Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What I Know About: Writing New Years Blog Posts

Around this time of year I usually write a post about what I am going to do next year. I can say usually because this is the third New Years post I have written for I’m Every Woman… Where has the time gone!

It has been a stellar year for me. It has been the kind of year that would have played well on a reality show. Full of ups and downs… elation and sadness… surprises and just plain weirdness.

So let me recap

Dec 18 of 2007 stepped through the door to my new office, not really knowing what would come of this new job. 12 months later The work I have done on some just really fun projects have earned me the privilege of being a featured speaker or panelist six times, I have been quoted in 3 publications including Business Week, and I even won a national award. I LOVE THIS JOB!

One of my friends had all her prayers answered and she had a baby boy… my godson. Then… about 3 weeks later my brother who swore he would never have any children welcomed is daughter into the world…my niece.

Between work and play this year I went to San Jose, OC/LA, Boston, New York, Austin, Dallas, Rome, Venice and London… It sure was fun but boy am I tired!

I also celebrated year one in my house, bought a new car, dropped my oldest daughter off for her first day of high school, I was consumed by the election and so excited about our new president.

After this year I feel like anything can happen. I am for the first time in a long time excited about the possibilities. So what am I gonna do next year? I really don’t know. I am sure that the year will be filled with all kinds of crazy adventures and new opportunities. But while all that is going on…

A- I am going to loose this 20 pounds that I put on this year, plus hopefully a little more. I guess all the excitement made me hungry! I am going to be passionate about my health in 2009

B- I am going to go back to school. I found what I think is the right masters program for me. I am going to apply go, and hopefully finish before I have to drop my daughter off at college

C- I am going to be even more diligent about my finances. I have this dream of getting 2 mortgage payments in the bank

D- I want to try and get all of the anger and hate and animosity that I held for the people that have done me wrong out of my heart. Clean slates for everyone in 2009

I like the new year because it gives you place to reflect on how far you have come, and it gives you a natural place to call a re-do on anything you need improve on.

What are you going to do in 2009? What have you been through and what do you need to call a re-do on?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What I know About: Standing Up for You

I used to be one of these people who would hold my tongue to keep the peace. I thought it was soooooooo Christian to let things slide. After so many years of doing that I finally exploded and decided that the best way of dealing with negativity is to weed it out of my life. As soon as I saw it coming my way I just headed in the other direction. I cut myself off from anyone who caused me undue stress, and I lived a quite happy, sort of lonely life.

But eventually I realized that many of the people who pushed my buttons were not going to go away so easily. After a few years of avoiding them I realized that I had sort of lost my ability to even manage these encounters without totally breaking down.

Then I realized...since when did being Christian mean that you should let people talk to you disrespectfully, or take advantage of your kindness. In essence ignoring those exchanges is a form of lying. You lie to yourself, when you tell yourself that what they say does not matter. You lie to them, and trick them into believing that their behavior is okay and appropriate in exchanges with you.

I have decided to kick that habit. If there is something I don’t like I stop, and address it head on, I try to address it with directness and patience. I try and understand the position of the aggressor. Cultural background, personal experience and educational level sometimes helps you to understand why that person feels that their behavior is okay. I try not to assume that they are being hurtful on purpose. I assume that they just don’t know or understand that the behavior that they are exhibiting is not appropriate for me and will not be tolerated…without consequences.

That does not mean make idle threats. If you must attach consequences, make them ones that you might actually follow through with. Don’t say things like, if you don’t (your demand here) I am kicking you out and filing for full custody, especially if you have no job and no intention on doing that. That is a lie and the more often you do that the less credibility you have.

Be a woman (or whatever you are)! Stand up for yourself respectfully, openly and honestly. Yes in the beginning you may have more conflict, but I believe as time goes on, and you are consistent with this behavior the aggressor in your life will begin to understand that you are not the one to mess with.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What I Know About: Christmas Gifts for Children

As a child I always thought I had great Christmas mornings! I got a mix of gifts from underwear and socks to the latest baby doll, or board game. I admit I was fortunate, I never remember a Christmas morning where I did not wake my brothers and run out to the living room to see a sea of gifts overflowing abundantly from beneath the tree. Every year I gave my list to my mother to "mail to Santa" and I generally got at least 2 or 3 of those things on the list and was always grateful and thrilled for that. Of course like any kid I stacked my list for good measure. I had a system... I always put something crazy like a pony in the number one slot, so that when "Santa" reviewed the list new bike looked like a reasonable request when positioned next to the pony. Yes even at 8 years old I was strategic. But bike or no bike for me it was more about the flurry of paper and ribbons, then Christmas lounging around, then dinner and fun with the family.

I hear that in many households that the meaning of the holiday is changing? I did not know that you could change a 2000 year old tradition but… okay whatever. From what I understand now the tradition is to spend every dime on sneakers, and handbags, video games, and cell phones. I also hear that if they don’t get every little last thing on their list then the kids are allowed to throw a fit and demand of you the latest in fabulous clothing and gadgets, or you risk being ignored or tormented by their angry rampages?

I have even heard that as a teen you can tell your parents stuff like “This is the phone I want…you can either get me this or nothing” Well I know what my parents would have said if they had been faced with such an ultimatum, but what about you? Do you feel pressured by society and your children to spend obnoxious amounts of money in a effort to win their love and respect?

Parents trust me I understand your dilemma. I too want only the best for my beautiful daughters...I want their eyes to light up on Christmas morning as they tear open the boxes to see the delights of their heart. But I also want the house to light up because I can continue to afford to keep the lights on. Beyond just the cost of it all, I want them to realize that Christmas is more than getting the “Stuff” that you want.

This year…like every year they will get a few of those fancy presents, but mostly books, and board games, art supplies sweaters and stuff.

Personally I think those things prove my love for them even more than a video game or a cell phone. Those things represent practical love. Those things to me represent the fact that I want them to stay warm, and I want to play games with them, and I want them to love art and reading. I want them to know that neither the spirit of Christmas nor my love for them can be measured in the price of the gifts under the tree.