will be on store shelves September 1 to 7th. So my publisher has moved up the release date for Because I Can to early September.

Formal shots

When the photographer called to schedule the photo shoot, he gave me a list of acceptable clothing — solid colors, nothing sleeveless other than exercise clothes, no cleavage, etc —I told him it sounds like I’m getting pictures taken for Mennonite World instead of Woman’s World. (I’m not sure he got the joke) After shots with me dressed up, I changed and we went to a trail for some running and biking shots.

Action shots

I have no idea which pictures or which part of the two-hour interview the Woman’s World editors will use,  so I plan to stalk my local store on the morning of September 1st to get a copy … or two.

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Do you have friends that can help make miracles happen when you need them?
Photos by Jerry Oberholtzer (who is hoping I would look like the after picture everyday)
Posted in Guest Post

My Sisters and I — Guest Post at Alise… Write

We don’t choose the families we are born into, but it’s our choice whether or not we stay connected. There’s some major differences between my sisters and I, but we’ll always be sisters … and we’ll always laugh over silly things and argue about who did what when we were kids.

Janet, Elaine, Mary Jane, Barb ... and Rosene (center front) circa 1979

“We are sisters. We will always be sisters. Our differences may never go away, but neither will our song.” – Elizabeth Fishel

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Today I have a guest post about my sisters and I on Alise… Write.
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I met Alise Wright through her blog Alise… Write. Her interesting blog covers family, faith and more. Recently Alise has started running and I love her posts about that, especially this one, The Day Running Didn’t Kill Me.

Here’s how Alise describes herself … I love music (listening and performing). I love writing (reading others’ stuff and writing my own). I love movies (particularly snarky comedies and movies about friends). I love coffee. I love Zelda. I love texting (this is why I have snagged onto Twitter big time). I love conversations in the car.  I love soup.

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Head over to Alise… Write to read about my sisters and I, then click around and get to know Alise, you’ll be glad you did.

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If you are new here from Alise … Write, welcome! Glad you stopped by.

You’ll find more about my journey from the Mennonite world and beyond at About Me … and in these blog posts:

Reviewing the Past Twenty-Five Years of “The Janet Show”
Finding My Own Way Out of a Land of Rules
Condemn Dragons or Get to Know Them?
Changing Them … or Yourself?
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If you are new here, introduce yourself in the comments … and if you blog, leave a link, so we can connect.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Personal

Imitating Others is for Monkeys

For too many years, I’ve been waiting to arrive. To get it together. To have it made. To be like others who have been ‘there’ longer than me.

After spending the first seven years of my education in an one-room Mennonite and Amish school … my parents transferred me to another school for eighth grade. This was a bigger (relatively speaking) Mennonite school with a few hundred students. To me it was golden. I think I entered through pearly gates the first morning I arrived and I’m fairly sure the hallways were made of gold.

I watched all the students that had been in that glorious place the year before to see how one acts while there. I was sure they had it all together and I didn’t want to be ‘that’ girl … the country bunkin’ who does everything wrong. Thankfully I soon made friends and felt slightly safer, but I still constantly measured/critiqued myself against others. I wondered when the day would come when I’d be one of the crowd, instead of feeling like I’m on the outside looking in.

As the year progressed, something dawned on me … these students were just like me. They had their own insecurities and issues. They didn’t have it all together like it seemed to me at first.

I could be me.

In my early twenties, I made a choice to leave the Mennonite church of my family. I began attending a more liberal (relatively speaking) church. Again this change was glorious, but again I observed the others around me and patterned my behavior to fit some invisible mold. I longed for the day when I’d feel like I had it all together like I was sure they did.

Between the transition from the Mennonite world and having three boys in five years it took me too long a few years to come to the realization that I didn’t have to try and be like everyone else. Because truth be told, they didn’t have it all together either. They were just like me … trying to do the best they could in the middle of their own struggles, insecurities and issues.

I could be me.

Imitating others is for monkeys

The next decade my husband and I started a business. Again, my insecurities flared up. I joined the local business association, so I could learn from other business owners. Which in and of itself is a great idea, but I also did it so I could learn how to be one of them. I made some business decisions that were not wise because I tried to pattern our business after other businesses … instead of trusting my instincts.

I discovered … while many of these business owners were successful, that didn’t mean they had it all together. Each was doing the best they could in the midst of questions and issues. So why couldn’t I do the same? Our business would only thrive if we allowed ourselves to shine through, not when we focused on ‘arriving’ in the same way another business did.

I could be me.
Another decade, another scenario …

I enter the world of writing and speaking. I watch the ‘big ones’ to see how this game is played. Learning from others is good … but I again take it a few steps too far and want to be just like the others, instead of being me. I end up frustrated, scared and unsure of myself. Somedays I feel like I’m back at age thirteen trying to fit in at the new school.

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Slowly the lessons of the past manage to knock through my skull and realization dawns …

  • I am me
  • I am enough
  • I don’t have to be them
  • I have good ideas
  • I have creativity
  • I have thoughts
  • They are worthwhile
  • My thoughts count
  • I don’t have to be like him/her
I can be me!

I’ve been telling myself versions of this over the years … but hopefully it will settle deeper into my psyche. Living life waiting for that moment when I ‘arrive’ means I will live my life chasing and never be content. It means I will make decisions that aren’t the best for myself, my family and/or my career.

But instead if I can live in the moment and know that the me I am today is enough for this moment … I will have peace.

Hopefully now when I enter new scenarios, I will remember that I am equally enough the day I arrive as the person who’s been playing there for a decade. Actually as a newbie, I am needed and necessary, because I can bring fresh ideas if I remember to …

… focus on being myself and not on being like everyone else.
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Are you comfortable being you? Or do you watch others and then become a imitating monkey?

Rethink What You are Thinking

Mondays generally get a bad rap, but Mondays will be about as marvelous as you decide they will be. While circumstances and other people can have a major impact on your day … you have control over what you make of the day. If you are always tired on Mondays, maybe you need to decide to get more sleep on the weekend. So stop thinking your Monday will be bad and give Monday the respect you give the other days.
'stream of consciousness' photo (c) 2008, Chicago Art Department - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
I often repeat cliches and popular sayings … and believing Mondays will be a down day is just one of many common beliefs I’ve been rethinking over the past few years.

I’ve been examining common sayings and wondering at their accuracy. When I draw conclusions that are different than the norm, I sometimes have a hard time trusting my conclusions. I assume I must be off-base. After all if ‘everyone’ thinks/says that … who am I to say it’s off?

But someone someday said each saying for the first time and then slowly others repeated it … so why can’t someone now question the saying?

Many sayings become popular because they contain elements of truth and familiarity that we identify with. But some become popular simply because hearing or reading something often enough can convince us it is true … whether or not it actually is.

When I think/say/hear an oft-repeated phrase I try to determine what the truth or value is by turning it over in my mind. Like looking at the snow-globe my son ‘needed’ from an over-priced gift shop that’s been collecting dust for too many years. I examine it. Checking out the nicked spots and the cracks. It’s familiar. It brings back memories. But is it still something we need? I try to decide if it’s valuable or not. Could it someday be a family heirloom, a treasured antique or is it something that should be added to the local landfill?

In the same way, I’m cautious about throwing out or revamping familiar sayings too quicker, because I wonder if I’m missing their true value or if I might agree with them again someday … just like my son won’t miss that snow-globe until after I throw it.

Yet, some sayings simply aren’t accurate and others lose their value and/or need to be edited.  I’ve written about some that need amendments like … Everything happens for a reason and  Time heals, but others like One step at a time still hold true.

As we know, there’s an exception to every rule … so while a saying might hold true for certain circumstances or people, it cannot always apply to everything. Yet I’ve seen people doing mental gymnastics or checking their brain at the door trying to make a saying work for everything.


A few other sayings that I question are …

Curiosity killed the cat … really? Isn’t curiosity how we learn?

Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Huh? I love how running makes me feel, but it does involve work. Some days I feel great while running, but other days it’s nothing but work.

Women can’t _________ because they are women or are too emotional or too sensitive or ________. In different settings and with different groups, different words fill the blanks. Why?

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What do you think … are these still tried-and-true sayings or is it time to edit or retire them?
Are there any popular sayings that cause you to say “huh?”