Being Positive, Even on a Bad Day

I’m feeling like a bit of a louse recently. Whether I can cite the excuse of the holidays, or how busy work is, or whatever, those reasons don’t excuse poor behavior.

I was unintentionally sharp with someone, who didn’t deserve my attitude, and who happened to be on the receiving end of a bad day.

We’re all guilty of snapping at someone who was just in the way of our bad mood. But because we all may understand that doesn’t make it right, and now I feel like a heel.

I’ve done what I can to rectify the situation. But that impression of me and my actions are still out there and still affected this person.

No matter how nice I will be going forward, does this person I treated poorly have a long memory or will my actions always be part of how they treat me going forward?

I can’t take it back.

What lessons can be learned?

First – the golden rule still applies: Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. In other words, treat others with kindness. In fact, I love the phrase “kill them with kindness.” If someone is being rude and having a bad day, the best way to diffuse the situation is to stay calm and treat them with kindness.

I’ve found the yelling or matching their level of rudeness only escalates the situation.

Second – the other lesson I’ve learned is to be forgiving. It is true that if you hold a grudge against someone, even if they are in the wrong, you’re the only one who continues to be hurt. You’re not hurting them by holding that grudge and by remaining angry.

We all need to “Let Go and Let God.”

God needs to work through me to make me aware of my actions and how those actions affect others. My thoughts, actions and words can have a positive influence or a negative influence.

When I had that bad day recently and exhibited poor behavior to someone else, I may have hurt them, but I’ve also hurt myself.

The whole conversation would’ve turned out different had I been able to hold my tongue, answered their questions and moved on, instead of lashing out at them.

Taking a deep breath, not having a snap response, especially when it’s not a good day, can make all the difference…not just to someone else, but to myself as well.

To the person to whom I snapped, I hope they forgive me. And I hope I show that same spirit of forgiveness the next time someone else has a bad day and snaps at me.

How do you handle your bad days? What do you say when you do have a bad day and have hurt others?

How do you show a spirit of forgiveness?

I’d love to hear from you so maybe we can all help each other be a positive influence.

Gratitude – All Year Long

I’ve written about having a spirit of gratitude before, but I think this is a topic that never grows old, so here we go once more:

Thankfulness should come more than every November. We need to live our lives with a spirit of gratitude. Imagine how your attitude would improve if you approached everything with an attitude of thankfulness: for your job, your commute, your family, your health…

Sometimes in this world, we’re frustrated with our job, marriage, family, co-workers and more. But what would happen if we approached each day with an attitude of thankfulness. Being thankful for all we have.

What if, in the midst of that frustration, we took a deep breath, and said “Thank you God for this job,” “Thank you for the abilities you’ve given me” or “Thank you God for my family, friends, co-workers.” We know there are others in this world who suffer much more than we do. So, our gratitude for our lives should be an everyday occurrence.

How would that change your attitude?

Romans 12:1 from the Message says:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.”

Do your work with a spirit of gratitude…thanking God for your abilities to do your job, for your family, for your health. Place them before God as an offering. The audience of one!

Have that spirit of gratitude every day! Something to remember when those tough days come, when you’re in a bad mood, when work overwhelms you or the holidays overwhelm you. Be thankful for the blessings, for the provision of food, gifts, decorations, plus the job that provides that.

Be blessed for the rest of this year, and as the new year approaches, think about having that spirit of gratitude all year long for 2015.

Being There

As I write this, the world is talking about the shocking passing of Robin Williams. As the TV talking heads are going through his television and movie credits, I realize how many of his movies I’ve seen… and loved.  It is incredibly sad to lose such a great talent.

But through all of this discussion, this man who is being heralded as a comic legend, who entertained millions, has suddenly become very human.  Yes, we tend to put celebrities on a pedestal, forgetting that along with their immense talent, they are human beings, going through this life of ups and downs, marriage, children and everything else.

Obviously, Robin Williams was battling more.  He was always open about substance abuse, but did many of us realize he struggled with depression?  Severe depression.

It’s almost inconceivable that someone who was so loved and admired was in such a dark and lonely place where he was driven to take his own life.  He brought such laughter to everyone else, but couldn’t find the joy for himself. It’s tragic.

I’m almost embarrassed with my last post, when I talk about “wallowing” in my own sadness of recent events in my life.  Thankfully, I haven’t been to the darkest place where I’ve thought of a “permanent solution to a temporary problem.”  I always knew I’d pull out of this and things would get better.

But I didn’t share with many how sad I was feeling.  I don’t always share, because I don’t want to burden others, I don’t want to come across as a whiner, and I don’t want to be considered a negative person.

Was that mindset preventing me from getting the support and encouragement I needed at the time?  How do you balance reaching out without being a whiner?  How do you invite people in without pushing them away?

Hopefully, more discussion will come from this awful passing of Robin Williams about depression, about how to help others.  One thing I heard this morning was just be there. You may not be able to solve the problem, but you can come along beside someone and just remind them that they mean something to you, that their life has value.

Maybe this is a reminder to all of us to hug your family and friends and say “I love you.”  I hate that we have to be reminded, and that we’re usually reminded when someone else has died. We need make this part of our daily lives.

Life is short.  Reach out to someone.  Touch base.  Just be with someone today and hold their hand, give them a hug…. heck, just smile at someone and wish them a wonderful day.

What a difference we could make if we all did that every day.

Finding the Balance

I’m busy right now — like most people these days.   There are times when I feel completely overwhelmed, but if I break it down, there’s a lot of time wasted in my day.

Social media is one time-sucker.  I enjoy Facebook.  I love that a lot of my cousins, extended family and old friends are there.  People I might not always keep up with are there. One thing I dislike are those who share their dirty laundry.  I love having celebrations on Facebook: birthdays, and most recently, my wedding anniversary.  My husband and I so loved seeing those special messages of love and congratulations.

But I’m certainly not going to go on Facebook and talk about the bad day on the job, the trouble my kids are in (not mine — thankfully, my kids are doing great!), or even go on political rants.

I want to celebrate life on Facebook. But not everyone feels that way.

Others get caught up in Twitter, email, or even daytime television!  (I’ve been guilty of all of that in the past).  Distractions are all around us.

So, how do you organize your day so you’re making the best use of your time?  For me, a calendar with a to-do list is essential.  Prioritizing that list is also a must.  Even with that, there must be flexibility in my day, for the unexpected crisis or unexpected event.

I will admit there are days when I’m much better at staying on task than others.  And I seem to work better with a looming deadline. I am trying to have a “work ahead” mentality so I’m not always under the pressure of a deadline.  We’ll see.  I guess I continue to be a “work in progress.”

Also, I believe you must have balance.  I will have busy days, but I schedule my time around the gym, and  coffee dates with friends.  I will make time for Bible study and church, and the occasional date night with my hubby.

Life is precious.  I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting time. I want to do my job well, and I want to love my family and friends well.  In order to do that, I need to find the balance between work, distractions and family/friends.  I’m not always successful, but it’s something worth striving for.

What about you?  Do you have any organizational tips?  Time management ideas?  How do you find your balance?

Being Thankful in the New Year

I’ve talked about gratitude before in a post from September, and I’m going to recycle part of that post again today.  I think it’s especially fitting as we face the New Year.

Thankfulness should come more than every November.  We need to live our lives with a spirit of gratitude.  Imagine how your attitude would improve if you approached everything with an attitude of thankfulness: your job, your commute, your family, your health…

We all have stressful days and frustrating times with friends, family and co-workers.  But what if, in the midst of that frustration, you took a deep breath, and said “Thank you God for this job,” “Thank you for the abilities you’ve given me” or “Thank you God for my family, friends, co-workers.”  We know there are others in this world who suffer much more than we do. So, our gratitude for our lives should be an every day occurrence.

I’m beginning 2014 with new challenges and responsibilities with my job.  I’m excited and nervous and praying I’m up to the challenge. And I’m also grateful for the opportunity.  I hope God uses this for His purposes and by doing that, it will only benefit me in the long run.

So, to repeat words from my September blog:

Romans 12:1 from the Message says:

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:  Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.” 
Do your work with a spirit of gratitude…thanking God for your abilities and thanking him for what he’s going to do with your story…. Place it before God as an offering.  The audience of one!
Walk Worthy of Your Calling.
Whatever we’re called to do in this life — we need to walk worthy.
While it is trendy right now to think of your motivating “word” for the year (and yes, I have mine), I think everyone’s motivation should be to “Walk Worthy.” No matter what we’re doing in this life.
Happy New Year!

Keeping Focus… Not really…

Well, after my blog post last week and slowing down and keeping things simple, it turns out I’m not doing a very good job in following my own advice.

I’m stressing today with a very long list of things to accomplish before Christmas.  Then it struck me…what would happen if I got sick or for some other reason couldn’t complete the items on my list. Would the world go into a tailspin because I didn’t finish things?  Would my friends disown me for not sending them a Christmas card this year?

I don’t think so. Once I had that in my head  and realized the earth wouldn’t fall of its axis if I didn’t complete my list, I actually relaxed, and just took the list one item at a time.  I even prioritized things a bit better.

Do I still have a busy week in front of me?  Absolutely! But I’m thankful I’m not sick or that anything else is hindering me from doing all I want to do for this holiday season.

It’s time to take JOY with the holiday season. Keep focused on those simple things, on what’s most important, and remember the reason for the season!

The Simple Things and a Positive Attitude

Last week, I talked about finding peace during the holiday season.  Well, as the saying goes, be careful what you ask for.  In this case, it’s all positive.

I live in the Dallas area, and last week, the great ice storm of 2013 hit. The picture below is the view outside my living room window.

  Image

So, with the ice storm, hubby and I were stuck inside. No way to venture out when there’s 3″ of ice on the ground. It seemed the entire area shut down for the weekend.

We were fortunate. I had shopped ahead of time, so we had plenty of food. (How come all I want to do is EAT when I’m stuck inside!) We never lost power either.  We turned the weekend into relaxing time together, watching Christmas movies and basically unplugging.

Several friends of ours lost power during the storm. One couple in particular lost power for about 21 hours.  Remember, the temperatures were in the 20s outside, with wind chills in the teens. Even inside a house, it gets cold quickly.  But our friends were amazing. They had such a wonderful attitude.

They posted pictures on Facebook (while they still had battery power) of their roaring fire in the fireplace, they talked about catching up on their reading, playing Scrabble by candlelight, and making s’mores!

I’m sure it was an uncomfortable, and maybe a little scary for them. But they accepted the day with grace, humor and a wonderfully positive attitude.  They focused on the simple things and got through the day with a smile.

And when the power was restored, you can imagine the celebration!  They were thankful to the power crews who were working hard and late into the night, instead of complaining.

I think the lesson here is clear. Sometimes we’re so wrapped up in the busyness of our lives (especially during the holiday season), and we’re so “plugged in” with our smart phones, tablets, computers and more, that we’ve forgotten how to slow down, unplug and enjoy the simple things.

Scrabble by candlelight?  Sounds delightful to me!

Don’t wait for an ice storm to force you to slow down.  Take a day, unplug, and revel in the simple things in life. As a Christian, our day of rest is suppose to be Sunday.  But even that day can get busy.  We need to make the conscious choice to just stop and enjoy a quieter day.

So, tell me, how do you unplug? How do you slow down to notice, and more importantly, partake in the simpler things around you?

A Spirit of Gratitude


Just some brief thoughts today on having a spirit of gratitude.  I had the pleasure of speaking at my local ACFW chapter this past weekend, the DFW Ready Writers, now DFW-ACFW.  And in my closing remarks, I spoke about working with a spirit of thankfulness.

Sometimes in this world, we’re frustrated with our job, marriage, family, co-workers and more.  But what would happen if we approached each day with an attitude of thankfulness. Being thankful that we have a job, home, spouse, family and more.
How would that change your attitude?

Something to think about.  

Below are my closing comments from the speaking engagement with DFW-ACFW.  It’s geared toward writers, but I think all of us can find a nugget worth thinking about.
We all know this is a tough business… but we all know that God has called us here.  Called us to write.  So, while he equips us to do the hard work that must be done, we also need to trust Him to get our words into the hands of the reader who needs to see that message the most.  So, we can get twisted up with are we doing enough marketing, do we have the right platform, etc.  That’s all important.  But we also need to trust God.

Remember to pray over your work daily… daily.  

Romans 12:1 from the Message says:

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:  Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.” 

Do your work with a spirit of gratitude…thanking God for your abilities and thanking him for what he’s going to do with your story…. Place it before God as an offering.  The audience of one!

Walk Worthy of Your Calling.
Whatever we’re called to do in this life — we need to walk worthy.