Making Summer Plans

29 Apr

summer trips
summer travelor

When my children were growing up we  would make it a priority each year during their spring break to create their summer goal list. By having my children think and plan ahead for the summer vacation season we found ways to fit in many wonderful activities which may have been missed without some forethought.

This activity helped them at an early age to begin to understand the value of goal setting, time management and budgeting. Each skill played an important part in their future and is best learned through practice.

One of the favorite annual traditions was that each would host a warm weather party. It would be their responsibility to create a theme, menu, guest list, invitations, plan for decorations, favors and recruit their siblings to help. The planned event might include costumes, games, pool activities, crafts or scavenger hunts but, was always fun for both
the young party host and their guests. Allowing them early to learn to enjoy the fun and rewards of entertaining was a delight. Important life lessons of inclusivity, generosity and creativity were gained along with many wonderful
memories from those special celebrations.

We most often held these gatherings in the backyard or family room of our home. Party theme ideas can be found in
favorite books, movies or games. Giving your child the honor of being a host or hostess at a young age is a great way to help them learn valuable social skills which can last for a lifetime.

Summer time day trips can be fun, too. Whether an outing at the local pool or going to the beach getting the children involved can make it more fun. They can help pack towels, water toys and of course the all important snacks.

Initiative

5 Jun

http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Sagrada_Familia.html 

3-2-1 Blast OFF! From the take off of a rocket to the onset of a race there must be a starting point! Without Initiative vision has no feet and makes no progress. Without Initiative the equation to a problem which need to be solved is not addressed.

Initiative is the evidence of leadership courage. It takes Initiative for a leader to step forward to a new frontier, a new product set or to develop an effective team.

When the wheels fall off, the forward motion of progress is stalled or objectives are stuck in the mud Initiative is the perfect tool to proactively seize the opportunity and take appropriate action to accomplish the goal.

The Little Engine that Could is a children‘s the book can used to teach children the value of optimism, initiative and hard work. Some critics would contend that the book is a metaphor for the American dream. When attending a Jeffrey Gitomer conference a few months ago, he suggested that every leader, manager and entrepreneur should own a copy and read it. In the case you are too busy to read it. There is a new DVD release of The Little Engine that Could. Find out how a crisis was resolved by an unlikely character stepping forward.

Another great sign of Initiative is to take action BEFORE things for array. True Initiative is bold enough to resolve issues, set forth proactive standards before a team and accomplish great things with minimal supervision. Without Initiative nothing happens. It is up to you to take Initiative

3-2-1 BLAST OFF!

Memory Maker’s; A Tribute to Mother’s!

8 May

watching for memory making moments

watching for memory making moments

I hope you, like I have had the privilege of having ladies in your life who have made a significant impact.

Growing up, I lived right next door to my grandmother. She had a way of teaching and guiding when you just thought you were “hanging out.” I loved spending time sitting on the front porch with her and watching thunderstorms or telling stories. We had fun walking together; she taught me to always be observant. Grandma would talk about the plants, trees, birds and even the moss or mushrooms we would see along the way. To this day, I delight is spotting a tree budding or hearing the song of a bird.

There were fun times with my grandmother playing rummy, cooking together and making special cakes for each birthday. I am very fortunate to have so many fun memories and life lessons from this wonderful lady. Each time I visit with her, I remind her of wonderful memories I have of the life lessons I recall with her.

My Mom has the gift of making things beautiful; a room, a home, a yard or an outfit. Mom taught me so much about putting things together. Mom has a wonderful ability in being able to create something lovely and of excellent quality while still using money wisely. She can carry color or space in her mind and translate it like very few people.

One of the other special gifts I have had the delight to observe is my Mom’s ability to get on the level of a child. There is never a little one who “Gram” does not connect with. She now has the high honor of being a Great Grandmother and each grandchild holds a special place in her heart as she does in theirs. It is my special vantage point to be part of this loving circle of connection.

Some of the special young mother’s in my life continue to impress me with the way they make memories with their children. One has made it a practice since her little boy could first talk to sit with him at the end of each day and ask, “What was your favorite part of today?” & “what are you most thankful for as you go to sleep tonight?” What a wonderful way to help this child keep memories intact and learn to art of gratitude. Another mom I know encourages her little girl to help in the kitchen. Her  little girl at 3 is a whiz at cracking eggs and stirring up some awesome dishes. This mom is allowing herself to be fearless about messes while teaching her little chef to take pride in her work and learn the lesson of making something to share with others. Often it is in the day to day activities that memories are made and important life lessons are learned.

One new friend as a business owner has included her daughter as a business partner. By including her 9 year old in the planning and development both mother and daughter have been enriched. A virtual friend, I have been following has woven her business into the fabric of her family life, too. Her mission statement and action plans reflect both the value of her role in motherhood and as a business woman. I tip my hat to this generation of working mom’s as they make memories and invest in future generations while balancing numerous important roles.

There is much value in the role of a mother. These women impact the future by lovingly leading their children. Some days are of greater challenge than others: driving them to practice, teaching them to do things independently, and listening to their dreams, fears or challenges. But, there are few roles of greater reward in the entire world than that of being a “Mom!”

Venice, a surprise around every corner!

3 Apr

VeniceI absolutely love the travel. I enjoy the entire process (except unpacking). I enjoy the consideration of “where to go”, the research to prepare to get the “most out of my trip”, the anticipation and I even love to fly. 

Recently, while planning a trip to Europe, my husband suggested Venice. Gotta give him credit; it was a great choice. Venice is definitely a city to visit. In the airport, before our flight had a conversation with a business traveler who asked “where are you going?” He gave a better explanation that any of the travel resources read to that point, “In Venice, there is a surprise around every corner.”

Our stay was headquartered near San Marco’s Square, which was a perfect place to explore the entire city. With no cars or bicycles allowed this exploration was mostly on foot. First a boat ride from the airport then strolling along the lovely avenues of Venice. Where there seemed to be no straight lines and thus many, many corners with a delightful surprise at each turn.

At breakfast, each morning there was a majestic view of the historic Customs House. We were also able to observe the gondola drivers preparing for their day. We heard “Prego” everywhere we turned and felt welcomed to this picturesque city. Schools of artists, like a school of fishes swarmed the city with purpose. It was a delight to watch them record the beauty of the cityscape on their sketch pads.

The colors, architecture, textures were invigorating. I couldn’t take enough pictures to capture all the beauty surrounding me.Venice Cityscape

A “spritz” along the grand canal- stirred briskly and then devouring the huge olive in Venezia style had to be mastered.

Gondola! Gondola!” the cry must be answered. Our gondolier, “Carrota” nicknamed for his once fiery red hair was a great source on information and points of local interest.

Hungry?  One must experience a Venezia Pizza. Delicately thin crust with gourmet toppings of artichoke, olive, prosciutto ham… delicious! Each day we would sit in a crowded outdoor café and enjoy this treat.

And, dinner is late. But, well worth the wait. At a friend’s recommendation we visited Ristorante Sempione.

This trattoria has been delighting patrons for generations. The tradition translated wonderfully for us in the 21st century. Antipasto, 1st plate; how about homemade pasta and seafood, then veal or lamb chops; choices abundant and each prepared and served with flair. May as well stay for dessert… don’t get in a hurry stay and enjoy the entire pampered dining experience. Save “hurrying” for another time and another place.

The city seems to sleep early but, don’t miss seeing Rialto Bridge at night.

Isn’t Parenting FUN!

27 Mar

parenting is fun!

encourage creativity

I clearly heard the directions from the other end of the phone, “Do not touch anything.”

In minutes, after suggesting it sounds like I’d better let you go. I got this photo from my daughter’s iphone.

"sharing"

We do encourage sharing.

We do encourage creativity.

Right?

Seriously, parenting includes a lot of OJT (On the Job Training) and awareness of child psychology (where children are the real instructors.)

Don’t get me wrong, my daughter is one of the most amazing “Mom’s” I know but, its tough.

When raising my three awesome kids (all now amazing adults) I was instructed in a method called positive discipline. The basic principle is you tell the child (or children) what it is you DO WANT rather than giving them clear directions about what you don’t want. Like “use your walking feet” instead of don’t run. It is a great way to direct your child or a group of children in a classroom or field trip. It actually gives the adult the chance to catch the kid off guard for a change.

Being the independent thinker that I am (and have always been), it occurred to me that there was one step better than telling my children what to do. Idetermined to make them aware that a good versus poor decision was in front of them. So instead of saying, “don’t pour your milk on the table” or “the pillow is for laying your head on, not hitting your sister.” I decided to snap my fingers when I SAW a point of decision. Thus, in principle BEFORE sister got wacked with the pillow or the entire glass of milk was poured out the child KNEW there was good or poor choice to be made.

I can still see their faces. Each of my three children, to this day,  HATE to hear my fingers snap. They are all adults but, still remember those early days when rather than my “telling them” what to do or not to do, I made them aware of a turning point. Despite the fact that my kids hated my “undirection” each are well equipped to know that in life there are many deciding points.

Today, I have three of the most amazing, beautiful, brilliant grandkids in the universe. They have wonderful parents. But, there are times when I must leave the room to stifle the laughter and tears when the grandchildren  teach us all a lesson in child psychology.

Parenting is one of the most valuable yet confusing things you will ever endeavor to do. We continue to get new guidelines:

Turn the car seat this way…

The only thing I can say without a doubt is that it is imperative that we love our children unconditionally. Every day, no matter what and make sure they HEAR  & SEE that we love them. And, please don’t forget to have fun!

Body Language

8 Mar

I have spent the last several months in a study of body language. No, I did not read any new books on the subject or do an online research project. Instead, I have intentionally “listened” with my eyes.

While at the gym, I watched sports, news and old sit coms to determine how much of what was being said I could understand without earphones and gain understanding by visual observation alone. More recently, I had the opportunity to travel abroad. I watched golf in German. Viewed a documentary on the effects of music and dance on memory in Italian. Plus a few classic favorite movies I had the chance to re view in French. (Keep in mind, I don’t know German, Italian or French)What a fun exercise!

My purpose was to become more aware of body language and determine how much of what is being “said” beyond the spoken word I am “hearing.” An additional outcome I anticipated was an increased awareness of my own body language. Where my “unspoken message” might be perceived as negative or unreceptive?  How could I make even slight changes to improve receptiveness? What might improvements be made to make others feel more welcome, accepted or heard?

My project reinforced the power of a smile, direct eye contact and open hand gestures.

Each of us speak VOLUMES daily without saying a word by our facial expressions, our stance, movement of hands and arms.  In many cases, we are unaware of what our body language “sounds like.” For example, I was working with a 6 foot 6 former military guy. His military at ease stance did nothing to put the customers he was speaking to “at ease” on the contrary it was quite intimidating. He was not even aware of his stance until I mentioned it and the effect it was having on his customers.

Ask someone to see to observe and help you keep your unspoken dialogue in check. It can make a big difference in how you are received.

Reflections

28 Feb

Reflectionz

Reflection

Visual, Physical, Psychological

When I stand in front of a mirror I see the visual reflection of myself. A chance to see what others see rather than what I think I look like.

Light causes a reflection, too. Evening lighting often appears to repeat itself on numerous surfaces at once.

Consideration of thoughts, ideas, emotion, possibilities or circumstances can also be deemed reflection.

Taking the time for personal reflection is invaluable. However, unless we purpose to do so, we often move through our days without making such deep reflection a priority.

What is your visual reflection or image? Am I neat, attractive, fit, poised, happy or thoughtful? How closely does my “look” reflect who I am to others?

How does my energy show in my surroundings? Am I a light or a shadow? Do I bring warmth, enthusiasm, humor & creativity or do I squelch it?

What is my state of mind? Are joy, purpose, and eagerness to learn, assimilate and improve a part of my daily reflection? Have I considered what I like, want, strive for or am will to invest myself into?

Interestingly, reflection is not a destination but, rather an ongoing process. I keep my road map for reflection in hand and enjoying the journey.

Had the chance to view movie “The Back Nine” about a guy who decided to become a pro golfer after 40.  Jon Fitzgerald documented much of his reflection and process in pursuing his personal goal. One of the concepts I took away was from one of the many different “coaches” Jon enlisted to help him reach his goal. Golf Zen. Dr. Joseph Parent wanted to help him do quick evaluations (or reflections) often to determine if he was on PAR.

PAR

Preparation

Action

Response to results

My golf game is rusty to say the least but, I want to be on PAR and anticipate the choice to make quick evaluations (or reflections) often will make a difference the outcomes I seek both personally & professionally. Have you checked your reflection recently?

Beautiful!

28 Feb

Beauty

Beauty

Beautiful!

Have you ever gotten too busy to notice the beauty around you? I have. It remains important to me to purpose to see that world around me in its fullness.

I choose to see the sky each morning and make note of its color. I watch the clouds; look for the way the light of the sun or the splendors of the moon reflect off the water. It is with purpose that the color of the grass, budding of the trees in spring or bounty of color in autumn are acknowledged.

I also appreciate the beauty of the generations around me. It is my privilege to be a part of a beautiful family. I am also in a position to influence future generations. Nothing is of greater importance to me.

I can sit with my grandmother, who turns 91 this week and talk about some to the ways she invested in me, the lessons she taught me and the joys we shared.  There is beauty in seeing her blue eyes sparkle and it’s wonderful!

It is also my honor to be able to watch the quiet determination of my youngest granddaughter and revel in the beauty of her smile, mysterious eyes and her perfect pudgy hands. I can view the dynamics of my 2 oldest grandchildren~ both extroverted, leaders as the each endeavor to invest in an already strong bond of friendship. Seeing the love, kindness, and diplomacy of these young cousins is a glorious thing.

From my vantage point, I can appreciate the relationships of both my retirement staged parents and my young married children. Seeing each dream, face challenges and find strength together is a very beautiful thing.

Just heard an interview from both the writer and producer of award winning film, “Biutiful

About a man facing concerns about the legacy he was leaving behind. This film seems to show a dark side of Barcelona, Spain (which I was able to recently visit and see a brighter side.) Without a legacy, without the joy of heritage all other beauty seems to fail.

I hope that you will purpose to see the beauty in the world and relationships around you. If you have not done so before, TODAY is the perfect time to purpose to appreciate what is beautiful around you!

Biutiful

This is the story of Uxbal (Javier Bardem). Devoted father. Tormented lover. Mystified son. Underground businessman. Friend of the disposed. Ghost seeker. Spiritual sensitive. A survivor at the invisible margins in today’s Barcelona … Uxbal’s story is simple: just one of the complex realities that we all live in today.  
   

Launch

15 Feb

prepare to launch

I am one who trully loves an adventure. I enjoy a good walk, a kayak trip or traveling abroad. I have learned to enjoy the preparation as part of the experience thus, I often appreciate an adventure more fully than most.  In fact, by planning ahead I am better able to get the most out of my adventure with the least tension.

Tension like frustration are emotions which don’t play well for most of us. In fact, these emotions can steal ones energy and joy.  I prefer to have joy and energy in abundance. I have found by breaking any task or endeavor into manageable pieces I can enjoy the adventure instead of stress about it.

This holds true when planning for any life change: a new home, new family member, new position or a new career endeavor. Each can be very exciting and rewarding if one takes the time to prepare and allow time to anticipate the joys and challenges yet to come.

Then, with eyes wide open, a smile on your face and provisions for the journey the adventure can be a lot more FUN!

 How about you? Have you found ways to prepare and anticipate so that you can better appreciate the everyday adventures of your life? Learning to enjoy our day to day challenges takes some practice but, it is well worth it.

One of my life rules is to “Have FUN!” even when working hard. If for some reason I am not “having fun”I take the responsibility to make the adjustments~ In most cases it is my state of mind which needs an adjustment.

I hope you have found the reward in preparation, anticipation, intentional joy and learning to love a new adventure or challenge. In mastering these characteristics you are ready to launch fearlessly.

3-2-1 “LAUNCH”

Commit

9 Feb

Have you ever watched a child learning to pour milk into a cereal bowl or juice into a glass?

The results often are more liquid surrounding the vessel than in the planned target. When my kids were learning independence in the kitchen, the phrase “commit to pour” was often heard. The more committed the novice “pourer” is the better the results. And the less paper towels needed for clean up.

Think about it. How does that relate to you and I? Does our lack of commitment effect our results? How often do we make a “big mess” which can’t be moped up with Bounty by half heartedly attempting something. Maybe your something is more important to you than a morning bowl of cereal.

What difference would each of us see in our end results with a change in our level of commitment? Starting a new fitness routine, building a new freindship, beginning a new business venture or campaign?  “Commit to pour” be 100% invested in the effort.

Was just “challenged” by Jeffery Gitomer to write each day.  I am commited to amazing results in many arenas within my life this year. Hope that you are too!