September 24, 2013

Odd is Awesome

I have a very creative, artistic seven year old daughter. She often sees her world through a totally unique lens. Several years ago, I walked into her bedroom and found that she had cut some holes in her blue bed sheets. Puzzled about why she would do this, I asked her why she cut her sheets. She replied, "The horses needed water." Although I am not really sure what she meant exactly, I could imagine in her creative mind that the blue bed sheets were a cool stream and she wanted her toy horses to have access to a drink.

I love seeing the world through her minds eye, and I try to tell her how much I appreciate her creative side, just as I try to appreciate each of my children's unique qualities. But, somewhere along the way, she started to feel it was not good to be different. One day, seemingly out of the blue, she told me, "Mommy, I am an odd ball. I don't fit in our family." I was taken aback.

I tried to protest and tell her that we all have differences and being different is what makes us special, but she seemed unconvinced. Later that day, we were looking at an illustrated encyclopedia of marine life. The variety of colors and shapes and sizes of the animals was awe inspiring. If you have ever seen a picture of a humpback whale jumping out of the ocean, or a school of brightly colored fish, you know what I mean.

So I said to my daughter, "There sure are a lot of different animals. Why do you think God made all of the creatures so different?" A big grin spread across her face, and she said "God loves oddballs." And just like that she realized that it was good to be different - it was good to be her with all of her eccentricities.

Today if you are feeling unhappy with some party of your body or comparing yourself to others and feeling as if you fall short, I want you to remember that it is your uniqueness that makes you special, and that makes the world interesting. 

If you are not convinced, that odd is awesome, check out this clip about the top ten weirdest sea creatures. You've got nothing on these guys! Or, look around at the faces of the people you see today and check out their noses. I think it very cool to see how many different kinds of noses people have. Each one is unique. Pick one thing about yourself today express thanks for that difference.

September 11, 2013

Retract the Distractions In Your Life

Today is a busy day. You know you have a lot to get done and not enough time to do it all. You start your work day with a quick read of the e-mails in your inbox, but that quick read soon leads down a rabbit trail of distractions. Your friend sent out and e-mail with a video link to some music video about a fox on YouTube. You know you should watch it later, but curiosity has got you... Three minutes and 45 amusing seconds later you chide yourself for the distraction and try to get back to work - if you can divert yourself from the other string of amusing videos, facebook updates, e-mails and articles that are cluttering up your inbox and your mind. There are so many things competing for your time. So, how can you stay on track?

First, start by managing the distractions in your life. Review your day and prioritize what is critical to get done that day. It often helps to make a written list. Say no to things that are not a priority. Saying no will allow you to say yes to something more important.

Second, leave some down time in your day. There will inevitably be something that comes up in the day you have not considered. If you leave some scheduled down time, it will give you wiggle room to deal with those things without feeling so stressed out.

Finally, forget doing everything perfectly. Perfectionism can be a huge distraction in and of itself because it will slow you down, and even stop you from getting started on your to-do's. Cut yourself some slack and learn to be okay with doing the best you can and then moving on to the next thing you have to do.

Then, when you have completed the most important things on your list, take a little time to reward yourself - a nice cup of tea, doing your nails, a few minutes on your favorite blog, whatever feels relaxing to you. It is the perfect way to unwind and get you ready for the rest of your day!