July 26, 2010

The McMerge

READY8 “Courtesy is a small act but it packs a mighty wallop.” ~ Anonymous

AIM8 While on vacation this year, my husband and I encountered a familiar situation that some of us face on a daily basis. It made such an impact on us that we created a new word to describe our experience.

McMerge – the act of swarming the counter area at McDonalds while jockeying for an ordering position during a busy lunch hour (due to the absence of formal line queues)

Oh yes, you’ve McMerged too? There are many other venues where we are forced to McMerge, but I believe McDonalds is by far one of the most chaotic. Thankfully, there are folks who exist that exercise the act of being courteous. We’ll call them the Courteous Crew. However, there are also folks that exist who could care less about being courteous. We’ll call them the Crass Crew. Hopefully, you’ve met a member of the Courteous Crew during your last dining experience. She walks in the door, looks around herself, and lets the others who were present before her order first. Perhaps, while McMerging, you instead encountered a member of the Crass Crew. Oh sure, he recognized you were standing in the counter swarm before he arrived. It didn’t matter; he was in a hurry and chose to ignore you and just pushed forward and stepped right in front of you to order, totally disregarding your presence. McMerging really isn’t difficult and can be done in a friendly and orderly fashion. You must put on your nice hat and, whether you’re in a hurry or not, recognize and acknowledge the people who arrived before you. Smiling at the people around never hurts to help acknowledge your McMerge position in line too. Courtesy is a choice…just like deciding if “…you want fries with that?”

FIRE!8 Be a member of the Courteous Crew! The next time you are at the grocery store and you have a full cart of groceries, let the person behind you check out first. Chances are she will only have an armful of items and your courteous gesture will brighten her day.

Be Excellent!

July 20, 2010

Making Moments Matter

READY8 “You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing. What! Is it nothing to be happy? Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long? Never in his life will he be so busy again.” ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, 1762

AIM8 Summertime is full of fun and frolic for most families. Vacations, relaxed routines and no homework assignments allow for opportunities to create lasting memories. How many times have you caught yourself saying how quickly the summer seemed to disappear? All too soon, you’re buying school supplies, new clothes and backpacks, and wishing you would have made more of an effort to enjoy the free time you had with your children. Good News! You can forget about all the ‘woulda, coulda, shouldas’ and begin today to capture those magic moments before your summer slips away.

Need some ideas to spark your creative brain? Here are a few suggestions to get you started so you can make those precious summer moments matter:

1.) Play with squirt guns, water balloons and run through the sprinkler together.
2.) See who can catch the most lightening bugs at dusk.
3.) Lie in the grass and look for shapes in the clouds.
4.) Look for star constellations such as the Big Dipper and watch for shooting stars.
5.) Make the most of a rainy day and have an indoor pizza picnic on the living room floor.
6.) Build blanket tents and make indoor s’mores snack mix. (Graham sticks, mini marshmallows and chocolate chips.)

Whatever you decide to do to make your moments matter, remember, the simplest things make a difference in the lives of your children.

FIRE!8 Let down your guard and be a kid again! Your children will giggle and laugh…and so will you! Enjoy the glorious memories you will make together.

Be Excellent!

July 13, 2010

Speak Kindly

READY8 “Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.” ~ Ronald Reagan

AIM8 Each one of us has the ability to make a difference in the lives of the people around us simply by speaking kind words. It doesn’t take much effort, really. In fact, you can make a difference by speaking three simple words. Need some examples? Try saying a few of the following phrases:

“You are important.”
“I thank you.”
“God bless you.”
“I appreciate you.”
“I forgive you.”
“You are amazing.”
“I understand you.”
“I trust you.”
“You are talented.”
“I accept you.”
“You inspire me.”
“I will help.”
“I believe you.”
“You’re the best.”
“I am sorry.”
“I love you.”

Don’t be a “bubble popper” and stick a negative pin into someone’s enthusiasm balloon if she is excited about her life adventure. Speak kind words and send her self esteem and personal initiative soaring.

FIRE!8 Choose one of the phrases above and speak it to those people in your life who need to hear kind words. You will totally change their day!

Be Excellent!

July 7, 2010

Berm Drivers

READY8 “Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin: impatience. Because of impatience we were driven out of Paradise, because of impatience we cannot return.” ~ W.H. Auden

AIM8 Berm drivers. I know you have seen them in action. It’s the car or truck who, when stuck in traffic on a highway, chooses to drive up the berm alongside the parked traffic to attempt to jump ahead of the jam. Now, you and I both know there is no open space ahead for that vehicle to cram itself into the flow. However, even though what they are doing is illegal, some kind soul always let’s that impatient driver weasel their way into the front of the pack. Ugh, it’s so frustrating! Why can’t he or she just wait in line like the rest of us drivers?

It seems like our whole society is just so impatient with life in general anymore. We gotta have everything right away, this instant or immediately. Emails, text messages and phone calls connect us with others within seconds. At work, of course you needed to meet that important deadline yesterday so you have to overnight your order to get it as a “speedy delivery” to a customer who’s screaming because they can’t wait any longer. Rush, rush rush! Hurry, hurry, hurry! Why have we developed such unrealistic expectations? It’s no wonder we are stressed to the max and collapse on the couch at the end of the day when we finally get a chance to slow down or pass out in bed at night because it’s the only way to turn life off.

Take a breath. Life is too short to constantly be rushing through life that you just let it zoom right past you. When your routines are speeding up, slow down. When you are stuck in traffic or in a long grocery line, enjoy a few moments to simply breathe. Don’t be so quick to get impatient. Those breathing moments are built into our lives for a reason. Be aware, as you go through your day, to recognize the opportunities where you can shift your life into a lower gear…and enjoy the ride.

FIRE!8 Stop and smell the roses. What can you do differently to slow down today? Change the route you drive home from work or lie down in the grass with your children and look for shapes in the clouds. Whatever you do, remember to breathe.

Be Excellent!

July 2, 2010

Proud To Be An American

READY8 “Yet, for all of that the amazing American is still a pretty nice guy. Despite all that he is not, because of all that he is, calling anybody "a real American" is still the highest compliment you can pay.” ~ Unknown

AIM8 I was talking with friends the other day about how our society is suddenly worried about being politically correct. With Independence Day celebrations coming this weekend, it made us wonder Why isn't it politically correct to be an American? anymore. People are so concerned about their heritage, their ancestors, and discovering who they are and where they came from that it distracts from what's important; who they are today. YOU ARE AN AMERICAN!!! Yes, your grandparents or great-great-great uncles and aunts may have come to America from another country, but if you were born here, YOU are an American.

Take a moment to think about why so many people are clamoring to get out of those other countries and into America? Sometimes they even risk death to become American citizens because the United States of America is the land of opportunity. Hey, we are fortunate to live in a democratic society where we are free to choose how we live, who we worship, what jobs we work, how many children we have, what we eat, what we wear and where we go every day. It should be totally COOL to be an American!! And yet, so many Americans whine, cry and complain about this great country where we live. I understand we are enduring hard times as a nation and things are not exactly perfect or the way most of us would want them to be. However, the fact of the matter is this...we all need to stand together and remember, WE ARE AMERICANS!! We live in the country where so many long to become citizens. We live in the country with the biggest and the best armed forces protecting our freedoms. We live in the country where we can come and go as we please. I cannot imagine living anywhere else in the world, nor would I want to even consider that option. God has blessed us all with abundance in this land of opportunity. It's time we decide to be grateful and be proud to be Americans!

FIRE!8 Happy 4th of July!! Take a moment to watch this patriotic video. It will get your blood pumping red, white and blue!! www.AmericaHeartandSoulMovie.com

Be Excellent!