My Four Most Popular Posts from 2014

I thought I might share with you my four most popular posts from 2014 based on number of views, likes, shares and comments.   I’m humbled that anyone besides my mom would read my blog! (And even more humbled that my post on Robin Williams, My Dad and the Voice of Truth was viewed over 5,000 times in 24 hours).

Think of these posts as an old fashioned covered dish dinner on the grounds!  Some dishes (posts) are light and sweet like that orange whipped cream stuff my Aunt Wee used to make.  Others are meaty (and maybe even a little hard to chew) like a good old hunk of roast beef.   But they all are intended to encourage you and perhaps inspire you to consider everyday life from a renewed perspective.  Thank you for reading my blog…may you find a little cheer in these Life Lessons & Laughter!

Robin Williams, My Dad and the Voice of Truth

robin-williams-jpgFrom his Mork and Mindy days to Good Morning Vietnam to Mrs. Doubtfire and beyond, Robin Williams literally oozed humor and was a master of all things funny.

But addiction and depression are no laughing matter.

When I consider my father’s battle with the same, and then suicide, I think of this:… Continue reading

What I Caught From the Parking Garage Lady

The Parking Garage Lady was contagious yesterday.  And I caught it.  Let me explain.

Typical scenario: you go through the toll booth or exit the parking garage.  You hand him the ticket. He stamps it.

“Four dollars.”

You hand him a five.

He slaps a one into your hand and pushes the button. Gate lifts. You’re gone. End of story.

But that’s not what happened to me yesterday morning.

With our window rolled down, ready to get our ticket, my husband and I heard her before we got to her cheery, joy-dispensing booth. “You have a wonderful Thursday!” she said to the person in the car ahead of us.

“How are y’all this morning?”, she asked…as if she really wanted to know.  Still a little sleepy and nursing my coffee,  I leaned to the left from the passenger seat.  I wanted to see this happy lady.  With a warm smile she commented, “Nippy this morning! But I bet it’ll warm up by noon time! Isn’t this a gorgeous time of year?”

“Uh, yeah!” was our brilliant response.

We parked and made our way to the building. As we walked past her booth, our eyes met. She smiled and waved.  Maybe it was just the coffee kicking in, but I felt a bit more bounce in my step.  I smiled and waved back.

IMG_0163Entering the building, I pondered that this woman has transformed a job some might call mundane into a personal  mission to brighten the day of each person who crosses her path.  She may look like an ordinary parking garage lady, but don’t be fooled by her disguise.  She’s actually a superhero, nixing negativity with each parking ticket she stamps!

Not only did she brighten my day and everyone else fortunate enough to park in the Washington St. Garage, but she also made it contagious.

John had business in the courthouse.  A security guard instructed us to place jackets, purse, etc. on the conveyor belt.  I waited for the go ahead to pass through the detector.  Person after person walked through without a word or glance to the guard.  Infected by my happy parking garage lady, I ventured a word of encouragement.  “Thanks for keeping us safe.”  The guard was caught off-guard.  “Thank you, Ma’am.” He smiled and actually stood slightly taller.

As I stepped onto the elevator, a woman stared straight ahead, expressionless.  As we ascended, I broke the silence. “I love your boots.”  Her face came to life.  “I got ’em on sale!”  “Well then all the better!” I replied. We laughed.

The doors opened.  “Have a great day!” she called after me.

Yes, I know. These conversations aren’t world-changers. But they are short, painless affirmations of the people we bump into all day long. What if we “infect” the people we encounter and they in turn, “infect” the people they encounter?

As you go through your ordinary day today, whether at home or work, remember your extraordinary opportunity to infuse a little joy into someone’s life.  Who knows what kind of happy epidemic you and I can start?

6 Surefire Ways to Nix the Negativity at Work and Home

I chuckled when I saw this quote on a coffee mug recently:

I don’t have an attitude problem.  YOU have a problem with my attitude… and that’s not my problem.

What a joy it must be to live and work with this guy!

Be a Superhero!Instead, you can become a SUPERHERO  in your home and at the office by using these six surefire ways to nix the negativity in your life.

1.  Laugh at yourself. That’s right, don’t take yourself so seriously.  Life is full of embarrassing moments!  You’re going to trip sooner or later.  Your wrap around skirt may not always wrap around.  Take a deep breath, enjoy the laugh and move on!

2.  Talk back to yourself.  Many negative people tend to say they can’t help their feelings.  That’s true, but feelings are determined by thoughts, and we CAN choose what we think about.  “What we think about, we tend to bring about.”

 3.  Give your time.  Studies have shown that people who volunteer for a cause they feel passionate about tend to live longer, are less depressed and have enhanced feelings of well being.

4.  Spiritual growth.  Studies demonstrate a close link between spiritual growth and purpose and happiness. Seek to know Someone larger than you.

5.  Break a sweat.  Scientists have told us for a long time that exercise lifts the mood.  But Princeton researchers discovered last spring that the beneficial effects of exercise are not just temporary.  Cardio exercise actually rewires your mind to help keep your cool in stressful situations.  And if you think you need to train for a triathlon to get the benefits, think again.  Just 4 to 6 minutes every day for 5 weeks has been shown to reverse age-related memory impairment.  It also helps with what they call “executive functioning”: being able to switch tasks efficiently, getting back on track more quickly after a distraction, making plans and following through.  Wow.  I need that!  Excuse me while I take a quick walk.

6.  OK, I’m back.  And now, the easiest one of all:  Smile!  Researchers have discovered that participants who smiled while performing stressful tasks were able to complete them more efficiently and with less stress than those with neutral facial expressions.  In other words, smiling speeds recovery from stress.  Something about the smiling muscles increasing blood flow to the brain.  Who cares what the reason is as long as it works?  And the best part?  You don’t have to wait until you feel overwhelming happiness to reap the benefits.  Even faking a smile works.  And the participants found that when they manufactured a smile, their happy feelings followed!

We are not victims of our moods.  John Maxwell said, “The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take responsibility for our attitudes.  That’s the day we truly grow up.”

Be a Superhero at home and the office by choosing positivity. And remember these words from Herm Albright:  “A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”

How do YOU nix the negativity and get your happy on?  Leave a comment and I’ll send a copy of my new book, Falling UP, to three randomly selected commenters.