Thursday, October 12, 2017

Things I Sell Thursday: Tupperware Halloween Bowls

How fun is this glittery candy bowl from Tupperware?  It is only available until tomorrow so if you want a great candy bowl to use this Halloween, be sure to order it before Friday.  You will find it listed under the sale section.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Make It Better Monday: Priorities

One of the biggest reasons I ended up being away from blogging for so long, and why my posts are so sporadic, is that I have had way too many things going on and blogging just did not make the cut when I arranged my priorities.  I have a goal to eventually get ahead with some scheduled posts so that you will have something to read even on days when I cannot blog, but until that day I just need to do my best to post when I can.

When I was feeling overwhelmed I wrote out a list of everything I needed to do, whether it be on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, or even one-time basis.  I originally wrote mine on sticky notes, with different colors representing the frequency of which it needed to be done.  Nothing was too mundane, including brushing my teeth and making and eating meals.  It helped me to see how much I was doing on a regular basis, even when I felt as though I got little to nothing done and it is a good visual for others to see as well.  I then took all the notes that contained a task that could be done by someone else.  Some of those tasks I assigned to others, and for the rest, I let them know I would appreciate their help in getting them done.  In some cases, they had a vested interest in helping, such as menu planning or food prep and others go completely ignored by them.  I then prioritized the lists (more below on how to do this) and arranged my sticky notes in the order things needed to be done at that moment in time.  Each day, I would begin at the beginning of the list and work my way down until I ran out of time.  At the end of the day, I would re-arrange any priorities that needed moving and begin again the next day.  I no longer am using the sticky notes, but I still use the concept and do write out the things I need others to do on sticky notes.  I keep their sticky notes on poster board on my fridge and they put the sticky note on my bedroom door when it is completed.  I have been able to get ahead in some areas and am finding I actually have more time to do things, which is why I am able to blog again.

If this is something you are interested in, you may be asking yourself, how do I know which priorities should come first (or third or twentieth, etc)?  This is not something I can answer for you, but I can help you figure out what YOUR priorities are.

  1. If you believe in a higher power, pray for guidance and assistance in figuring out what you should do first.  If you do not feel this would be helpful, feel free to skip this step.  For me, it really helps and often makes all the difference in my planning.
  2. Take a little time to think about your goals.  Be sure you are thinking about all areas of your goals.  This may include personal health, work responsibilities, family relationships, spiritual, educational, financial, etc.  
  3. Now as you look at each of the tasks you need to do on a daily basis, ask yourself how much it helps you to reach your goals.  If it helps significantly, it needs to be near the top of the list.  
  4. Also, ask yourself if the task really needs to be done as often as you think it does.  Clean dishes and laundry are important for family health, but folding laundry, or at least putting it away, may not be quite as important. People can grab a clean pair of underwear out of a laundry basket almost as easily as they can a dresser drawer.  When you reach the point that nothing more important needs to be done (or you need your laundry basket), then fold the laundry and put it away.
  5. Some things need to be done on a certain day, those obviously become a priority before they are due.  
The nice thing about this plan is that it is adaptable.  If you were not planning on changing your bedding this week, but a child threw up in the middle of the night, you can quickly move that task up the priority list for today and down the list for next week.  Likewise, you may decide that somethings were really not as important as you initially thought and you can easily rearrange them. I have found I work way more efficiently when I know what I am working on next.  Life just seems somewhat less overwhelming when I have a plan in place.  This plan works well for me.  Your priorities may be different than mine, and they probably are.  That is ok.  We all have different goals and different responsibilities.  Let me know how you plan your day.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Making It Better Monday: Overcoming hatred with communication

Each time that I hear of a tragic event where innocent people have had their lives cut short, it breaks my heart.  We do not know yet why this person targeted the music festival in Las Vegas, but all too often these mass shootings are done because the killer hated something about the group he was targeting.  In many cases, there is also an element of mental illness that also needs to be addressed, but that is a post for another time.  I want to talk about how we can overcome hate, both hatred, or even just dislike, within our own hearts and hatred, that others have towards us, for whatever reason.

The best way to warm your heart towards someone is to simply get to know them.  Learn what makes them so different from you and why they do the things that you either dislike or just don't understand.  I know when it comes to political or religious differences, often, both sides feel as though they are supporting/doing the best thing they can.  Very loosely speaking, Democrats feel as though no one should ever suffer poverty, a very noble thought.  Again, speaking loosely, Republicans feel that everyone should have the dignity of providing for themselves and not relying on the government to support them.  Republicans do not want the poor to suffer and Democrats do not want the poor to feel as though they have little or no dignity, but it is so often portrayed in extremes that we find Republicans hating Democrats and vice-versa.  If people who disagreed could just come together and listen to each other, they would see that they really want the same things and they just might be able to find a way that best suits everyone. Instead, we have a society that only hears the disagreements and people who refuse to try to see things from someone else's point of view.  The next time you hear or read someone saying something you disagree with, rather than immediately shoot back about how they are wrong, I challenge you to create a friendly dialog to find out why they feel the way they do.  If they are open to it, explain your side as well, but be sure the tone stays friendly and civil.  If it starts to get too heated, there is nothing wrong with walking away.  I recently watched a Ted talk, by Theo E. J. Wilson, a black man who went undercover in an alt-Right group.  I loved hearing how his eyes were opened to why some of them feel the way they do.  His experience covers both race and political differences.  I encourage you to listen to his talk, no matter what side you find yourself on, as I am certain it will help soften your heart a bit.

I also want to warn about trusting the media to fairly portray any group.  All too often, they portray people as a stereotype, often one that has been perpetrated and fed by the media.  Currently, if one were to develop an opinion about people based on how the media portrays them this is what they would believe:  all cops are bad and go around killing innocent people and harassing people of color; all white people are racist; all black people, especially black men, are criminals; all Hispanics are Mexican and must be here illegally; all gay people are flamboyant and want to watch the world burn; all Christians hate gay people and anyone else who does not fit their definition of Christian; all Muslims are terrorists just waiting to kill all Americans and take over the country; and so on and so on.  There are people who fit each of those categories that live in America, but most of the people I know, which includes blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics (from all Hispanic countries), gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, agnostic, police officers, and more, they do not fit into those stereotypes at all.

Another way to get to know people that are different than you, is to serve them and/or to serve alongside them.  Maybe you do not want to discuss why you disagree with someone.  That should not prevent you from getting to know them as a person and a great way to do that is to serve them or even serve alongside them.  When you are focused on helping others, the stereotypes don't really seem to matter.  This can be best seen in the photos of people being rescued after the hurricanes and flooding that have recently occurred.  No one was refusing help due to the race, occupation, gender, or religion of their rescuer.  Rescuers were not asking people their sexual preference before offering aid.  People were just being people and helping each other.  Hopefully, you will not have to serve in the capacity of a rescuer, but there are many other ways to serve those who are, or who believe, different than you.  Volunteer at a soup kitchen, participate in a fundraising race by handing out water to runners, help refurbish homes for the poor or refuges.  Whatever you choose, try to put yourself in an area where you are working with or for those who you want to better understand.  It's easy to serve within our own church when we are serving others who believe as we do and often look like we do, but you will grow so much more by also serving in a different church with those who are not like you.

When we get to know people that are on opposite ends of the spectrum from us, big changes can occur.  A friend of mine shared a video today on Facebook, from ABC News, which tells the story of a Neo-Nazi who had a major change of heart after his black parole officer came into his life.  What started as a legal commitment, turned into a beautiful friendship, and a truly changed man.  It is examples like theirs that give me hope for the rest of us.

My heart goes out to all of those who were killed, injured, or experienced firsthand the terror of last night.  I have them, their loved ones, and the first responders in my prayers, along with the shooter's family.  Overcoming hate may not have been able to stop what happened in Las Vegas, but I firmly believe it would have stopped several other mass shootings, and many single killings, in recent years, and we need to start somewhere.