Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy Birthday to my boyfriend!

So, we all agree that I'm a goob, right? I found out today that the people I work with are just as crazy as I am.

Have I shared that I LOVE Abraham Lincoln? I think he is SO cool. He's always been the person in history that I admire most. As a kid I even had an Abraham Lincoln bedroom. Yes, really! It's "come out" a few times at work...and now a few people say that he's my boyfriend., I walk into this from my Secret Pal:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

What was SO funny, was that people kept coming up going "Is it your birthday???" And I'd have to say "'s President's Day." And they'd kind of get this blank look, and then go "But the note said it's your special day???" Hahaha...and I'd have to tell them. Good lord. I swear, I smiled ALL day. I love my friends. I can't wait to find out (in May) who my Secret Pal is.

Oh! And then what's even funnier...

After school today, I took Shannon to the dentist. She's sitting there in the waiting room, reading "Family Fun" and suddenly goes "Mom! Look at this!"

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Sooo, we know my secret pal reads Family Fun. Cracks me up that she saw this and thought of me, lol! My cupcakes were *exactly* like the ones in the liners, green icing, gold sprinkles...EVERYTHING!

At preschool when I got the cupcakes, of course the kids were THRILLED, and wanted to know who "that man" was. I told them that he was "Abraham Lincoln," which of course was met with "I dunno" expressions. I went on to teach/say that a long, long time ago he was president of the United States (I knew this was above most of them...but I like to start their brain's file folders on stuff early, lol!). So THEN I said "He was a very important man a long time ago, so we like to celebrate his birthday every year." The kids were excited by the "birthday" aspect.

So then, I said "who has Lincoln Logs?" Several kids said "Me me me!" So I said "Abraham Lincoln used to live in a log neat that they made toys so you could have log cabins like him!" And then I left it alone.

About 45 minutes later, it was snack time. So (as I was holding the cupcakes) I asked the kids "Do you remember whose special birthday it is today?" One little girl yelled out "ABRAHAM LINCOLNLOGS!" Hahahaha!

And from then on, that's what everybody in class called him. When we sang happy birthday, that's who we sang it to, too! Ha!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

8 Steps for Creating Your Best Life

Wow. God listens. I went to the gym today, and while I was walking on the treadmill, I was thinking to myself that I need to set some life goals. I've been sorta coasting for awhile, and I'm getting to where I don't like it. I don't feel like I'm moving or working TOWARD something. I even mentioned it to Patrick on the way home from the gym. I said a little prayer about it, and then got online.

I hopped onto on of my favorite bulletin boards that I visit...and a friend had just posted this today.

OK...I'm listening!!! LOL

8 Goals for Creating Your Best Life:

1. Take more risks without knowing the exact outcome. Over and over, I’ve asked clients to tell me about the highlights of their lives, as well as the biggest rewards they have experienced as a result of taking risks. Without fail, every major “win” in their lives has occurred when they have screwed up their courage to do something gutsy, but that wasn’t guaranteed to succeed. Examples have included traveling solo in a foreign country, stepping outside the family norms to pursue a different type of work, or taking up a competitive sport at midlife. The research is clear on this point: in the short-term, we regret the things that don’t work out, but long-term, our most toxic regrets come from the risks we don’t take. Bottom line: Don’t follow the herd.

2. Don’t be a quitter. My children grew up as part of the sadly misguided “Generation Me” that was told that everyone is a winner, regardless of effort or outcome. One of the biggest disservices we can do is send our children into the world with the idea that the playing field is level everywhere, and that all comers get soccer participation trophies. That’s not reality, although it is when you fall down the rabbit hole in “Alice in Wonderland,” where the Dodo Bird proclaimed after a foot race, “All have won, and all must have prizes!” The truth is that people who drop out when the going gets tough, like at red belt stage in a black belt martial arts program, have mediocre self-esteem because they know that they never truly tested themselves. New research out of the University of San Francisco even found that it’s the things that create the most discomfort during the day, and that stretch us outside our comfort zone, are the things we are proudest of at the end of the day. That’s the outcome and self-esteem we want. Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to be in emotional or physical pain if you are striving to achieve something hard.

3. Don’t be a Debbie Downer. Some of the most interesting research on behavior has been cascading out of Harvard Medical School, where it’s been found that behaviors ranging from quitting smoking, to obesity, to happiness, all happen in clusters. Thus it seems fairly obvious that if you want to flourish in life, and find the best possible outcome to every situation, you need to align yourself with positive, proactive, kind people. It’s even been found that how close you are in a company to people called “positive energizers” – people who make you feel hopeful, motivated and valued – is more predictive of your success than where you are in the influence network or the information network. The negative “de-energizers” – or Debbie Downers – have the exact opposite effect. Know what behavior you exude, as well as where the positive energizers always are in your personal and professional lives. Bottom line: Steer clear of the “black holes” who suck away your energy and happiness.

4. Have four in-person friendships. To be categorized as a flourishing person, you have to meet the definition of having strong interpersonal relationships. My daughter’s generation tends to text, email, Facebook, video chat and tweet their friends hundreds of times every day without ever being in physical proximity. Too much internet socialization has been found to increase isolation, while all the signs point to socializing in person as a key deterrent to depression. One study found that having at least four friends improved one’s recovery time from surgery, and another study found that loneliness is more toxic than smoking to one’s health. Go to your friend’s parties, be with them in times of sadness, be happy when they receive good news, and remember their birthdays and comment on them (Facebook is actually very useful in this way). Bottom line: The more you tend to the garden of friendship, the more blossoms you’ll enjoy.

5. Create a road map for your life. One of the most comprehensive studies of its kind found that the happiest people wake up every day to clear-cut goals, many of which involve relationships with others as well as doing meaningful work. Most people, however, wake up every day and react to what was left undone from the previous day, while proactive people wake up every day and do things that they have deliberately chosen to do, and that are part of a set of short-term and long-term leveraged goals. Choose the latter approach because you will always be on the stage of your own life instead of passing out programs in the back of the theater for others. Bottom line: Ask yourself every night, “Did I move the ball down the field in my own life today, and what did I move it towards?”

6. Give thanks for your good fortune by giving to others. People who are self-involved, and who don’t make an effort to connect with others, are not only unhappier, they are also disliked by their peers. When you always find a way to express gratitude to others (thank you notes, a quick call to someone who did something nice, a smile for the person who held the door for you), you not only get the validated chemical “helper’s high,” you make a difference in someone else’s life. A new study has even found that “Generation Me” has 40% lower empathy levels than previous generations, partly because of the overexposure to media violence and the drop in interpersonal face time, so find ways to fight those trends. Bottom line: Say thank you every day whenever you have a chance to do so.

7. Don’t allow an addiction to destroy your quality of life. Over twenty years ago, I wrote the bestselling book, “My Name is Caroline,” about my harrowing descent into bulimia and my hard-fought recovery in my twenties. Since that time, I’ve watched countless friends, and well as their children, live unmanageable lives of addiction to all kinds of things ranging from food to online gambling, which has cost them their dreams and their self-respect. If a substance or behavior is costing you the quality of your life, get help now and use your youth to get on solid footing and improve your self-regulation skills, because if you can’t learn to delay gratification, you will be unable to achieve any substantive goals. Bottom line: If you don’t have complete and voluntary control over your behaviors when you need to be, get the help you need.

8. Act childlike, not childish. When children are young, they have the quality of “zest” in abundance, but for adults, “zest” is one of the least common traits they possess. Zest is correlated with happiness because people who have zest are curious about life, eager for a challenge, inspirational to others, and contagious in their capacity for fun and play. Laugh regularly, play April Fool’s jokes on people, do outrageous things at times, and exercise to keep your spirit strong. If you have zest, you’ll never be described as someone who “has the lights on, but nobody is home.” Bottom line: Stay young at heart, and don’t die before your time.

Article credit to Caroline Adams Miller.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ugh...sick with flu

My blog's been quiet for awhile now...but this past week, it's been quiet because I've been sick in bed with the flu.

I started feeling sick-ish last Wednesday. Thursday morning, I felt pretty awful (cough/congested head), but I didn't have a fever so I went to work. I got steadily worse all day, and by the time I got home from work, I had a 101.5 fever, could pass NO air through my nose, and was coughing my head off. A really tight painful cough.

I (obviously) stayed home from work on Friday, and stayed pretty much the same all day, and through Saturday. By Saturday night, my fever was going UP (doh!), so Patrick trundled me off to an urgent care center. I was tested...and diagnosed with the flu.

Since then...I've been in bed. Period. As of last night, my temp still goes up to 100 a few times through the day. The decongestant they gave me (Lodrane 24-hour) is amazing...and I'm still coughing quite a bit, despite taking my cough meds every 8 hours.

I AM improving...but my gosh is it slow! I've missed this entire week of work. Plus, when I'm sick, I lie in bed and worry. I start feeling like EVERYTHING is wrong, and it takes a lot of mental work to stay on top of it. Argh.

I'm hoping to wake up feeling TERRIFIC (or heck...even mediocre, lol) one of these days!