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Archive for September, 2010

Wanted: Patience

Every few days I think about writing something over here, but then I open up the window and stare at a blank block for awhile before deciding my time would be better spent doing things like responding to work emails, catching up on my DVR or Google Reader, emailing a friend, or checking Facebook.

But not tonight! Tonight I’m in a hotel room in Baltimore for work. (Okay, technically I’m in Annapolis, which I found out is not exactly all that close to Baltimore when faced with no public transit or rental car. And yet? I love Annapolis! Such a cute town.)

So you know how life has peaks and valleys, and sometimes things are all rosey and rainbows and other times you either feel like laughing or crying at the ridiculousness and wonder just what else will go wrong? Well right now, I’m in a bit of a valley. Nothing seems to be going the way I had hoped, as I imagined in my mind, and while it’s not the end of the world, it’s still frustrating. I’m getting better at not letting it affect my mood because a negative attitude doesn’t help anyone, but I’d be lying if I said I was a patient person. I’m not. Never have been. I learned how to operate a VCR at age 2 because I didn’t want to wait to for my grandma to change out my videotapes. (Care Bears wait for no one!) I got a 29 on my ACT in high school, which is a decent score, but I didn’t even read the science portion, because I was tired and had cramps and didn’t want to sit in the chair any longer to finish it. (This one possibly cost me a state scholarship. But I’d like to think the nap I had after getting my hands on some super strength Midol was worth it.) I graduated college in 7 semesters instead of 8 because I was tired of sitting in classes when all I wanted to do was get out into the “real world” in a “real job.” (I never could rationalize how college trig would help me in my career in communications.)

Most people might look at these examples and think the real reason behind these actions was ambition. But in reality? It’s always been a lack of patience. Until now, so much of my life has been in my control. Or so I thought. If I didn’t like the way something was, I changed it. (Except for my weight, because as hard as I try to change that, I work really hard at eating right and working out for a week or two before I lose patience and give up.) Don’t like my job? I transferred departments. Don’t like my car? Bought a new one. Don’t like my friends? Made new friends. My neighbor’s dog starts barking at 11pm? I text her and tell her that Mr. McBarks-A-Lot would like to be let inside, please. (I used to just call animal control on her, but now that I have her phone number, I have no qualms about texting her. It’s better for everyone that way, especially me since it takes animal control for freakin’ ever to show up! <— See? No patience.)

Sometimes it takes me awhile to determine what it is that needs to change, but once I do, I devise a plan and set out to achieve it. And as long as every little move gets me closer to that overall goal, I keep my resolve and committment to change whatever it is I want to change. But when something is completely out of my control? I’m frustrated. I feel helpless. I start having conversations in my head, telling myself that God has a plan. That things happen (or don’t happen, as the case may be) for a reason.

And then I wait. Which requires patience. And we all know how good I am with being patient. (Reminder for those of you not paying attention: not at all.)

I was going to end this post asking for advice on practicing patience, but I’m bored and I don’t feel like finishing it properly. And it’s not like I have any control on whether or not you respond anyway. So…yeah.

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Shopping Lists

Do you ever look at your shopping list and wonder what someone might think of it if you happened to drop it and they found it?

Here’s mine:

  • Shampoo
  • Listerine
  • Pepper
  • Mouse trap
  • Birthday card

I just know someone would take one look at that and think something crazy. Like I’m trying to catch a mouse with pepper, make it sneeze, then wash it and rinse its mouth (for fresh mouse breath) and give it a birthday card.

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The Power

I’ve been reading this book called The Power. It’s essentially a book about the power of positive thinking, and how we are all meant to have amazing, happy lives but it’s in our mind’s control on whether or not we actually do. It’s an interesting read that ties in the law of attraction and the concept of giving love in order to receive love. It also talks about gratitude and being thankful for things that we normally take for granted, like electricity, running water, and roadways. I was only part of the way through the book when I decided to start a gratitude journal. I’d heard of people keeping journals like this before, most recently from Sherry over at Young House Love, and I loved the idea of having my own “little book of happiness,” as I like to call it. So for the last few days, I’ve made it a point to keep a running list in my head of all the little things that I’m thankful for or that made me happy throughout the day, and every night I jot them down in my little journal. I even purchased a pretty little journal that makes me happy just by looking at it. And I use my favorite pen to write in it.

For the first few days, this new philosophy was great! I noticed things that I might not have noticed before – my favorite songs playing on the radio one right after the other; helpful, cheery people in the checkout lanes; a kind word (or 10) from coworkers; surprise flowers from my hubby – and life was extra happy! Then, my old ways creeped back in. Someone would ask me about my day or my weekend, and I would pick out the worst parts to tell them about. If I talk about anything, it’s usually negative because for some reason, I feel bad talking about good things. It’s so much easier to chit chat about something that annoyed me during the day than something that made me smile. Instead of saying, “I had the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich today,” I would rather tell people about the soup that came with it and how gross it was. I think in some weird, twisted way, I think putting myself or my actions down will make the other person feel better about themselves. I do it automatically, without even thinking.

It’s a hard habit to break, but I’m trying. I’m trying to focus on the positives, and ignore the not-so-positives. I’ve always been pretty happy, for the most part, but lately I’ve been more dissatisfied with life and my plans (or lack thereof) for the future. I haven’t really wanted anything for so long, and that’s mostly because I’ve just been satisfied with what I had, except I couldn’t figure out why everything was staying the same. Not that I was complaining though. The “same” was still “pretty darn good.” Now I know that I not only need to be grateful for what I have (which I’ve always done) but I need to be grateful for the things I don’t have YET. I know, it’s kind of confusing, but read the book and it will all make sense. If nothing else, this book contains some of my very favorite quotes, some of which I will leave with you today:

All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own. – Edwin Markham

The world is but a canvas to our imaginations. – Henry David Thoreau

Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win. – William Shakespeare

Gratitude for the abundance you have received is the best insurance that the abundance will continue. – Muhammad

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. – Albert Einstein

Everything is possible for the person who believes. – Jesus

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Ponderings

How did I not know that my favorite donut – the kind that’s frosted with chocolate and filled with custard – is called a Bismarck? All this time I’ve just been saying “creme filled donut” and didn’t realize it actually had a name! Now I want a donut.

Why is it that whenever the tornado sirens go off, all of my neighbors run outside to see what’s going on? Are they just trying to ensure a quick death if a tornado actually hits?

Why aren’t there clearer “dry clean only” warnings on clothing items? Shouldn’t someone tell me this BEFORE I buy it? A big, red, flashing label would be nice. And how many times can I wear a piece of dry-clean-only clothing before I need to take it to the cleaners? Right now,  I’m averaging about 2 or 3 times for pants, and 1,394 times for jackets. That’s ok, right?

What is going on with the housing market? At what point do I stop lowering the price and just ask someone to move in and take over my mortgage payments? Preferably someone without pets.

I have discovered the delicousness that is lobster pot pie. My life will never be the same. Now, how do I work this dish into my routine diet? And budget?

I cannot tell you how excited I am to spend five blissful days with my hubby – just the two of us, sans work. However I can tell you how UNexcited I am about flying towards a hurricane named Earl. And that’s very.

Man, I really want a donut.

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