Friday, December 28, 2018

New Year - New Inspiration - New Connections

You know those people that you get inspired and happy just by being around them?  

That's Nikki Lewallen!  

I hadn't planned for this to be the New Year post but after listening back, there's so much inspiration and great tips here, there's no better way to kick off your new year planning! 

Nikki has a passion for helping people love Mondays! She has deep expertise in all things employee engagement. She is a powerful connector of people and believes that relationships trump everything! 

Each day she is inspiring people to enjoy the work they do on earth, build meaningful relationships and give back! 

You must listen to learn how she and Tonka Jane create some happiness for others! 


CEO of Rainmakers, a premiere business networking organization in Indianapolis.

Head of Partnerships for Emplify, a company devoted to helping millions of people find meaning in their work.

National Chair for Engage Mentoring, a company dedicated to People-First Executives. 



Check out this episode!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Relationships: 10 Things You Need to Hear

She's back!  Dr. Vickie Dalton is here to talk about relationships!

 As strong women, we’re willing to work really hard to make things turn out well. We want our relationships to go well too.
You can’t control others people’s behaviors. 

I know I know, we believe things could be soooooo much better if we could just tell people what to do! 
Nope.  (I know, I know #superhard)

So what CAN we do? 

10 Things ....

This applies to friendships, colleagues, & significant others.

  1. Take Responsibility and Accountability for our OWN behaviors.
  2. Choose to work on your relationships. Great relationships don’t happen by accident. They take INTENTION.
  3. Conflict will happen.  You don’t have to agree on everything. 
  4. After a fight, go back and work through it, even when it is uncomfortable. This is how we learn how to have great relationships.
  5. Assumptions are dangerous! You’re wrong half of the time about the context and background of an argument, even when you have a great relationship.
  6. Our kids are learning to communicate and how to do relationships from us. Don’t hide the struggle, learn and show them how to work through them.
  7. ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED!  Without guilt.
  8. There is no perfect.  NOBODY HAS a perfect life.  I REPEAT ….N O B O D Y  has a PERFECT life.
  9. There are 3 steps to a great apology, stay until the end to learn those!
  10. We're all fabulously imperfect. Own that, learn and work through things together.



Check out this episode!

Monday, September 28, 2009

My First Day as June Cleaver

If you read my post yesterday, the challenges of parenting kicked me in the 'behind'.  Yesterday I would have said ass, but today I became June Cleaver.

Yes, today is the day I decided to try and do it all right, or at least a heckuvalot better than I have been.

The morning started out like most mornings. I didn't go all out with a full  on hot breakfast or anything.  Honestly, pancakes are basically cake smothered with corn syrup so I wasn't feeling bad about the cereal they usually have. It's not even sugar covered chocolate smacks.  It has fiber and everything.

Around noon I decided we needed a hot meal to gather round on this blustery fall day.  So ladies and gentlemen, I busted out the ....... wait for it......... crock pot.  Yes, siree bob.  I'm a crockpot cooker.

After browning, chopping and hydrating the steak and potatoes, I went back to my office knowing that there would be a warm family moment waiting for us all tonight. 

Then my Ward called and said he forgot to tell me he was helping his friend move tonight.  Gee, Wally, that's a shame your father can't make it for dinner. 

Yesterday I would have said, "Are you frickin' kidding me?!!!"  Maybe frickin' maybe not.

So, I strolled on through my 1958 moment wishing I had a full skirt and a girdle.(NOT!)

Just before the boy was due home, I took my computer downstairs so I'd be his little greeting committee.  We chatted about his day and then he retreated to his room, otherwise known as Legoland.

Here comes the girl.  I turn the TV off the Oprah, Mackenzie Phillips, drugs and sex with her father episode that I had Tivo'd.  I'd like to think I would have done that yesterday before my June transformation.

Normally, she would do her homework and then ask to watch TV.  Instead, we went TV free. 

See that?  Check me out.

Old dog. New Tricks, yea baby.

At 5:15, I put dinner on the table.  I'm not sure if that means I'm a good mom or a senior citizen.  Kids were a little freaked out but it certainly kept them from consumming a pantry full of snacks before dinner. We ate dinner, sans Ward. 

The boy said, "Why are we having a family dinner without dad?" I tried not to hear the disappointment in his voice.  Dinner without dad typically means pizza rolls at the counter.  Not tonight boys and girls, and if you're real good and eat all your vegetables maybe we'll have dessert.  (Dear Lord, I'm not sure I can keep this up.)

After dinner, the girl wrote notes and pictures in her new journal which gave us some time to talk without those irritating Zach and Cody characters with their bad acting.   We revisited some of the mom and daughter conversation from this weekend much to her dismay.  See, I can reinforce the rules.  I'm getting good at this parenting thing.  Day one of transformation going well.

After dinner, (at 6:15!), we decide to watch some TV together while we finish off the chocolate cake from the girl's birthday.   Do you know how hard it is to find a decent TV show with basic cable that doesn't have sex, drugs, rock n roll or teenagers with their bellies hanging out? She was a little freaked when we spun right by Hannah and Zoey in all of their teen angst and pregnancy and finally landed on........ wait for it ......... Family Fued. 

Are    you     kidding   me?????????????????/

Is that really the only show on basic cable that we could find?  Yes, it was.

Finally, we found a cooking competition with sugar sculptures that was entertainment for all. 

Now it's 8:00 and the little angels are heading up to bed to brush their teeth, get in their jammies, and read before 9:00 lights out.  I'll head up shortly to snuggle them in and hear about the book they're reading and give them a little lovey dovey snuggly wuggly.  (I'm not really capable of snuggly wuggly but it sounded like something June would do)

Confessions of the new June me,  Day 1:

I did scream twice.  Okay three times.
1. Chocolate on the couch incident
2. Slamming doors while giggling and brushing teeth.
 You see, my friend Jen lost two fingers when a cousin was giggling and slammed a door on her hand so I have some fear and phobia that warranted it.
3. Still giggling - (obviously not totally transformed or giggling wouldn't be grounds for Mommy Dearest to come out. Work with me, it's day one.)

So, here's the summary of Day 1 transformation.

I have no desire to eat dinner in the middle of the afternoon or eat stewed meat all that often.  I do think there's some improvement in how much we talk and what TV shows are acceptable. I guess I'm doing okay at this mom thing.

Maybe I'll find a hipper version of June Cleaver with cute boots and a killer haircut and still say crap once in awhile without anyone ending up in Juvie. 

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'm not Prepared

The parenting punch hit me right in the gut this weekend.  The true reality of how darned hard it is to raise good kids hit me in my heart, my head and my gut.  While we're busy cooking, cleaning, working and folding socks, kids are growing and learning and making decisions. Some right, some not so right.  If we're not paying attention, things are going to get interesting.  I wish I could hit a pause button on my kids once in awhile and just breath. 

I've never been one of those moms that pureed organic babyfood or only allowed them to watch the science channel. I've always believed in keeping things balanced and fairly normal.  Of course my mom let me eat cake for breakfast so maybe my idea of normal is a little wacked.

We live in small town USA in the middle of the midwest and still things are hard. 
Should they watch this TV show?
Should they ride the bus and listen to what the older kids are saying and teaching them? 
I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.

I had a chat with my girl and her BFF this weekend about listening to your gut.  They are both on the fringe of being 8 and they're already being exposed to some things that I'm not ready for.

I asked them if they ever have that funny feeling in their gut. The one that kinda feels like they are doing the wrong thing.  I told them, that is God's way of taking care of them when their Mom and Dad isn't around.  The funny feeling is God saying, "come on, you don't want to go there." 

I also reminded them that if one of their friends says, "come on, we won't get caught."  That's a sure sign that they are in some dangerous territory and the best bet is to get out of that situation.  And finally, never to be the one saying, "Come on, we won't get caught, because they are taking their friends down with them."

I feel desperate to prepare them to make good decisions and understand about their choices and consequences, yet I'm not sure any of what I do or say is right. 
I'm praying and listening to my gut.

 I think. 

Yet, when I think critically about it, I know there is a ton I could do better. 

I put my parent radar on high alert this weekend and I don't think I'll come down until they're picking and paying for my nursing home.

Crap, this job scares me.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Musings from the 2nd Grade Lunchroom

It's been many years since I attended elementary school.

I went to visit my favorite 2nd grader and accompany her to lunch.

Things look different than I remember, now that I see it through my 'Mom' eyes.

My heart took in a very interesting scene.

My girl is much like I was, grades came easy, friends at every desk, watch the clock til recess, sunshine and sparkles, apple for the teacher. My life was easy breezy beautiful and I could have been the cover girl for 2nd grade.

Now I see a different scene. Not everyone fits into my version of 2nd grade. I watch the crowd in Mrs. S's class.
She reads the book. They sit around her like groupies at a sold out show. Well, most of them do. Some pick the dirt from the bottom of their shoe, some stare into space with a look a look of faraway. A look that I don't remember knowing in 2nd grade. Some look, well... lost. Not lost in what page is next in the dinosaur saga, lost in, where do I fit in.

I'm intrigued.
Time for lunch.
The crowd moves through their routine like workers on an assembly line. They've only been here a few days, how did they get programmed so quickly, these little 'bots'.

Line up. Boys line, Girls line. no talking please. EVER.

What's it like to stand next to someone for several minutes and not be able to talk? Is that why we don't talk in elevators, because of the 2nd grade bathroom line?

For some, it's the chance to be the best. Watch me be the best not talker, straight line walker you've ever seen. For some, it's more round peg, square hole. Some don't walk in straight lines, or want to be just with the boys. Some just don't fit in. Those are told to 'shush!' Get in line. That's it, you lose a star.

Some hang their head in shame when they lose a star. They wanted that star. Or mom will yell when they bring home that sheet minus the star. "Why was it I wanted that star again?" some ask.

Some don't care. Stars are so far from their world, they live in their own universe. A much more colorful one, one with better planets and comets and things that make stars look lame.

Onto the lunchroom. More straight lines.

At the back of the line is the rumpled hair and shirt kid. You know the one. My eyes meet his and this time I see him as a mom. Not the easy breezy 2nd grade girl that doesn't understand why you wouldn't comb your hair before school. I want to stand up, reach out and put my arms around this kid and tell him he's the best I've ever seen. But I can't, he's too busy. Busy, Busy, Busy. He's busy looking here and there and trying to stand still and trying not to push that kid in front of him but it's too tempting and he just has to. Just to see what will happen. Not hard, just to get a fun game going, I'll push you and you push me and that means we're friends. That means we're boys.

Like moth to a flame, here she comes, the lunch lady, she sniffs out the "I'm about to push someone" from across the chicken patty filled room. She leans down to rumpled hair boy and scolds him for what he is and what he isn't and everyone looks, "Yep, he's in trouble again."

I want to stand up and say, "look people, I'm a huge fan of order but all of a sudden this looks like a scene out of Stepford Wives in training. Could we all just let loose for a few minutes and talk and joke and not walk in a straight line! Enough with the straight line!"

My heart begins to ache because across town in the 6th grade lunch room is my other Gift from God and he's not a straight line walker. He's a lego building fast talker. He's the one who's already calculated a way better plan for all of this but isn't allowed to share it because it's not his turn to talk. By the time it is his turn to talk he will have moved on to a new plan. He can't wait for them to catch up. He's the one smarter than the rest and still getting tapped on the shoulder being told to pay attention while he's dreaming about how to save the world.

As the entire lunchroom scrapes their broccoli and cheese into the trash I am still thinking about my "bigger universe" guy. I'm going to be a better mom and let him save the world. The best straight line walkers show up to work telling everyone else why the other ways are wrong.
My bigger universe guy will text in to his Virtual Assistant to have straight line walker fired while he goes back to curing cancer and finding a way to save our planet.
Time to re-affirm my heart and my parenting for the boy. Lunchroom relalignment that not everyone sees the world like a straight line walking 2nd grade girl. My boy see it differently. The boy that God gave to me. Time to remind him that the greatest solutions to the world's biggest problems haven't been solved by walking in a straight line to the bathroom.

*Disclaimer. I love good teachers, I could never do their job, I get that the budgets are low and classes are big. I'm not judging, just observing and re-framing my parenting gig.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Wasp and the Ohm

How many times have you found yourself grounded, centered, relaxed, only to be swatting at something buzzing around your head?

Today, Day 3 of my 'Staycation' I was alone (sort of) on the deck. Thinking, mediating, praying. This vacation is long overdue so it has taken 3 days to get relaxed. Just when I feel my shoulders dropping to where they are meant to be, and my breath start to slow and my thoughts start to wander, a wasp starts buzzing around my head.

At first I attempt to ignore it. It flies away and then circles back almost Kamikaze-like toward my face. I live with it for a minute or two more and then finally, completely distracted, I go inside.

Isn't life like that.....fairly often? We finally get ourselves relaxed, happy, enjoying the moment and someone or something swoops in changing the whole scene and creating a bit of chaos. With the wasp, it creates fear, frustration, uncertainty, and aggravation. The same holds true for people and circumstances in our lives. They come buzzing mostly out of fear, frustration, uncertainty, and aggravation.

I choose to believe that the wasp has no true malicious intent. It is simply unsure of us and our motive and is protecting itself and it's territory. After all, I didn't interpret the buzzing sound to be saying, "Stop trying to relax you evil human. I'll show you relax.... buzzzz" with stinger ready to impart hurt and damage.

I guess I'll choose to believe that most humans don't have a malicious intent when they knock us off center. Likely, they are also trying to protect themselves and their territories.

What if we all stopped buzzing for a moment and just stopped.....

Stopped to listen, read, hear and understand. Not to hear our words. Words are confusing and leave way too much to interpretation. What if we stopped to listen to each others heart? Our breath? Our feelings?

What if always assumed goodwill and never malicious intent? Sure, once in awhile we'd get hurt and disappointed. But mostly wouldn't we match the feeling of tensions releasing, slow and steady breathing and finally feeling relaxed?

Maybe we wouldn't feel the need to keep our own stinger sharpened or to have our fly swatter handy for whatever buzzed in our ears.