Bora Bora

Bora Bora
I'd rather have flowers on my table than pearls around my neck

Monday, July 28, 2014

Make a Difference by Thinking Small, Not Big

I certainly don’t want to discourage big thinking.  I believe in big!  Big goals, big expectations, and really big results.  But today I’m talking about making a difference.  I have always believed in the power of the individual.  I believe that YOU matter, and that YOU can make a difference.  YOU MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD TODAY, BUT YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD FOR ONE PERSON.  It doesn’t have to be something BIG, it can be a simple smile, or a door held open for someone.  But in addition to possibly improving someone else's day, you will start to develop the habit of having an "attitude of gratitude" in yourself. You Make This Choice Every Day, But is it the Right One?.

Try these three simple things below and see how it positively impacts the lives of others, but in the process also changes you.
1. Be proactive in looking for small ways to be helpful everyday.  Today, I want you to look at people in the eye.  Say please, and thank you.  Ask for permission up front instead of just apologizing afterward.  Open the door for people, and enter after them.  It you are flying today, help someone put their bag in the overhead bin.  While checking out at the grocery store, let the person behind you who has less items go in front of you.   When you see someone drop something, bend down and pick it up.  Pay for the person behind you at the drive-thru. Do you see where I’m going with this?  These are very small things, and something we all can do.  But some of you may be wondering, these are so small and insignificant what’s the point?  The point is while some of these may be small in your eyes, the small act of kindness you perform could really change the day and attitude of the person you are interacting with, including your own!
2. Become passionate about something and give financially to it every month.  We are taught to spend wisely, invest, and save our money.  But rarely has anyone told us to give!  I love passionate people, and people that really care and take an interest in a cause.  Isn’t it invigorating to be around people who are passionate about something?  Let’s take an interest in something other than our pocketbook and what’s on television tonight.  The world is a broken place.  Is there any injustice in the world you want to fix?  Educate yourself about the problem, develop a passion for it,  and support the cause with a donation.  It feels good to support and be a part of something that is bigger and outside of ourselves.
3.   But don’t just give your money, find a way to take a little time on a weekly or monthly basis to give your time.  Include your spouse, and your kids if possible.  Do you want your kids to learn about being responsible in the community?  Get them involved in voluntary service.  This could be something like spending a few hours helping remodel a house in an underprivileged neighborhood on a Saturday or something as simple as having a conversation with a lonely individual in a nursing home, or delivering a meal to someone in need.  Spend a little time each month getting out and doing this, you will be quite fascinated at the impact you can have.  You will also be surprised at how these small things can have an impact on you, and your family.
Don’t expect the implementation to be easy. Some of these habits may take a while to develop.  But start small. All we are aiming for is to be better today than we were yesterday. It’s so easy to be a criticizing contrarian, and to live life on the “sidelines.”  Instead, develop and nurture a passion that will encourage you to step out and make a difference so that you can BE THE CHANGE in your network and community today.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I am About to Punch Dora in the Face

I am about to punch Dora in the Face.

We have a drug problem in our home. Holy toddler crack. The big headed demon has infiltrated our home, and I think I may need a supplier to handle it all. It all started out innocently when we were leaving town, and I needed something for the plane ride just in case things got out of hand. My girlfriend loves Dora, and since we have taught C a little Espanol along the way, she recommended downloading it on my iPad. Sounds harmless enough, right?...Wrong. We never needed it on that trip, and I forgot about it. Campbell wanted to look at pictures on my iPad a few weeks ago, so we snuggled in bed after nap time and we found Dora. So cute with the little monkey friend, Boots. She really seems to like this, and likes the Spanish. So cute. That afternoon I find Dora on DVR and record all of the upcoming episodes- obvi. We all went away for the weekend, and upon return, there were about 30 Dora, what?! How often does this come on? Well, at least I'll have some backups for dire situations where we just need some snuggle/Dora time to unwind. That is how it all began. It started so innocently, and now it has gone from "aaawww- cute post nap time treat," to "I WAAANNNTT DOOWAA!" whining. It starts when we wake up.

Well goodmorning, sunshine!
I want to eat bwekfest and watch Dowa!
30 minutes later- I wanwna watch anofer Dowa!
-No, we're going let's go outside and ride bikes-
Too hot? Let's draw a picture, do a puzzle, play with blocks, read a book...?
NO, I wawna watch Dowa
No, we already watched a Dora today, do you want to go jump on the trampoline?
NO, I wawna watch Dowa
Come on. Lets go for a nature walk. To the park? Do you want endless amounts of cheese? Chocolate? I'll let you drive my car. Smoke a cigarette? Swim with sharks? You name it
NO, I wawna watch Dowa

This isn't any mild drug. She can't take a hit and be satisfied. She needs more, more intense, more singing, more dancing, more Spanish, mas animales. Greater frequency. She gets a fix after the Map, after the Backpack, and then again at the end after they "did it." I am not sure how much more I can take this. I have created a monster. My little sweetie has been taken in by the purple backpack. He has quite a hold on her. Normally we watch a 30 min. show after nap time as we all come to, but now she is asking for a hit about every 30 minutes throughout the day, and if she is told no, the meltdown ensues. How did it get to this. I don't know, but I need a plan, and I need a plan stat. If I have to listen to anymore "We Did It," I might snap.

xoxo Elizabeth

I Heart Tim Tebow-Yup...That Guy

Ohhh Tim Tebow.... how I heart you. I have a platonic crush on another man... thats right. "Gasp! Does your husband know?" you might be asking. Yes, and so does he. We both think he is awesome. Not only is he reputably a wonderful man, but this is the story of how he came into this world.

"Tebow was born on August 14, 1987 in the Philippines to Bob and Pam Tebow, who were serving as Christian missionaries at the time. While pregnant Pam suffered a life-threatening infection with a pathogenic amoeba. Because of the drugs used to rouse her from a coma and to treat her dysentery, the fetus experienced a severe placental abruption. Doctors expected a stillbirth and recommended an abortion to protect her life. She carried Timothy to term, and both survived." -wikipedia

Not only is he a professing Christian, but he lives out his faith by all reports. How rare is that!? He is admired by his team mates and considered a true leader in his community. One of the biggest reasons I crush him is because of the positive role model that he is to boys ages 5-20 that look up to the football greats! He spends his summers doing missions and serving those that are less fortunate. There are not many men that act like men anymore. Teaching teenage boys from the inner-city to affluent private and everything in between showed me how desperate they are for positive role models. Raising boys in this society is quite an uphill battle for even the best of fathers. So it is great to see a man in the limelight that they can also aspire to. They are inundated with "stars" that act "afool." Tim Tebow interview

Obviously he is adorable, and you know I am a sucker for a man who isn't afraid to dress up!

xoxo Elizabeth

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fire Breathing Stewardess

So there I was...boarding the plane.  The stewardess looks at me like- oh great, a baby...and I look back at her like- oh great, an attitude.  Last week we traveled out to California and had such a fun time!   It was C's first adventure on an airplane, and she did a FANTASTIC job.  The flight attendants from Austin to Phoenix were incredibly rude and unhelpful in general.  Neither of them smiled, and they made a point to make everyone on the plane feel like they were such an inconvenience... Oh service industry, where did you go?  What happened to the cute little girls out of high school with the short skirts and the smile on their faces waiting to please?  Those are my kind of flight attendants (think "Catch Me if You Can"-  I guess these girls hadn't seen the movie.)  I hate to think what they would have acted like if C had been problematic.  They probably would have asked me to put her in the bottom of the plane with the luggage.  I went to the back of the plane to change her wet diaper, and as I am finishing up, I can feel a dragon breathing over my shoulder... I whip around to find flight attendant #1 staring at me...I brush the ashes off of my sleeve.  I look at her..."hellllloo?" I say.  "You know you are going to have to take that with you-DONT YOU?" as she hands me a bag.  "Oh- absolutely, I do."  I retort with a smile on my face.  Drink service... Well, I would like a bloody mary... the perfect 8am travelling-with-baby cocktail, but I settle for a spicy tomato juice sans liquor.  Within 30 seconds C has picked up the glass and dumped it on my white dress.  Lesson learned.  It only went on me, did not touch the floor or my sweet neighbor.  The guy next to me pushes the call button and tells me he will get some napkins for me (what a doll).  Flight attendant #2 takes her sweet time and when she finally gets up enough energy to walk the 7 and 1/2 feet, she doesn't say a word- just slams down a stack of napkins and then says "thats all I have!"...apparently this is not her first rodeo.  Holy snap. Doll of a neighbor looks at me horrified...after all... I am just a young mother with an infant travelling for the first time husbandless aboard a plane with cruel staff...It's in a man's nature to pick up the pieces (OR IT SHOULD BE).  "Wow...friendly service- does the other stewardess have any napkins?" I say to her as she turns to walk the rest of her very arduous journey.  She flips around and says, "it's flight attendant."  -Are you kidding me???-  I can't stand this PC nonsense.  Doll of a neighbor helps me, and we continue our riveting conversation about how he went to every frat party at UT when he was in high school and get wasted when he was 14, and how his father would just say, " be safe now"... I said he was a doll- I didn't say he was perfect.  We land.  The flight attendant comes on, and tells us to shut all our window shades and turn our air on so that the idle plane stays cool.  In my head I am thinking... when did these people get so lazy.  They no longer do the walk thru once we are off the plane. Is it a problem to pull my shade and turn my air on- no.  Is it annoying to do them favors when they already spit fire... yes.  As I get up... I spy the bag with the diaper in it...the specific diaper bag Dragon gave me to dispose.  I look down at it...I am already standing...I am holding C, and it would be a real pain in the neck to bend over holding her and dig under my seat to recover the diaper...speaking of laziness.  I am not going to ask neighbor doll to pick up the diaper.  Yes it was just pee- but he doesnt know that.   So I evaluate my options. Option 1: Bend over- pick up the diaper which could be totally unsafe in such small quarters as I am carrying my infant daughter which would plummet me forward probably knocking someone  over and dropping my child in the process.  Option 2: Ask nieighbordoll to get it even though I know he would happily.  Option 3: Leave it on the plane even though Dragon specifically let me know with her fire breath that I HAD to take it with me.  
You guessed it, O3 wins out... So I leave it. I know- I know- you are thinking Oh My Gross. I knew when Dragon finds it, she is going to flip.out. and attempt to get me on the no-fly list (but in the moment, I did not care).
I exit the plane and give a cheery goodbye and thank you to the captain- after all he flew us through the friendly skies- and- has to work with these cruella devilles (you remember- she killed PUPPIES).
       Husband had been in Mexico and was meeting us in Phoenix where we would all make our way to California together.  I exit the plane and find TG standing there with a big grin on his face- ugh- love the kid.  We go off to eat and catch up on his previous trip.  Walk around the airport a bit.  Find our next gate and board the last leg to Cali.  Husband is chatting away as we walk down the tunnel, and I spot Dragon!  As we stand on the plane towards the front we are idle as someone brilliant tries to jam their over sized bag and coat and briefcase and... and... and in the overhead compartment.  So I turn around, and I tell Husband a brief version of what happened, and how somehow we have the same flight crew as my last leg- even though it is a different gate.  I peer over his shoulder just in time to see flight attendant #2 yelling at some -old, barely hanging on-sweet, white-haired lady who got up at 4:30 to curl her hair and find her pearls for the flight and  has probably been terrified to travel since 1967 that NO she could NOT change seats since we were already boarding.  UGH.  Husband looks at me and says, "you did what!?"  DH is not even paying attention to example #26 of how these people are evil.  Husband is horrified, and we find our seats.  He starts laughing his nervous laughter, and tells me that neither of us are ordering drinks because they will either poison them or spit in them... He tells me this several more times.  He then proceeds to try to ham it up with Dragon as she walks by to overcompensate for my behavior.  She takes to him right away and never looks at me the rest of the flight.  I get that everyone has their bad days (I mean, I don't, but I have heard what its like to have one) but seriously!  The whole think was ridiculous, and I was happy to see we had a different crew on our way home.  
xoxo Elizabeth

What is Wrong with US

I am excited to start "Bringing Up Bébé- One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting." I read a less than complimentary article in Forbes titled, "Bringing Up Bébé? No Thanks, I'd Rather Raise a Billionaire." The article starts with this, "Quick: Name a French billionaire. Now name one who is self-made. A bit harder, non? According to the Forbes World’s Billionaires List, France has sixteen billionaires. The U.S. boasts far more: 425. Yet one of the hottest parenting books on the market, Bringing Up Bébé, purports that American parents should seek to emulate their French counterparts." I think I threw up in my mouth. What is wrong with our society? Well, many things, but for starters this flawed and empty mentality. I would love to see an article in Forbes about the different definitions of success. I would love to see an article on how empowering our children is crucial, but not for the sole purpose of owning 5 vacation homes and having access to the the world's finest things. When was the last time you read an article in Forbes about how money literally destroys people (not to mention the fame that comes before or after). I would love to see an article that starts of with something like, "Quick, name a person in your life that has influenced you to whatever 'great' means for you. For some that is being a great cook, being an amazing writer, being skilled with your hands, being an incredible father, being a selfless husband, being the worlds biggest philanthropist, being a missionary, being a decorator, being a mentor, being someone who got knocked up when they were young and unwed, but chose to have the baby even though they knew getting knocked up out of wedlock is social suicide... in the South... I would love to read an article that talks about living with purpose-with the scads of money you own...and not just so you can get more publicity by doing so. There is something so extraordinarily flawed with our culture that puts the almighty dollar above everything else. Is money nice, yep! Is money a whole lot of fun, yep! Is money an amazing way to live the life we all dream of with all the conveniences at our fingertips, yep. Is money the end-all? Nope. If you disagree, I would challenge you to go to the slums of another country...across our Southern border is all you have to venture. I have been on many trips to some of the most impoverished border towns along the northern border of Mexico to dig a well because they don't even have drinking water, to build a home or a church, or simple school. These people literally have nothing, and I have met some of the most joy filled people that I will ever meet. This is true world wide. Money doesn't lead to happiness...and certainly not joy, in fact, sometimes it is the exact opposite. Money rips families apart; pay attention when people are knocking on death's door and there is some material gain after the death for someone... siblings/ cousins/ distant family fights, sometimes breaking all ties, severing relationships. Money is dangerous. It can be a blessing AND a curse. I find it curious that we live in a society where money=success. Money is a wonderful thing. It can provide a pathway out of or into something else, when used responsibly. Money changes lives, and relieves great stress. Money has the power to do just about anything you want it to...strange how it works, that just a piece of paper or a swipe of plastic can have so much power. One of the things I am so thankful for in our home is that TG will not allow us to live in debt. We pay cash for everything, or we dont buy it...excluding our home, I should add. He doesn't care about keeping up appearances for the sake of it all...and my father was the same way. If we didn't have it, we didn't spend it. My father never allowing me to have a credit card was definitely not something I understood or appreciated until I became an adult. Credit also serves its purposes, and in itself is a good thing, but can be so misused. How are you using your finances...because one of my biggest struggles is being wasteful. I can spend money like it is water, and not think a thing about it. I am learning and growing in this always! Many of the saddest and most empty people are the world's richest, why? Because when you are constantly grasping for something else in your life to fulfill you, it will...temporarily. If only I had a bigger home. If only I had a car that had x. If only I had a boat so I could be entertained on the weekends. If only we were able to go out to nice dinners. If only I had a vacation home. If only, if only, if only. Those things really are all fun...and I love them all...but if you are looking for them to bring you any kind of lasting happiness, you are grasping at straws. It.won’t.happen. There will always be more to be had, and it will just leave you emptier and emptier as you see these things can't fill you up. They can't give you ultimate security. They can many times only meet temporary voids. Go make your big bucks. I know I am working hard at my business and it isn't for the joys of being on Facebook. It is so that I can get a bigger and bigger paycheck. Think of all the things that can be done with the money...just think... Think of all the things that will fill temporary boredom or meet the lasting needs of others. We will most likely be opting private school for our littles, we are adopting which can be very pricey, and I want to sponsor more and more children overseas and yes, I want a boat- just to play in...and probably a beach house. Money is a great thing...or it could be a bad thing...depending on the condition of your heart. If you let it be your driving force and your will destroy you. Now, the Frenchies definitely have their problems too, but if they aren't able to produce more Billionaires than we are...I think it will probably benefit them as a society. In the mean time, I look forward to reading about some of the differences in their parenting culture (which will probably be just as screwey as my own- in different ways) and if nothing else but to be entertained!

xoxo, Elizabeth

You Make This Choice Every Day, But is it the Right One?

You make this choice every day, but is it the right one?

How will you face the day? Will you react in a negative way, or will you choose to respond positively? For me, my kids run into my room very early every morning and let me know that it’s time for me to get up. I wish I could say I always respond positively, but I don’t. Sometimes I throw any electronic device I can find at my children to placate them until I decide to get my tired body out of bed . But how I respond in those first few seconds always sets the tone for the day. As we all know it takes just as much effort to react negatively as it does to respond positively in situations. You may be thinking, no kidding thanks for the update on positive thinking. But seriously, why is it that the simple ideas we have are sometimes the most difficult to implement? Ever wonder if putting just a few simple steps in place could maybe help you accomplish a simple goal? I would say positive thinking is a simple goal, however it’s quite difficult to attain at times. Our circumstances change throughout out our life, but the difficulty between our ears stays the same. Here are three things that I have found that help me specifically on a daily basis.


STEP 1: Start your day with some positive reading material. Maybe it’s spiritual, maybe it’s just motivating. Don’t like to read? Watch a motivational clip, or listen to something while on your way to work. Find something that energizes you to face the coming problems of the day. It’s important to do this before the technology begins because I promise, frustrating news is waiting in your inbox.

STEP 2: Try to respond instead of react to situations. Reacting is quick and emotional while responding is slow and thoughtful. Which kind of person do you want to be thought of? Slow to speak and thoughtful, or an emotional hothead? Do you find yourself interrupting people? Let people finish their thoughts, and don’t think about what you are going to say next while they are talking. Listening thoroughly will help you to respond positively instead of emotionally reacting in a negative way.

STEP 3: Have an attitude of gratitude. Why do things bother me so easily? Usually because all of my time, thought, and attention is focused on ME. Things will go wrong, just accept that. Life is full of bumps and bruises. But here is where the decision comes. Will you be thankful for your lot in life, or will you point at all the “bumps” and “bruises” that have happened, are happening, or could potentially happen? Getting out and doing things for others helps to take that focus off of “ME.” Get out in the community, volunteer, do some good in the world. You dont have to go out of your way to help people. People need help all around us. Usually in small ways that will inconvenience us...but they are there. My wife always pays for the person behind her in the drive thru wherever she is. Intentional and small things to us really change the day of someone else, and in turn affect our attitudes as well. Is what you are doing helping someone? Yes, but it’s also changing you. Helping others helps develop an attitude of gratitude in ourselves. You will soon find the old worn out platitude “tis better to give than receive” is actually true.

Will implementing these small things get you a promotion, and make you the world’s best parent? Obviously not. However, sometimes it’s the little tweaks we can make that make a big difference in how we look at, and respond to the problems we face each day.


First Triathlon

I participated in, and completed(!) my first triathlon.  My sister Kathryn and brother in law, Andy, raised over $7000 for Alzheimer's research-which was way beyond our goal.  
Thank you for your support!
Here, I have just exited the lake after the swim, taken off my swim cap, goggles and am running to the transition area where I am going to throw on some shorts and get my bike.  
For the record... no one should run in spandex... I don't care what they made you think on Baywatch... Don't do it; it's not pretty.

No explanation needed...

After I biked to the transition area again, I grabbed my stuff for the run. It looked awfully daunting.  

Yay, I finished!  
xoxo, Elizabeth