The 5th Detour of Every Overwhelmed Woman

This is the 5th detour in the series…The 5 Detours of Every Overwhelmed Woman (and why you have to steer clear of them).

Hiding in Smalltown — this is where we keep our personal talents and gifts hidden, almost secretly hoping no one will notice us. Then, we won’t really have to deliver on anything, will we? Almost every woman I meet is living smaller in some way than she should, thinking comfort and security are the most important ingredients to a good life, when the most important ingredient to a good life is following your passion.

To leave our place of overwhelm and live the life of our dreams, to really comnnect with the people that matter to us, we have to escape, to completely steer clear of these 5 detours that are waiting to derail us. We have to quit hiding, quit fretting, quit being busy. We have to start caring for ourselves and begin to allow our personal light to shine in the world.

To be the BIGGER you, you must remember…you are meant for joy, for glorious things. You are sacred energy. You are unique and special. You are meant to live BIG!


The Purpose of a Four-Legged Friend

One reason a dog can be such a comfort when you’re feeling blue is that he doesn’t try to find out why.

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said, ”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The six-year-old continued, ”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right. Think good thoughts for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living.

(This story’s author is unknown. If you know who Ron, Lisa, Shane or the Veterinarian are, please let me know. Thanks!)

What I Learned From Bob

I was having lunch with an old friend today from the first advertising agency I ever worked at over 25 years ago.

Rose and I were catching, up, barely taking breaths between our words and making the waitress incessantly nervous as she waited on us to place our orders. We couldn’t stop talking long enough to decide whether to have the 6 oz. Sirloin or the Salmon Salad. Between the bread and the drink delivery, Rose said “can you believe Bob died?”

My heart skipped a beat.

Bob was one of my old consulting buddies. Our last projects together had been strained as I had little tolerance for client mumbo jumbo or for Bob’s persnickety ways. Bob was about 14 years older than me which made him a cross between a nice uncle, a demanding Dad and an annoying brother. We’d billed thousands of dollars a month together as we strategized with heating and cooling companies, roofers, an oil company and retirement communities.

Bob was always early. I was always…right on time. Bob always had to rehearse. I preferred winging it. Our style differences didn’t matter much in the beginning but as I began to think about moving on, Bob’s preferences became exasperating.

Bob’s death made me gasp. Thinking of the planet without him made me sad. He was such a steady force that I guess I thought he’d be around forever. He’s not. After a trip to the hospital on a Tuesday night where the doctors declared him fit and fine, he died the next morning with his wife in the next room making coffee. I’m not sure of what killed Bob. I don’t really know if it matters.

Everyone has something to teach us. No matter how old, how young or how opposite of us someone is…there’s always something to learn.

Here’s what I learned from Bob:

• Preparation is essential to success…have a plan and then go work it
• Always have a clean car even if you’re the only one who ever rides in it
• Carry cash
• Ask lots of questions
• Integrity, trust and character are essential elements of good relationships
• Always make copies
• Be a mentor whenever you can

Bob was a great man. He’ll be missed. He was only 64 years old and left a wife and a daughter who love him. I got the lessons Bob, even if you didn’t think I was listening.

Keep Your Spit To Yourself Please

Wal-Mart is not my favorite store to shop at (I prefer Target but now I’ve heard they don’t support the US military so pretty soon I’m going to be destined to Dollar General) but I was getting my nails done so I thought I’d pick up a few things while I was there. Yogurt. Check. Diet Coke. Check. Lip gloss. Ummmm.

Being 50, you find yourself thoroughly confused as you enter the make-up department. Are you too old for Cover Girl? Is Neutrogena only for clearing up skin? Will 14 Hour Lip Gloss actually stay on for 14 hours? I thought I’d see.

I strolled down the aisle and spotted the 14 Hour Lipgloss. It was right next to the 20 hour (who needs 20 hours of lipstick?) but was being blocked by two young women around the age of 20. They weren’t moving but I was determined so I was going to look over, under and through them.

But then I spotted it. They were testing EVERY tube of lipgloss on their arm. Swiping it and admiring the color. Aghast, I hesitated for about a nanosecond before I said something. I said “Are you actually doing what I think you’re doing there?” They looked at me like I’d dropped in from Jupiter and said, “What?” I said, “are you actually testing the lipsticks on your arm?” They responded, “Yes! The first one is always the tester.” I said, “No, they don’t have testers here and I don’t want to swap spit or germs with 10,000 other women.” I muttered the word ‘ Man’ and wheeled on outta there.

Have they ever heard of communicable diseases? Have they ever fought a fungus or a rash they acquired from some unknown source? Guess not. They seemed totally at ease running the open lipsticks over their arms and standing back to ooh and ahhh over it. We’re not in Beauty Brands or MAC or Sephora where they actually use sterilization. We’re in Wal-Mart for gosh sakes.

I remember watching the Discovery Channel a few years back and hearing a President state that when the people refuse to govern themselves, more and more laws will be needed. We will be governed by the State. Isn’t that exactly what is happening? When something as innocent as lipstick has to be monitored by the Make-Up Police, we all lose.

I didn’t actually see either girl put the lipstick to her mouth, but who knows who else had visited the counter before they did. Keep your spit to yourself please. I don’t want to buy a lipstick you’ve tested on your arm either. I know the true color doesn’t always appear on the lips exactly as it does in the tube, but use your best judgment. And Wal-Mart, encourage your manufacturers to seal the tubes. It’d make it a bit easier and safer for all of us.

What I Learned From Week 1 of Facebook

I did it.

After 5 years and hundreds of questions from friends and colleagues about why I wasn’t on Facebook, I stopped resisting. I spent an entire weekend uploading photos, censoring my thoughts, ‘friending’ people I hadn’t seen in 30 years, informing my ‘inner circle’ aka the family of what I was doing, scrolling senselessly and reading posts. At one point on Sunday night two days into my journey I found myself sitting perched on the edge of my seat awaiting a comment or a Like.

Instant gratification comes in the form of Facebook.

My first goal was 100 friends. I made it in 2 days. Week 1 garnered me 135 friends. Good start, I guess.

If you want to get all the Grandmas of the world to come together, post a picture of your adorable grandson online. If you want to start a political rant, post a controversial ‘idea starter’ and then wait for everyone to go wild. If you want to put God on the map, simply write about him while the MU/KU national showdown game is on or immediately following the Super Bowl.

Since my inaugural post I’ve set up lunch with 2 friends I hadn’t seen in 2 years. I’ve stalked my kids sites and flipped through every picture they post (my son just informed me he’s thinking of taking his Facebook down since I’ve gotten on). I’ve instant messaged people and contemplated the new “Timeline” format, even though as a newbie, learning the new format wouldn’t be any big deal for me. I’ve posted mostly quotes from famous philosophers on my own wall which puzzles me. Am I hiding behind other people’s words instead of writing my own?

I’ve learned that certain people love themselves incessantly. They post a new profile picture on average of 2 times per week. I’ve learned that not much changes from high school…that the beautiful high school cheerleader now also has the most beautiful family on the planet. The guy who had a gold tooth now runs the local tow company and is as nice as apple pie (always was). The guy and girl voted most successful are still that…successful.

I’ve learned that weekends aren’t nearly as busy as the weekdays on Facebook. Facebook’s still in it’s infancy, officially less than a decade old and within months of it’s own Wall Street debut will make its founder ga-ga rich to the tune of around $24 billion the first day it starts trading stock. Facebook connects over 800,000,000 people at this moment in time.

I’m big on people and relationships. I know Facebook’s claim to fame is that it connects both…people and relationships. But here’s what I found from my first week on Facebook; while I like the photos, the questions (my first poll was Does God Care if I Wear Pantyhose to Church?), the camaraderie and the real-time info, Facebook hasn’t changed my life.

It’s enhanced my life, but it’s also sucked 20 hours out of last week. Perhaps those were piddle hours, hours when I would’ve been on my butt anyway watching “Revenge” with my hubby or “Mickey Mouse” with my grandson. I know this. I take total responsibility for the time I’ve invested in the 21st century’s technological idol.

Facebook is here to stay. It’s up to me to manage it instead of the other way around. And I believe that if you want to have real friends it still takes two things, t-i-m-e and e-f-f-o-r-t. It’s not as simple as hitting the buttons “Add Friend Now” or “Confirm Friend Now”. The real friends are the ones who will throw dirt in at the funeral.

How many of your Facebook friends will do that?

The Meaning of Sorrow

My daughter’s friend just lost her 20-week old infant son. Complications prevented Kahlo from being born a full-term baby…her pregnancy was cut short at just 20 weeks in utero after desperately trying to save the baby through a series of medical procedures. Kahlo died.

He already had a name. He already had a family. He had a Mom who couldn’t wait to meet him and whose arms now ache because she will never swing him in her arms or sing him a lullaby.

Her heart is broken. And so are our hearts, for her.

There are no words that can soothe this pain. There is no human reasoning that can explain away the horrendous abyss that Kahlo’s Mom is feeling.

For now, all we can do is cry with her. And for her. We can pray for strength and hug each other a bit tighter. We can remember to make time. To take time. That life is much more than a race to go faster. It is a masterpiece to savor. Each and every day.

This is one of life’s greatest mysteries…the meaning of sorrow. Why did Kahlo not get to make his way into the world. Was it to prevent him from having pain, or allowing evil to permeate his little life? Was it a lesson for the rest of us…a lesson in compassion and heartache and gratitude. A reminder of the things we take for granted a daily basis.

What is the meaning of sorrow? Why does so much of it exist? Lord, what are we to learn from this heart-wrenching death?

Kahlo’s in Heaven wrapped in the safety of Jesus’ arms. Lord, wrap his Mommy in yours too.