Meet Dexter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would like to introduce you to Dexter, our 2-year-old Yorkie who is wise beyond his years. I’ve learned a lot from Dexter and decided perhaps you too could benefit from his particular brand of wisdom. From time to time, I will share an insight, a view, a preference and an occasional cute picture from Dexter that will serve to inspire us all!

First a little history. I have several friends who have Yorkies and for a while our daughter had been hounding, I mean politely mentioning, how ‘cute they were and wouldn’t it be just great to have our own’? We heard it so much that we started to believe it ourselves and started a secret search to find one that would be the perfect match for our family. In our quest we realized there was a Yorkie breeder living in   our area and gave them a call. One of her dogs recently had two pups, a male and female, but they were both spoken for. She assured us that there would be others available and we prepared to wait. Lucky for us she called us back a few weeks later saying the family who had the male dog changed their mind and would we be interested? Of course we said yes and my husband and I went to check him out. He was his adorable self and on the spot decided he was meant for us. He had been named Dexter and become used to it so, despite the fact that the only other Dexter I’d ever heard of was a serial killer, we accepted him name and all!

As you can tell from the photo, he is an avid sun worshiper. His best friend is Sparkle, our 11-year-old saved from the pound terrier mix, and they both enjoy wrestling, napping and any brand of doggie treats! Dexter has become quite close to my husband, Paul, who swore he would never have a little dog in the house. It seems he has changed his mind!

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Control the Comparisons

When people gather it is easy to fall into the comparison trap. Unfortunately that can even occur during the holidays. I love this Self Care tip from my friend Karen Rowinsky and wanted to share it with you as you head straight on into the holiday week. Thank you for joining me in 2011 and I look forward to more sharing and growing together in 2012.

 Control the Comparisons                                            
by Karen Rowinsky                                            

Studies on happiness reveal that happier people do not spend much time comparing themselves to others. Of course that is easier said than done. Most of us compare ourselves, our kids, and our economic status to our friends, neighbors, and colleagues. We make assumptions that other people are happier, more in love, more cared about than we are.

The problem with comparing ourselves to others is that some of our assumptions may not be true. People usually put up a good front. Many people show us what they want us to see. They don’t show us their pain about their relationships, the problems with their kids, or their unhappiness or depression.

If you find yourself comparing yourself to others, take a moment to question whether you are basing your comparison on reality. Sure they might have a nicer house than yours but they might be struggling to make payments. Their kids might seem to be excelling in sports but how much pressure are they under? They may have a smile on their face but what is it hiding? You will most likely never know if what you assume is accurate, so why bother comparing?

Self care is controlling the comparisons. When you find yourself comparing, substitute a few minutes of being thankful for what you have instead.

Karen Rowinsky, LMSW, is a licensed master social worker. She has a private counseling practice in Overland Park, Kansas.

Contact her at: 913-663-3511 or http://www.overlandparkcounseling.com/


The 365 Challenge: What are you thankful for?

Yes tomorrow is the official day that we set aside for being ‘Thankful’ but in reality Thanksgiving Day should be a reminder/wakeup call to be thankful, grateful or mindful every day of the year! My challenge to you is to help me do a 365!  I am starting a thankful list on this blog and am challenging all my followers and friends to add to it in the comments section. The goal? To reach a grand total of at least 365 items to be thankful for before Thanksgiving Day is over.

Can we do it? Yes we can!!

I am thankful for: good health, home, my daughter, my husband, my little mama, my son and daughter-in-law, brothers, sister-in-laws, nephews and their families, my great-nephew, our dogs Sparkle and Dexter, all my aunts, uncles and cousins, my faith, freedom, my eyesight, my hearing, my strange mind, creativity, my legs for exercising, sense of touch, sunshine, sunrise, sunset, the smell of rain, fingers to type with, my friends of all ages, backgrounds, and interests who make my life so much fun, good memories that sustain me, bad memories to learn from, silence, giggling babies, hot chocolate, my voice, singing, rhythm, pumpkins, squash, chocolate, pecans, old photographs, books, shoes, clothes, reading glasses, fingernails, fuzzy socks, popcorn, warm soup on a cold day, hot apple cider, sticky notes, my car, feet for walking, soft, warm blankets, puppies, clients who hire me to speak, Facebook friends, the Mogul Mom Community, the ability to be a friend to others, learning that never ends, listening skills, compassion, grandmothers, inventors, my imagination that fuels my soul, artwork that appeals to the heart and eye, teachers of all kinds, disciplines, and temperaments, volunteers that make our world better for no other reason but to make it better, journals with blank pages waiting to be filled, the smell of cinnamon, the musicality of my mother’s wind chimes from the farm that sounds like God talking to me, artist talent, electricity, LinkedIn connections, people who understand computers, and much, much MORE!

Now it’s your turn; comment on this blog by listing what you are thankful for and help me meet the 365 challenge!

 

 


Straighten Up!

There comes a point when the clutter and disorganization are becoming distracting and you have to stop everything and straighten up.

My moment came when the new computer I ordered finally arrived and I knew my office needed to be cleaned up and rearranged to accommodate the new system. I am a firm believer in ‘pile files’ to a point but I also am a bit of a pack rat (not the same as the Rat Pack of Hollywood lore) so I knew some of the stuff just had to go. Luckily my husband agreed to help and we tackled every inch of my office with sweepers, dusters, trash containers, glass cleaners and disinfectant wipes. At the end of the day it was a more organized, spacious area that I really like to hand out in; and work of course! Sure I have the stray box of stuff stashed behind the chair that I’m still not sure what to do with but I know it is manageable and it will disappear shortly.

With my office now looking more professional instead of where everything goes that we don’t know what to do with I have decided that everybody, every room, every everything needs straightening up now and then. I believe when you find yourself with no motivation, writer’s block, the lazies, or in a slump you should stop whatever you are doing and straighten up something. What you ask? Well I just happen to have an answer.

Start cleaning up your car: clean out your console, glove box, and any other nooks and crannies including the dash, seats, under the seats, cup holders, and any strange sticky stuff that has taken up residence.

Start cleaning up your purse or briefcase: get rid of pens that don’t work, small trash, old files and folders, grocery lists, used tissues (guilty!), lipsticks you never use, that old tin of breath mints you forgot about, old business cards, expired coupons, the handful of change that rolls around (please put in a bank not the trash) and that melted piece of chocolate.

Start cleaning out one catch-all drawer: discard the jammed stapler, pens and markers that don’t write, group like items and put them in containers, envelopes or boxes; this works for stamps, rubber bands, paperclips, erasers, lead for pencils, and stray anything.

I think that is a big enough assignment today. Have any ideas about what needs to be straightened up? Awesome! Share with me below or send me an email to my ‘brand new not sure how everything works computer’ and I will share your list with everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Top Ten Tips for Trick-or-Treating

Pumpkins, scary sounds, masks, costumes, blowing leaves, and lots of sugar, it must be October! I enjoy Halloween as much as anyone, but I do admit that, as a parent, there are precautions that must be taken to be sure my child is safe while having a good time. Before your children venture out this October 31st, go over these ten tips and explain why they are important. Yeah it’s boring and time consuming but do it anyway; it’s a parent thing!

1. Make sure children are accompanied by an adult or responsible teenager when they go door to door.

2. If children are going to be out after dark, make sure they carry a flashlight. Make a fun one yourself with a plastic pumpkin cut to fit over the front of a regular flashlight.

3. Teach your children to use the sidewalks if they can. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the street facing cars.

4. Know which friends your children will be with and which route they are taking.

5. Leave your porch light on so children will know it’s OK to visit your home.

6. Instruct children to never to eat anything until they are home and the treats have been carefully examined. Cut and wash fruit before eating. Throw away anything unwrapped. Check the wrappers of commercial treats for evidence of tampering.

7. Look for the label Flame Resistant on purchased costumes or use fire resistant fabric or treat it with fire resistant spray if you make costumes yourself.

8. Small children should never carve pumpkins. Instead, let your child draw a face on the pumpkin with markers and paint, or use stickers to decorate.

9. Keep candles, pumpkins with candles, matches and lighters in a place that children and pets can’t reach and away from curtains and other objects that could catch fire.

10. Be extra careful when driving. Slow down and watch for children who might be so excited they forget safety rules.


My Corner of the World

This is my ‘decked out for fall’ front porch. I love this porch because it has room for our whole family and more to hang out and the ceiling fans make it comfortable through at least three seasons of the year. I obsess way too much when I decorate the porch, but it all works out and I think this fall I did an outstanding job! (maybe I went a little far with that statement but I’m leaving it in!)

    This is guy started out as a dried gourd, but every time I looked at the gourd I saw a bird so I turned it into my version of a quail. Now he perches on my front porch steps in a nest that blew out of a nearby tree. I think he’s pretty happy!

   I found awesome mums this year and using the two colors really walks the eye up and down the steps, don’t you think? For the other props I walked around my house and scavenged through my basement and attic to pull out items to accessorize the look.  Below you can see more details of how the decorations carry up onto the porch. Wish you were here!

 

 


Multi-Tasking

You hear it on the nightly news and network morning shows. You read about it in newspapers, self-help books and magazine covers. Everybody is supposedly doing it and wanting to learn how to do it better. Therefore, it must be a good thing-Right?

Wrong, just because it makes a good sound bite and EVERYBODY wants to say he or she is doing it does not make it right for you. (Didn’t your mother ever give you the ‘If everyone is jumping off a cliff does that mean you should’ speech?) Are we so programmed that we are eager to jump on the latest bandwagon without questioning the validity for ourselves?

Multi-tasking sounds like a great idea but the premise is false; you cannot possibly be doing several tasks with equal attention and emphasis. If you have ever driven on the interstate and watched someone put on their makeup, tie a tie, or dive for something on the floorboard as they hurl their vehicle down the road at 75 miles an hour, you know what I mean. That being said, I admit to being a victim of the multi-tasking mindset until I realized that I was losing focus. I was doing several things in mediocre fashion and not even remembering most of it.

There are plenty of people, organizations, and companies ready to solve your time management dilemmas. I did a Google search for time management and came up with 756,000.000 sites. If you really want to multi-task and waste a lot of time, sort through all those someday! In the past couple of days I have run across the following article titles:

-11 Time Management Tips
-5 Categories for Effective Time Management
-12 Easy Ways to Organize Your Work Life
-10 Quick Time Management Tips
-Top 10 Time Management and Productivity Tools

Titles like these leave me wondering, is it 10 tips or 11? If more is better, maybe I should go with the 39 tools. Is a category better than a tip? How can there be 39 tools if someone just told me there were 12 easy ways?

Time management tips, books, and articles are as prevalent as diet books and should be treated the same way. There are undoubtedly some good ideas in all of them, but that does not mean every method or idea is right for you. You will have to make choices. Choices require thought, reflection, and being honest with yourself.

It is often easier to accept someone else’s solution or opinion, but they rarely work for us. Multi-tasking can be a form of avoidance used to distract us from facing the situation and doing what needs to be done. To gain focus so you can make intelligent choices on how to best use your time, try the following exercises.

1. During the day, preferably first thing in the morning or last thing at night, empty your mind. Do this without distractions and interruptions. This can be done by writing out everything that is on your mind or sit quietly and mentally click through what is junking up your brain and visualize dumping the contents into a dumpster. Experiment and find out what works best for you. As you do this, you will begin to notice recurring patterns, concerns, and even worries. List them, invest your time, and deal with them so you are free. Often dealing with them means changing the way you view them or your attitudes.

2. You may not realize it, but every waking moment your brain is filled with mind chatter. This internal conversation is framing the way you see yourself and everything that happens to you, and most of it is negative and judgmental. Your mind chatter, or whatever you choose to call it, makes you feel both afraid to do something and guilty if you do not. Good news! Research shows that even a slight decrease in your negative self-talk increases your ability to respond to the world more creatively. My favorite way to combat negative messages is the rubber band trick.

Wear a rubber band around your left wrist if you are right-handed or your right wrist if you are left-handed. Each time you catch yourself thinking negatively, pull on the rubber band and give yourself a flick. I guarantee this will wake you up and make you take notice! If your wrist is red and swollen at the end of the day you know your negatives out weigh your positives. I use it myself and like it so much I had special rubber bands made to use and share with others

 Darla Arni 2011


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