Monthly Archives: March 2010

Club Awesome Friday 3/26/10

Standard

1.  Tea and Reiki with my friend Bhanu on Wednesday night totally by (non)coincidence

2.  The fact that my friend Liz looked at this (empty) blog the day I told her I made it!

3.  “Winged Helpers” providing miracles and graces on a daily basis last week

4.  My new ring from Silpada-yes, I am easily distracted by bright shiny objects.  Hello, I am a girl… : )

5.  Taking care of me MY way

10 Tips to Cheat 20 Minutes of Sleep

Standard

10 Easy Shortcuts to Cheat at least another 20 Minutes into Your Crazy Day

These are shortcuts I would never want you to tell my mother about, but I do recommend them if you are feeling bonkers and cannot keep up with life’s amazing catapulting pace.  They require more than the usual  “go with the flow” attitude and lack of fascination with what others think of you.

  1.  This is an easy one that I am sure you already know about- Let the dog and cat drink out of the toilet bowl when they are out of water.  They will figure it out rather quickly.  This saves 45 seconds a day, which is about how long we get alone in the bathroom before the kids discover we are hiding in there.  Share it with the dog.
  2. Boiling pasta does not make the big spaghetti pot dirty.  Don’t wash it out afterwards.  It is just water, and the next time I use the big pot, it is for pasta anyway because that is all my 12-year old will eat 4 nights a week.  This saves you 3 minutes every other night.
  3. If the dog happens to get to the cat’s litter box before we get it scooped, I look the other way.  I know you are grossed out, but after the dog does it about 23 times, you lose that immediate repulsion and see the benefit.  He has saved us a step.  His breath is disgustingly, morbidly awful, but hello- he is a dog.  It is unpleasant in the first place to put your face near his.  This saves you 10 minutes each week if you don’t spend too much time distracted by how nasty his breath is.
  4. This one is comparatively much easier.  If the dog happens to pre-wash the dishes in the dishwasher, I don’t say anything either unless I have company… in which case the poor dog is confused and gets an irate scolding.  They are eating off of your dishes- it is important to present a clean front for them (I suddenly hear all the dinner invitations I have out to friends being rejected as they read this…).  I am not advocating an ill-trained dog as a time saver.  Just pick your battles with your dog and remember that he can be of assistance rather than just a dog food recycler in your household.  I hate washing dishes before I put them in the dishwasher.  Did I buy a “dishwasher” at Sears or not, for heaven’s sake?  This one saves a lot of extra time each day, probably 9-13 minutes a day that you could be sleeping!
  5. I am ok with thawing meat out on the counter if I have not thought out far ahead enough to thaw it in the refrigerator.  Really do NOT tell your mom (or my ex-mother-in-law) about this one: Last night I was looking for the hamburger I thought I (acting with more forethought than usual) set in a bowl in the fridge to thaw.  I couldn’t find it.  My daughter found it in the cupboard with the other bowls…  Hmmmm, big dilemma here.  Should I start over with new hamburger for tacos or risk botulism?  It was 5:45 already.  You know me well enough by now to know what I did.  Everyone lived.  It all worked out just fine.  You can do it too.  I give you permission to save food prep time and thaw out your meat on the counter.
  6. If my kids forget their a) lunch, b) mittens, c) coat, d) homework, etc., I do not bring it to them.  This is actually not laziness but good parenting, as it promotes natural consequences for my kids.  They will remember next time and won’t a) starve, b) get frostbite, c)f reeze, or d) flunk out of school and end up unemployed living on my couch when they are 25 years old.  I have actually never brought anything to my kids at school, so they do not expect me to save their little butts.  My daughter wore slippers and socks to pre-school often enough that she figured out a system for herself to keep shoes in the car and thus on her feet.  This one saves you 3-75 minutes a day depending on your current habits.
  7. It may sound counter-intuitive, but I bring my dog in the car with me periodically to help clean it out (everybody in my household pulls some weight, no one gets a free ride!).  He is much better skilled than I am at getting the gold fish and old granola bar chunks jammed down between the seats.  Remember the important last part though:  roll all the windows down and keep your mouth shut during the last 10 minutes while you drive really fast.  All the dog hair he leaves behind swirls up in a cyclone and flies around the car, eventually getting sucked out the windows (don’t wear lipgloss).  This honestly works, and saves you 2-17 minutes each week that you could use meditating new ways to get your dog to operate the vacuum cleaner.
  8. Never match up your socks again.  Ask your kids to do it.  Grade-schoolers think it is cool, and your teenager needs more chores to do.  I have not met a teenager who pulls their weight in their home, including mine!  No matter who does it, they will do a mediocre job.  That is ok.  Let go of your socks matching exactly and enjoy 13 more minutes a week in the shower- use the eucalyptus-mint body scrub.
  9. Never hem anything (as if you considered doing this in the first place!).  Use double-sided tape instead.  If a button falls off, you can use it there too.  Just use new tape between wash cycles to avoid pulling a Janet Jackson.
  10. Let your kids make dinner once a week without your help.  Don’t worry, jelly toast is a perfectly square meal if they add carrot sticks and milk.  This saves you 20 minutes a week and many migraines later when the precious little bobbins are taller than you but still live at home, expecting you to cook them dinner while they sit on the couch texting friends and playing Xbox because they don’t know how to take care of themselves.

You will notice I did not recommend you put makeup on while driving.  It is too dangerous, and your kids are watching your habits anyway.  Allowing the dog to help out with the litter box is one thing to let slide, but not safety and careful, obvious, heart-felt care for you and your family.

I don’t know if these tips add up to 20 minutes or not, I just used that line as a way of tricking myself to think I was writing a very important article for Self magazine.  Just try to sleep as much as possible with the extra time you have saved with all of these heart-warming tricks.  We could sleep even more hours (like  maybe even 7!) if we just “let it go” a little more often.  That is the theme here of course, let go and relax.  You are already good enough…

Treasures 03 27 10

Standard

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Matthew 6: 19-21

Where is your treasure?  What are you investing in?  Are you putting your precious limited energy to its best use, or are you like me- fretting and fuming about the dirty kitchen counter, wondering frantically if my shirt really matches my pants, asking myself over and over and over if I will make it to the next check on $23.41 in my checking account, incessantly and obsessively checking my email for that one note from that one person, and whining about work, or the lack of it, and not getting a romantic spring break on the beach.   As an alternative, we could be working on growing trust and faith in God, loving ourselves with our thoughts and choices, bringing up and creating good habits to encourage and enrich our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors.

We all know that positive self-talk is important from all the self-help books we have read and the hours we have spent on counseling couches.  I/we just need to do it on a more consistent basis- love ourselves and say it out loud, do things that show our love to ourselves, make choices to prove to ourselves that we love ourselves…  eat the right foods, get enough sleep, stay away from depending on undependable people, be clear with our financial choices….  And the boundaries… oh yes the boundaries- an awesome way to love and respect ourselves!!

I realized today there may be a nice little feedback loop– our healthy boundaries encouraging positive self-talk, and the positive self-talk encourages us to have good boundaries!! Isn’t it brilliant how diligence on one good habit helps us make other good habits?!

For the Boundaries lesson for this week, we will review 6 changes in us that signal the start of creating and maintaining healthy boundaries:

1-      Feeling resentment:  We will feel resentment as we grow our boundary muscles and notice when people in our lives are stepping on them a bit.  So resentment may be a good sign (not bad, as I always thought before), as it is a little alarm system, letting us know that we need to check out the fences we put up and see who is tipping them over, or at least trying to (consciously or subconsciously).

2-      Attraction to some new people:  We will find ourselves attracted to folks with healthy boundaries.  These might be new people in our lives- new blood to get our brains out of the ruts of old actions.  It does not mean we have to throw our “old” relationships away.  Remember the song from Girl Scouts?  “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold”. 

3-      Finding supportive places to practice boundaries:  These new places (like sports groups, work relationships, friendship circles, etc.) are helping us to flex our muscles just a little bit more and to be encouraged to stretch to realize their boundaries are healthy (e.g., my new counselor kicked me out of her office after running over by only 5 minutes! “The nerve!”  Oops, I mean, “Gee, isn’t it awesome that she is modeling good boundaries with me…”)

4-      Treasuring our treasures:  In a more conscious way, we will value our feelings, talents, thoughts, attitudes, behavior, bodies, and the resources God has entrusted us with (e.g. our kids, our money, our homes).  We may find ourselves not allowing others to disregard our opinions by simply not sharing them in unsafe environments (like not sharing my political views with my parents).  We might also find ourselves building on talents we have, sharing our art with others, or our capabilities with coworkers.  We may also be deciding now to treasure our need for sleep and let the kids sleep in their own beds, or not get up with them when they have minor needs.  And  we may find ourselves being more (not overly)protective of our precious kids, or thinking of ways to spend better time with them- for me that means ignoring the kitchen counter clutter so that I can look my daughter in the eye when she talks to me about her day.

5-      Practicing Baby Step Nos: This might look like setting limits on how many hot lunches the kids can buy in one month, asking them to wait patiently until the end of the month for new shoes, telling the boss I will not be available to work on Easter weekend, etc. This probably would not include me addressing my best friend’s drinking problem… that is not a “baby step no”!

6-      Feeling guilty about making healthy boundary choices:  Yes, feeling guilty actually means that we are examining our stuff, re-evaluating our reactions, and even defying an inaccurate authority!  This signals spiritual growth!  Yippee.  It means that we are wrestling with our negative reaction to our mothers’ insistence on trouncing upon our boundaries.  We are listening to a truer source.  And your mom won’t like it, will she?  She might even try to magnify the guilt card…

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Matthew 6:21

No matter who likes it, or doesn’t like this change in our behavior, we know we need to take the steps necessary to protect our treasures and grow in them.  God is my chosen authority, not my mom, dad, boss, or my older brother.  I want to follow what God wants me to do, not them.  And we know from our study that God wants us to have good boundaries, to love ourselves with our thoughts and choices, to bring up and create good habits to encourage and enrich our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors.  We are his treasure, and we need to care for his treasure.  Boundaries are not selfish!

This is hard work if you are a “boundary-injured person”; we have had kids, parents, partners, siblings, friends, and bosses dancing on our boundaries for years…most of our lives, even.  We need to be prepared to be challenged.  Be prepared to have obstacles.  But also be prepared to persevere through our difficulties in setting and keeping boundaries.  It may be good and right work, but that does not mean it is easy…

Fortunately, God is with us, cheering us on the whole way.  He is our biggest fan and most devoted assistance when we need it.