Practicing Gifts Not Gaps

Sometimes writing about positivity and happiness makes me have to change my ways.  I tend to be a control freak and sometimes wanting control gets in the way of happiness and I’ll tell you how.  I am still learning and practicing everyday.

So one of my beliefs is to focus on my gifts and not the gaps in my life. This is easier said than practiced and this week, let’s just say I’m stretching and growing out of my comfort zone.  I’ll share some of my vulnerabilities.

I don’t always see the good. I sometimes really see the small gaps and cracks and when I unintentionally focus my mind here and forget to see the bigger picture, I miss out on all the good that far outweighs the bad, but again, I’m a control freak, and want things to be just as expected.  Life isn’t that way and sometimes I get stuck.

My favorite definition of happiness is when our expectations are in alignment with our reality. This means if I expect something to happen and it happens, I’m happy. If I expect something to happen and it doesn’t, I’m frustrated. Kind of silly, but true. Why not just adapt and change my expectations to fit the new reality, right? But I don’t transition that quickly sometimes which makes me mad because I know I should but I don’t and I hold on to what isn’t versus what is and that’s just focusing on the gaps and not the gifts. Does that make sense?  It’s opposite of what I’m training myself to do.  Ugh. I’m still learning.

Okay, so for my example. Jeff left for work the other day and didn’t put his plate in the sink,and didn’t make the bed, which are two things he normally does. I came in from working out and saw things out of place and was mad after he left for work.  Seriously.

Seriously? I chose to say something about it via text, saying blah blah blah, blah blah blah. I felt good being right about what was wrong. I created conflict vs. maybe thinking and understanding his point of view that maybe he wanted to read the paper or was running late for the train and ran out of time. His intention wasn’t to be disrespectful and he wasn’t expecting me to do it, he just didn’t do it for whatever reason. While I was focused on what was “wrong,” I completely overlooked what was right. He was the one who got out of bed before me and brought me coffee in bed. He was the one who drove Christian to school that morning. He did and does so many wonderful things and yet I focused on the gaps and not the gifts. Had I looked at the dish and the disheveled bed and felt thankful for all that is good instead of feeling frustrated by what was out of place, I would have just moved the dish and made the bed and in five minutes or less, and I would have been living happily ever after right then. If I would have not made a stink, I would have have recognized all that is good and I would have created good will. But I didn’t. I got stuck in the moment and stayed there. Not for long though. He was the one who kindly and gently pointed out my gifts not gaps philosophy and I luckily and quickly agreed with him. I thanked him for sharing this A-HA moment and didn’t stay stuck on my position and was able to move on, living it up and loving him again just like that.

That is one thing I’m good at, letting go and forgiving myself and others just like that once I am aware. I don’t want to stay mad or frustrated and I don’t have to be right just to be right.  I still wished he would have made the bed before he left, but I adapted and accepted it, made the bed and moved on without holding on to the gap. Oh, that felt good.

I will keep practicing and being thankful for my perfectly imperfect life.  What are you practicing?

Life is good.  Practice on.




Gift of Words

I Love You.


How often do you hear those words?

I think those are the best words on the planet and I never tire of hearing them or saying them. I love you.

Some cultures don’t use those words. They are never spoken. I have a hard time imagining that. I have a friend whose family never says these words and I like saying them to her just to see her reaction and to see if I can get her to say them back. This makes us both laugh. Ha! Laughing over love. I love it. And I do accept her culture and don’t really expect her to say I love you, even though I know she does love me.

Do you know there is a woman in Oregon who just opened up a Cuddle Shop where you can go to be platonically touched and hugged and have your hand held and your hair rubbed? Samantha Hess offers 15 minute sessions at a $1 per minute or $60 per hour. She had 10,000 requests within the first week of business and if you try to access her website right now, it just keeps spinning because of the overuse. She has also written a book called “Touch. The Power of Human Connection.” I think she’s onto something. Her website says,”Touch has the power to comfort us when we are sad, heal us when we are sick, encourage us when we feel lost, and above all else allow us to accept that we are not alone. When we experience touch it gives us physical, mental, and emotional well being. It lets us know that everything is alright. For one reason or another many of us do not get the level of human contact that we want or need in order to be our optimal selves. I would like to help bring this into your life. When you have what you need life is amazing!”

I know that touch is different than words, but both are gifts of human connection and I think both have serious power.

We can use our words to connect with others and be loving and accepting and we can use our words to create space and separation. I like to think about and practice using my words to make connections and to be aware of how my words affect others, not that I’m always good at it, but I am practicing daily. 🙂  Just keeping things real. Perfectly imperfect, right?

I just listened to and watched this youtube video of Us the Duo singing Shake it Off. In the video, they have kids holding up signs with the mean words they hear from their peers with their sad faces showing and then they “shake it off” and hold up new signs with empowering words and smiles on their faces.

We can create our realities by thinking and choosing what we believe to be true. We can shake off the ugliness and embrace what we believe to be true about ourselves and not let in the ugly words projected at us. We can choose to use kind words in response to hate and change the conversation. And we can choose to say “I forgive you.” or “Bless your heart. You don’t know any better.” That last one is one of my favorites.

We have power. We get to choose which gifts we give and I choose to give love and positivity through my words and conversation as often as possible and as often as I remember to choose the high road. This feels right to me.  We can choose to reject words too by ignoring them, letting them bounce off us, saying no, and changing the conversation by walking away, asking a question, or just ignoring the negativity. We do not have to engage because we have a choice.  Isn’t that powerful?


I Want A Relationship With You

“Good relationships are not just about the good times you share; they’re also about the obstacles you go through together…and the fact that you still say I love you in the end.” – unknown author

Several things happened today that made me think of the importance of relationships. I learned about the importance of forgiveness, letting go, compassion, being grateful and do-overs. I’ll share one of the stories today, and perhaps save the others for another day.

My youngest has been needing lots of attention lately and I’m not sure why. He does things a little bit more slowly, a little bit more noisily, he’s a little more needy, and a lot more demanding.  Basically he’s irritating all of us all, well most all, of the time.

This morning when I asked him to get busy with his chores and to get ready for school, he just sat. He then moved to another near by chair and laid over the arm and spun around for a bit, not really hearing my words for whatever reason. This happened repeatedly, as you can imagine and possibly even happens in your home. When I asked him to sit quietly, he tapped his pencil. If I asked him to stop tapping his pencil, he stomped his foot. It was like he couldn’t hear me, or maybe he did, and he rather enjoyed the negative attention he was receiving from his irritated housemates.

So when I told him he was in trouble for not behaving and for creating conflict in our family, he didn’t like that. I sent him to his room, and told him he was to come straight back there after school.  This agitated him because “he did nothing wrong,” of course, and didn’t understand why I was so mean. I explained myself and told him that was it. He disappeared for thirty seconds and returned, asking for a do-over.  He was sorry for being irritating and wanted to start over again. I said no. He hemmed and hawed, and walked away and then came back again with his bed made, dressed and ready to try again. 

He came and sat on my lap and asked for a do-over again. I said no. He then said, “Mom, I want to try again. I want to have a relationship with you and I want to play with you and I don’t mean to ignore you. I don’t know why I do that and I am not trying to be irritating.”  Again, I said no.  I felt like I needed to be kind and firm and I needed to be a disciplinarian and enforce the rules, so that he’ll learn.

He left again, did more work (or messed around) and came back again, asking for the same thing, again with more emphasis:  “Mom, I just want to love you and I want a relationship with you. I learned my lesson and I’m sorry. Please let’s start over again and have a do-over mom.”

This time I listened, even though I didn’t want to. I wanted to do what was right and teach him a lesson. But what I wanted more than that was to have a loving relationship with him, just like he wanted with me.  I looked at him, and opened my arms, and asked him, “Why are you so smart?” And he said, “Because I am.”  

I believed him and gave him a hug and told him I wanted a relationship with him too and we needed a do-over, to begin again and to respect one another. He smiled and let me kiss his face.  I told him how much I loved him and I think he heard me this time.  

Love wins.  

And hopefully we’ll keep practicing the discipline thing together, learning together and loving one another as we grow our relationship.  I want a relationship with him too.



Perfectly Imperfect

I think acknowledging that I am perfectly imperfect is a way of admitting I make mistakes and that I choose to focus on learning and growing despite the experiences that are less than desirable.

We are human. We mess up. And so what? This is normal. We all do and it’s part of living and loving and learning and growing. And because I choose to focus on positive living, I choose to share the mostly positive stories along my journey, because I think that if we focus on what’s right and good, we will want to repeat these behaviors. I choose to learn from the chaos of life, focusing on solutions, forgiving, and moving on to loving and living it up as quickly as possible.

When I make mistakes, I like to acknowledge them quickly and to apologize for any actions that create discomfort for others so that we can quickly move on and begin to enjoy each other again. I love learning, even when it’s challenging and points out ways I need to grow. I like to tell my kids that I’m still learning when I make a mistake. I hope that this allows them to know its ok to make mistakes too, that adults aren’t perfect and that we always have ways to continue learning how to become better at this life thing.

When a family member makes a mistake, I like to do the same. I like to acknowledge the issue, address why it happened and discuss how to make things better and then forgive and move on. My philosophy is to let things go, as quickly as possible, and to let go of anger, frustration and/or the need to be right.

My sister is visiting us today and was surprised when she witnessed a family disagreement. Our family is passionate and we have loud opinions that sometimes clash. She was thankful that we are normal, and that I am crazy!! :-). After we all calmed down, we apologized for our melodramatic parts and understood why things escalated at the moment. Hugs and kisses were shared and we went back to living and loving again, just like that.

Simplicity. It doesn’t have to be ugly and complicated or embarrassing.

Perfectly imperfect. How was your day?