Monday, March 26, 2012

The Speed of the Hub

As many of you know, I read the book Flip the S.W.I.T.C.H. by PJ McClure. Every once in a bit I get emails of his blog posts. It's good stuff, but one thing he said hit me right between the eyes:

"The speed of the Coach is the speed of the team."

Whenever I get my rear back into my sewing room, I want to make that a wall hanging, and a T-shirt!

Why? Because this coach has been particularly lazy and it's showing in my husband and kids- especially the kids!

A stay at home parent is the hub of the home. everyone is watching to see what you're doing before taking any action themselves, and I can tell you, the only action they've been seeing me do is beat the levels of the latest computer game. Not a very good model for leadership.

Yet I wondered why my kids aren't keeping to their schedules and doing all of their work- whether that was chores or schoolwork. I can't even yell at them for dropping the ball, because I never tossed it to them in the first place! I was too busy sitting on the bench and barking orders.

But that quote helped make changes in the past two weeks. And I'm seeing a lot of changes in my family in return- and all of them are good.

Let's start with the first example. Two weeks ago, I was walking my daughter to school and she asked if she could have the school breakfast. "Didn't you have breakfast with Dad?" I asked, since he was usually in charge of the morning meal, spending time with the kids before work. "Yes, but I'm still hungry." she replied. She's not one to over-stuff herself, so I was curious. "What did Dad give you for breakfast?" I asked with a raised brow. She saw the brow go up and knew that it meant someone was going to have a talking to if I didn't like her answer. I assured her that it wasn't she that was going to be on the chopping block, but she still hesitated as she confessed- she loves her Daddy and didn't want to see him murdalized by her mother. But she also knew she had to come clean or face the Wrath of Mom. In the end it wasn't such a hard decision- she threw Daddy under the bus. "Mom, he gave me leftover mashed potatoes and a roll."

Egad. He didn't even toss in some raisins this time.

Now, before I read that particular comment from PJ, I would've probably murdalized my husband, prepped something for everyone to heat up the next day, and left it at that. However, something was nagging me to do more for them. I was slacking off and I knew it. So I decided to knuckle down and sacrifice a little extra rest (not sleep, but rest- I was up earlier anyway, either reading or folding laundry upstairs) to start making everyone breakfast in the mornings.

Don't get me wrong- I don't think this is for everybody, but it was what we needed for our family- for so many more reasons than leftover mashed potatoes and a roll. Suffice it to say, these people needed me, and I wasn't going to drop the ball this time.

I have to admit, in the beginning the effort was harder than a one-legged man winning a butt-kicking contest- I was tired, and the kitchen was a mess because I forgot to do the pans the night before. So at first breakfast was a bit late. But we all ate and everyone got off to a good start. 

The shiny rubbed off rather quickly, and by day three, I was getting more and more negative feedback.

They wanted something different, so I started to expand the menu. My son, the Culinary Wonder of the Universe, informed me of every snafu I'd made in my meals, simply because he can. There was not enough salt. Too much pepper. I don't eat crunchy home fries Mom (that I didn't mind so much, because I love them!) Then my husband started to make suggestions on how to improve on the dishes I'd served. We do that to each other anyway (it helps us become better cooks), but by the end of the week, I was beginning to feel very unappreciated.

But then came Monday. And I began to notice something.

The kids were getting up earlier on their own. These same children whom I could blast an air horn in their ears and never see them stir, started setting their alarms and were getting dressed before they got downstairs for breakfast.

Most times, they even brushed their teeth. I almost had a heart attack over the scrambled eggs!

And here's the kicker- while I was making everyone breakfast, they spent the extra time getting their morning chores done. Done. As in finished. I didn't have to yell at them once! In fact my son pointed out that when he does this, he has more free time right before getting on the bus- and that means less incidents at school because he's relaxed. Hallelujah!

The Speed of the Coach- in this case, the Hub, is the Speed of the Team. It's true. I just proved it. 

If this quote resounds in you like it did me, take a look at yourself as the Hub, and see what can be done to make things better. You never know unless you start really looking at your situation, and are willing to put in an honest effort to make those changes. The results might just surprise you!

Kids who are up on time, ready for school and have their chores done- and are happy about it? Who said miracles don't happen anymore! And despite all the hard work, the Hub is happier too!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pudding Zombie

Have you ever had a craving for something and weren't satisfied with anything else until you feasted on said craving? That was me, after going food shopping the other day.

There I was, cruising the bulk food store aisles and looking for a particular rare treat- a big ol' can of vanilla pudding. It was cheap, it was easy to eat, and it came in a huge can- my three favorite reasons why I buy it.
There was only one problem- I couldn't find it anywhere.
I found an employee and asked where the pudding was, and they gave me the worst news ever- we no longer carry that item.
No. It couldn't be. They wouldn't do that to me- I've been shopping here for years, and they always have it! It had to be somewhere in the store- they were just keeping it for themselves!

And that's when the Pudding Zombie raised her ugly little head.

I lumbered up and down each aisle, my eyes sunken and hopeless as I groaned in a voice fully of weariness and deprivation, 'Puuuuuud- diiiiing....'

People avoided me like the plague.

The guy even had the nerve to offer me a substitute item- pudding cups. I didn't want no stinkin' fifteen dollar box of pudding cups! I wanted my vat of cheapo pudding! I got in line and checked out, dragging myself and my purchases to the car, despondent.

I have yet to have any type of pudding product. That pudding might have been cheapo, but it was good pudding- I didn't want the stuff made for kids- I'd be in a sugar rush for the next two weeks! So the Zombie in me is looking on the internet for a good vanilla pudding recipe- maybe I can make something myself to sate the Pudding Zombie's needs. Poor thing!

But this made me realize something significant- sometimes we move like this through life- shuffling like Pudding Zombies, searching for that something we seem to be craving. I'm not talking pudding either- I'm talking about sating that hunger in our hearts. We need to look deep into ourselves and stop being Pudding Zombies, shuffling from aisle to aisle, looking for something that just can't be found on the outside. Look past that zombie and see what the real cravings are.

If you do, I guarantee you aren't going to find pudding!

Keep searching your heart. Accept no substitutions. Stop being like a zombie shuffling through life, and take action to sate that hunger. You won't regret it!

As for me, my hungry heart needed God. He sates my spiritual hunger, and gives me the living water I need to quench a parched throat- Though I have to admit, my stomach still wants pudding!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Out Of The Box Thinking

I decided it was time for some fun today and wanted to share some of my odder more odd weird thoughts with you. Better get some brain food, because you'll wonder why no one else came up with this stuff first (or maybe they did and I'm clueless...)

Here goes...

Dogs love rolling in smelly stuff. Dogs love to stink have scent all over them- so why isn't there a bacon scented body spray for dogs? I think both species would be a lot happier if there was! And Rover would be occupied all day long just sniffing himself for the bacon you hid in his fur.

 Why do they have little caps to put over a cats' claws? Wouldn't it just be easier to clip them?

I actually found a book on making dog treats, but not one for kitty treats...they have doggie treat books, doggie restaurants and bakeries, but the cats are left out- is it because dogs are just more appreciative, or are the cats being too finicky? 

Why do they have dog bakeries anyway? Dogs would be just as happy if you gave them a hot dog rubbed in the dirt! Perhaps especially if it were rubbed in the dirt!

There are three ways of looking at the unclothed:
Naked- having no clothing on.
Nude- having no clothing on and in an artful pose.
Nekkid- having no clothing on- and you're up to something.

Rita Rudner, comedian, quipped, 'You mix flour and water, and you have glue- you add eggs and sugar, you get cake- where did the glue go?' To my hips, Rita, to my hips!

If art is all about perspective, then my bathroom door should be art- there's a crack in the paint that looks just like a cheetah's face. 
Totally. Awesome. 
I'd sell it on Ebay, but it's not my door- it's the landlord's. :(

How is it my son can be sleeping on the third floor with the door shut, and I'm in the basement under a bathtub- yet he can hear me opening up a candy bar?

And how can this same child not hear me when I call him down for chores?

And last, but not least, why don't salads taste as good as chocolate??

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mini Goals- Stepping Up To Success

Wow, that sounds like I'm selling something, doesn't it? But no, this was just a simple revelation as I was contemplating my own future. 

Everyone tells you to make goals, and most times we make big ones- I want to be a millionaire, I want a house, I want a successful career...Yes, I still want those things, but I get overwhelmed when I think that far ahead. That makes me second guess myself, and also stops me in my tracks so I can't function. 

You can achieve anything you set your mind to, but if you don't plan it properly, there's a bigger chance of failure. We usually hear about those rare few that do make it, and think we can do the same. Maybe you can, but I know for me, that would not be the right thing to do. Look at it this way- you can climb a mountain by scaling vast amounts of sheer rock, or you can chip out places to secure your hands and feet. It might take you longer, but there's a lesser chance of falling and breaking your neck!

Call me lazy, but I'm not willing to risk my neck like that. Hand me the chisel, please, and let me make sure I won't fall off and take those who came with me down with me!

Goals don't always have to be huge either- for instance, one of my goals is to keep the house decluttered and neat. While that may be a very easy task for some of you, it's a biggie for me. Mini goals are little steps that I take to get there- getting rid of unused papers, tossing out old clothing, donating things to thrift stores...all of that will help me get to my main goal. When that's done I can set new goals and start the process all over again. Goals and mini-goals can be applied to any aspect of your life where your having trouble- not just to business!

And think about this- you get your house and family in order, and any business you're involved in will start to change too, because all things must change to balance themselves. A juggler can use anything to juggle with, as long as he has the right balance. If you have a juggler that uses only tennis balls, and you trade one of them for a bowling ball, he won't be able to juggle it- unless he changes his balance. It might take some time for him to learn how to do it, but it can be done. That's the important thing. He makes the changes, or things don't change!

Right now my goals are simple, with just a few steps in each. But this is setting me up mentally to handle bigger things, and eventually things I can't even dream of doing if I tried right now! Setting goals and mini goals builds confidence in yourself and those that deal with you, and allows you to step out of the box on occasion- like taking on that bowling ball. And the best part is that it never stops. You can always set new goals to improve yourself further. Life will never get stagnant- unless you let it.

Set goals. Set mini goals. It doesn't matter how many steps between now and the finish line- the important thing is that you stay in the race!

As for me, I'm going to go toss out some clutter that's been hanging around here for way too long- today is trash day!