​In the End, Relationships Are What Matter Most

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In the end, it’s your relationships that matter most. So many times I get caught up with my deadlines and what I have to get done. When you work for yourself and work from home, the lines between work and home can become significantly blurred. It works great when you have to move back and forth between kid stuff and work stuff.

But a person recently told me that successful people focus and make time for what’s important. They make sure they spend quality time having quality conversations with those who are important to them.

I used to read to my kids every single night. We got away from that and I started to feel disconnected. That small habit of reading to them, discussing the books and tucking them in each night connected us through a shared activity.

I recently watched Brene Brown’s talk on The Anatomy of Trust. If you haven’t seen it, you should take a look. She said research shows that trust is built in those small moments. I would add that connections are built in those small moments too. And, like trust, it’s built over time when those small moments happen over and over and over again.

Building Connection Through Habit

So if you’re feeling disconnected from someone, make it a habit to do something with them. Life is busy, but the people in our lives are important. In 50 years when I look back on my life, I’m not going to remember the deadline, the blog post, the client (yes those things are important too). I’m going to remember the dinners with my boys, family and friends. I’m going to remember going stand up paddle boarding with my kids and friends. I’m going to remember long pool parties with friends and family. I’m going to remember watching silly shows and laughing with my boys, taking them to sports events and all of those other precious moments of connecting with them, with my family and my friends.

We’re creatures of habit. So when you make something a habit, whether it’s exercising, eating clean, making your bed or spending time connecting with loved ones, it’s something you do effortlessly. Why not make something that brings you happiness a habit?

Scheduling time for my priorities

It really is a simple step. My first job out of college was at Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Green Country in Oklahoma. I’m grateful they sent me to Franklin Covey’s time management class and bought me a planner. That class taught me about taking a few minutes at the beginning of each workday to list out all of my tasks and then to assign a priority to them. What if we do that with our lives?

What would that look like? Would doing the dishes be an A1 priority? Or, would it be laughing with your kids? Everyone’s priorities are different, and I’m not necessarily advocating for a dirty house.

But, when you prioritize your entire life, how much time do you devote to the things that matter to you most? Do you make time for them on a daily basis? I can say that I don’t always.

I bought a journal after a friend told me about it. It’s called the 5-minute journal. It kind of combines what I’m talking about here with the power of attraction. Every morning, I write down three things I’m grateful for, three things that would make the day great and my daily affirmations. It focuses my day.

Each night, I write down three amazing things that happened that day and how I could’ve made that day even better. Sometimes, I have more than three things to write down. Sometimes, I can’t think of a single thing that would’ve made that day any better because I feel like I used my time as wisely as I could in a balanced way.

Between that and my planner, how much richer would my life be if I schedule time to connect with my boys, my friends and my family?

Building Better Connections for Better Balance

A sweet, wise friend of mine writes, talks and coaches about life balance. It’s when that balance is off that I feel the most disconnected. And when I feel disconnected, I feel lost, alone and stressed. I get frustrated more often and just out of sync with who I am. I lose my temper.

Remembering to make time for those who matter most to me and I to them is my new commitment to myself. I think that scheduling that time, making that process a habit will bring better balance, peace, happiness and the space to be me.

Happy Sunday! Here’s to building better relationships!

Reconnecting with Kids When Your Battery is Flashing LOW Like T-Pain

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Since school started, I’ve been racing from thing to thing with my kids. I have work, they have school, we have homework, getting organized for the year, dinner, practice, caring for pets, and a sprained ankle (already?!?). Life is back to one big hamster wheel with almost daily trips to the store and stolen conversations and stop-light texts with friends. Happy hour is a distant (although fond) memory for this full-time single mom.

To wind down, we started watching “Scrubs.” I loved the show when it came out and right now I have to confess I’m using it as a passive teaching tool for my kids, a way to wind down and fill my little-to-nonexistent romantic life with that lingering crush I have on Dr. J.D.

I’m not a ‘sit on my behind’ kind of person, so the concept of binging on Netflix has never appealed to me. But I have to say binging on three to four 20-minute episodes has been pretty fulfilling. It gives me a chance to hear my kids’ perspective on the show and the problems the characters face. It’s still quality time without me having to dig deep into my energy reserves to have a deep conversation with them.

I had forgotten how much I liked it, how funny it is and how many personal/social topics they tackle which allows for more quality conversation than “Walking Dead” or “Arrow” (don’t judge). Yes, I’m a girl and yes I like the superhero movies/shows.

I’m also not one to decompress with a glass of wine so this has been an exciting discovery. It actually recharges my batteries too – BONUS!

So here’s to eight more seasons of J.D., Turk, Carla and Elliot with lots of laughter and insight from my teenage boys on life, social skills, friendship and romantic relationships. Look out girls, my youngest has this stuff down!

Two Weeks (okay a month) Without You

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I’m in the middle of spending an entire month without my kids. I’ve never gone this long without being with them. I distinctly remember my first five days without them and it was excruciating.

This is a whole lot longer than five days and I miss them, but it’s completely different this time. I still get to text, talk or FaceTime with them every day. Even it’s a short and sweet “I love you and miss you,” we touch base.

I miss seeing their smiles and hearing their laughter. I miss goofing around together, watching movies together, playing games and just hanging out. I miss their late night philosophical questions. I miss hearing, “I love you mommy” on a daily basis and seeing their eyes sparkle as they say it. I miss hearing about their dreams, goals and fears because that rarely comes up during a phone call. I do the mom thing and still worry about them daily (I’ve been told this never goes away).

However, this time is different because I’m in a different place. Maybe because of that I’ve approached this month in a completely different way than I approached that first five days. That first time I was focused on trying to fill that time with things to do just to keep my mind off of not having my kids because it felt like a loss. I was needy and needed my friends. This time I’ve approached it as a time to solely focus on me because when do you EVER get a month to focus on you?

So far, it’s been wonderful. I’ve read, danced all over my house with music blaring (and singing loudly and off-key), relaxed, made a significant dent in that ongoing to-do list, reconnected with old friends, hung out with my group, decorated my house, eaten a lot of delicious food, gone out and lived it up just like a vacation (except the whole working during the week thing, there’s still weeknights).

I’ve also taken the time to do a lot of reflecting. Being alone in my very quiet house has been awesome and given me the opportunity to do a lot of soul-searching, analysis of the past and healing.

I feel myself settling back into who I was before I got married (hopefully a wiser and more experienced version, or Me 2.0). I’ve made mistakes, asked for forgiveness and more importantly learned from those mistakes and forgiven myself.

I’ve reached out to an old friend whose friendship I lost because of a person who is no longer a part of my life. It’s funny how close friends try to tell you something and you just aren’t ready to hear it or accept it. It’s hard to watch a friend be dragged down by a toxic relationship they refuse to leave. That conversation was healing and awesome because we had been so close and I never really had satisfactory answers as to why things broke down. Understanding brings healing and our friendship has picked back up. I’m thankful for that.

My sweet boys have a bumpy few months ahead of them. Not only because of transitioning to new schools (middle and high) and growing up, but also because of personal things about to happen in their lives. So this month has given me the chance to learn more about how I can be there for them, support them and guide them through it. I feel a lot more prepared as a parent.

Although these times apart from our children can be hard, finding a way to make this time about you is truly is a rare gift to recharge.

Vacation, The Go-Gos

We Are Family

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Today is Father’s Day and I spent the entire day reconnecting with my dad. We live in different cities and only see each other a few times a year (more now that I’m single).

He’s not a big communicator. He doesn’t like to talk on the phone and my texts have to end with a question that requires a yes or no answer. So, it’s only in those face-to-face moments that we really get to reconnect. It serves as a reminder of how much I love him, miss him and need to spend more time with him.

I had a million things on my to-do list to get done this weekend. Instead, I slowed down and focused on my dad. We lunched and laughed. We went to my son’s hockey thing. Then we drove down to Zilker Botanical Gardens and literally stopped to smell the flowers, to watch a hummingbird and to take a picture of a turtle and a piece of wood because the texture of it caught his eye.

For as long as I can remember, my dad has loved taking pictures. One of my earliest memories is running through grass as tall as I was, trying to catch butterflies while he took pictures of it.

After dinner and a shared pizookie, we came back home and talked of past relationships, crushing heartbreaks and how beautiful the world really is. We laughed and cried (okay, I cried and he remained at that 30,000 foot level of ‘that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes’). My dad’s all-in, never ending love for my mother (who died 34 years ago btw) is why I still believe in true, giddy, can’t-get-you-out-of-my-head love. It’s inspiring, it’s touching and it’s heartbreaking.

Yet he stops to smell the flowers and enjoy the beauty in small things. He looks for the good in people. He’s patient and kind. He’s quiet. I used to spend hours with him in his darkroom while he developed pictures. Using very few words, he showed me how to develop pictures (not that he can’t tell a long (oy-vey) story when he’s passionate about something). He’s pretty methodical and takes things slow. He’s in his own head a lot. He thinks, then speaks.

He also knows how to be silly and sing out loud in public. He loves music and we’ve always listened to the radio and sang together. It doesn’t matter if you’re in or out of tune, just that you love the music and can feel it. He bought me my first album and many after that.

Someone recently asked me what I’m looking for in my next partner. I would have to say I’m looking for someone with more of the same qualities as my dad. My ex was nothing like my dad and that’s a life-lesson for me. My dad will also tell me I don’t need a “next partner” which is one of the many things I love about him.

My family doesn’t do drama. We don’t have family feuds. We live and let live. We’re independent. We love God. We forgive. We turn the other cheek. We love. We laugh. We play silly games. We laugh some more. We sing. We dance. We’re a fairly quiet bunch (unless there’s a football game on, or we need to bust into song). We cook together. We eat together. We’re inclusive. If you don’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving, we’ll make room for you at our table. We’re curious. Most of us ask a lot of questions.

Before my dad left, he got on the ground and looked under my car to finish his diagnosis of all of the things I need to fix. He wished he was 20 years younger so he could fix it himself.

I wish he was 20 years younger too, but not so he can fix my car. My family lives a very long time, but it’s never really long enough and I’ll always want my dad to remind me of who I am when I need reminding and for when it’s time to slow down and smell the flowers.

Happy Father’s Day dad, I’m proud to be your daughter.

Want Space?

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Who doesn’t want more space?

Twitter understands our needs for space and has announced that it will stop counting photos and links in character limits giving us more freedom to express ourselves.

Bloomberg quoted a source saying that the change could come in the next couple of weeks, so hang on to your hats, because good things are worth the wait.

​Cheers and Happy Tuesday!