Posts Tagged ‘family’

Listen Up

Monday, December 28th, 2015

2020 is starting wind down. Soon people will start thinking about changes they want to make in the new year.

One way we can all change is by listening to what others have to say.

People around us–relatives, friends, acquaintances, teachers, spouses, children all have opinions and want nothing more than to be heard.

Active listening allows us to be totally tuned in to what another person has to say. It is a precious gift to listen.

The last thing you want to do is pretend you’re listening but tuning in and out and then trying to catch up at the end of the conversation.

It is easier to listen if you’re not distracted.
Harder to do when the dog barks, the phone rings, you’re listening to one child while another one comes up and asks you a question.

The problem is that sometimes even when it’s just you and one other person, listening isn’t always easy especially if you don’t agree with the other person but listening is one of the most important things you can do for your family, friends, co-workers and for you.

Here are some quotes about listening:

If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much more than you can by talk. Robert Baden-Powell

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. Stephen R. Covey

The art of conversation lies in listening. Malcomb Forbes


We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less. Diogenes

No Contact

Stand Up for Family

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

If someone you’re close to namely a parent or other relative is in the habit of making negative remarks about you or your children be as objective as you can about whatever they say but stand up for yourself and your family.

Sometimes well meaning or maybe not so well meaning remarks are made.

A grandparent might say “Jimmy is ungrateful, he doesn’t even care that I’m here. He just ignores me.”

No ContactJimmy  may really love having grandma come over to visit but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s sitting next to grandma hanging onto her every word. Sometimes grandma feels slighted when there is really no reason to.

Respect for elders is important but so is respect for children young adults and the middle aged.

If you’re doing all you can to see that your children treat others with respect and you do so yourself don’t let others push you or your children around. When in the presence of difficult relatives stay calm while holding your ground.

Here’s more information you may find helpful:

Following My Dream Part Three

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Note: Today is the third of a three part post written by Shannon, a life long friend of mine. Her story is one I thought you would want to read about and be inspired by.

We all have dreams and want to follow those dreams wherever they take us but making changes in our lives can be tough especially when getting through daily life can often be a big challenge. I asked Shannon to share her story  so in this three part blog post she talks about her dream and how she went about achieving it.

Following My Dream Part Three

By Shannon H

How I Ended Up Living in Saudi Arabia

Almost all of my students were from Saudi Arabia, a country I knew nothing about and had never had any interest in. I knew that I needed to start job hunting but felt paralyzed. Not only had I never met anyone who had dropped their life and picked up to move over seas but doing it in their mid-fifties? My students all encouraged me to apply in Saudi Arabia but most of the jobs required 2 years of experience which I did not have. I decided to try Turkey, as I had made a good friend at the school who was from there, but after not having much luck I decided one day just to apply for jobs in Saudi Arabia because you just never know… Fifteen minutes after I made my call the phone rang. It was someone calling from Saudi about my resume.

I was hired the next day. My son was willing to move into my house to take care of it and everything else fell into place. Sure there were plenty of naysayers and people who worried and others who thought I was crazy. Luckily my family was supportive of me as my mother and daughter were both travelers and my son had recently moved to Uganda for a job. The others I just did not listen to. I was also fortunate to have had a long term best friend who was beginning a new journey of her own and together we forged ahead sharing our worries fears and dreams. (Thank you Penny)

I am now starting my third year teaching at the top University in Saudi Arabia and one of the top Universities in the Gulf and Middle East.  I have been to Uganda 3 times to visit my son, his new Ugandan wife and their baby. I have been to Bahrain and Istanbul as well as all over Saudi Arabia.

I find that it is not easy living in a different culture and I certainly have gotten frustrated and had my down days but I love experiencing the experience! I love living my dream and although my kids miss me (I see them in the summers)they have told me that they are proud of me for not letting fear stop me from following my dream and for taking on this new adventure while most other people my age are falling into complacency (to quote my daughter)

So if you’re reading this and you have a dream you’d like to pursue here are some things that kept me moving toward mine:

1.     Keep dreaming

2.     Start with taking small steps

3.     Be open to opportunities

4.     Don’t let fear stop you

5.     Find people who are supportive

No Contact


A New Relationship on the Heels of an Old One

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Sometimes people leave one relationship and before you know it, have entered a new one. Being barely out of one relationship and then sliding into a new one is a slippery slope to climb. It’s hard to be emotionally available for a new partner when there hasn’t been enough time to move past the old one.

Where is the breathing room? What happens to the time it takes to think and heal?

It may be uncomfortable to be without a partner but feeling your way along–alone for awhile is not a bad thing. It takes time patience and a willingness to face loss in order to heal. There isn’t a need to bring another person into the picture to help you through the process. A new relationship partner just adds another layer you’re not ready for. Any new person you meet may wonder why you even find it necessary to start something new so soon.

Healing happens over time. Rushing into new relationships postpones healing.

It doesn’t matter if the relationship left was the world’s worst—healing is still necessary.

It doesn’t matter if the relationship was loveless—there still needs to be time to understand why you were there.

Consider the time you spend without a relationship as an investment in you. Healing makes us stronger and wiser. We grow, develop, and learn from each person that comes into our lives. Friends and family can be of great help after a breakup. They can provide companionship and help you stabilize as you move forward on your own.

Whether the relationship you left lasted a month, six months, a year or ten, the time and effort you put into your healing will provide you with peace and well being down the road.

Resolutions to Reflect on the Good You Already Do

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

It’s a new year and with it are the resolutions to try harder  or do something more or better than we did last year.

What if we don’t stop striving for improvement but in addition give ourselves a break by reflecting on what we already do well.

Just think of the relief in knowing that you’re already doing a good job. Sure there’s always room for improvement but there is already plenty of emphasis put on doing more better faster.

Why not have resolutions more in line with breathe easier live calmer and you’re already doing a heck of a job?

Give yourself a break. Take time for you.

The time we take for ourselves and our families are the gifts we get in life. These moments are the best that life has to offer.

Happy New Year!



Relationships Intact During Crisis

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Brace Yourself–Life Is Difficult

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

I had the opportunity to watch a gem of a movie–The Beaver. You may want to check it out.

In the movie the main character suffers from depression. He doesn’t want to live and tries to hang himself but isn’t successful. His challenge is to engage himself in his own life, to embrace the life he has  so that ultimately he wants to live.

Life is full of challenges. There are times when we interpret these challenges to be frustrations or road blocks keeping us from living the life we want. Attitude plays a role–if we believe challenges can’t be overcome we will retreat and blame circumstances for our inability to take action.

Sometimes we want to meet a new challenge but don’t know what to do. We’ve got options but there is uncertainty tied to each one and the fear of making the wrong choice keeps us from moving forward.

At other times, as with the character in The Beaver, we give up. Life takes too much effort and despite all the positives we’ve got going don’t feel up to putting out any effort at all. If this is the case it will take more than our own effort to clear the way. Help is needed–family friends and often professional to get us back on track.

For all of us,  life is difficult. There will always be challenges and obstacles and even boredom to overcome. If you or someone you know has a zest for life and faces each day as an opportunity, you/they work on it. Facing life head on with a positive attitude is hard work but worth it.

The challenges put before us are there because that is the way life is. There are no guarantees. Living a full life with rich experiences requires taking risks.

I’d rather live life by risking  based on my best judgement than standing still and wishing I would have tried.

Life is difficult; that’s a given. How you choose to manage those difficulties is in your hands.



Actions Trump Words in Relationships

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

We usually identify ourselves with family, friends, job, financial security,  social networks, community, spirituality, hobbies etc.

We can be conversational and say what we want, where we will go, have done, hope to achieve, have accomplished, plan to learn etc. but those who know us, live with us, spend time with us, like us or love us, are most interested in knowing if we can be depended on. If when we say we will be there–we are, if we say we’ll show up–we do. Showing up, taking part, being available as a friend, partner, loved one,  speaks volumes about who we are as people especially when there isn’t any recognizable personal gain involved.

Right now it feels like there is a low lingering sense of panic that engulfs our country. Yet with so many people unemployed or underemployed we need to hunker down because it’s likely that life less settled and predictable is our lot for the foreseeable future. People are frustrated with the state of the economy and the lack of opportunity to the point where they think–if I’m going to take action I’d better make it count for me and while I’m at it, make sure others stand up and take notice of what I’m doing.

It’s understandable to feel this way, not only as a possible opening for opportunity but because recognition is important. It lets us and others know our efforts are valued.

People quit jobs because they feel unappreciated. There are bosses who believe  the only recognition people need is that they get to keep their jobs. This is very sad because employers have a golden opportunity now more than ever to let their employees know they are valued and appreciated because they do keep coming back often without recognition and pay increases and despite taking over additional workloads because vacancies are left unhired.

There are however those who do for others on a regular basis without any outside recognition for a job well done.

So when it comes to lending a helping hand take the action. Do it in the spirit of giving back to others as a way of paying forward what has been given to you. The lack of recognition or appreciation might sting but you know deep down that you are giving in a way that makes a difference. It doesn’t take much in the way of time. An hour a month might do the trick.

Your life will be richer because of it.



Sunday, September 12th, 2010

There has been a story on the Internet this week about a 53 year old woman named Kelly who posted videos on You Tube documenting her devastation resulting from a breakup with her boyfriend.

She posted a total of 62 videos ranging from 1 to 7 minutes in length over a month’s time. As it turned out, Kelly and her boyfriend reunited.

I bring this up because it reminded me how truly gut-wrenching it is to end a relationship. Whether the relationship is good or destructive, the end is the emotional equivalent of being hit by a Mack truck.

In the one video I saw, Kelly looked and I’m sure felt like she had been completely totaled.

We all deal with loss differently but I can’t help but wonder what will happen if this relationship doesn’t make it.

Will she post You Tube videos again? How will the boyfriend react? Breakups are horrible to go through and sometimes people work through the difficulties and give it another go and sometimes they don’t.

When people grieve they work through the loss on their own as well as by talking it out with close friends and family, or through counseling. The aim is to eventually move toward acceptance. Life doesn’t seem normal for awhile. Life is often quieter in order to take enough time to digest it, reflect, and heal.

Maybe Kelly received therapeutic benefits by posting her grief on video. But if it was me,  I would wonder if the outcome would still have been the same without the video. Would the boyfriend have made the decision to come back?  After working through her grief, would Kelly decide she wanted him back?

It seems that Kelly became unraveled; she didn’t get herself back on track but rather, the boyfriend came to the rescue. Kelly may feel better in the short run but how about in the long run? Where does it leave her? Where does it leave him?

The Role of Dad in a Child’s Life

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

How big a role do you believe Dad’s play in the lives of children?

I believe that children need a consistent male in their lives whether it be their biological or adoptive father, an uncle, stepfather or another relative. It’s important. What do you think?

See what you think of this: