Tag Archives: personal

Expiration Dates

A few months ago I noticed one of those little yellow squeeze bottles in the door of my fridge. You know, the ones shaped like lemons and filled with 100% REAL Lemon Juice. Not only could I not remember using it recently, I didn’t even remember buying it!

Upon further inspection, I noticed an expiration date printed on the side. WHOA! Let’s just say I’ve aged a little bit since that lemon juice expired in my refrigerator! YIKES!

lemon juice

I quickly tossed the little squeeze bottle into the trash, shaking my head at myself. I never knew those things even HAD an expiration date. Which got me thinking…well, don’t we all?

Food is an easy one to remember (ok, maybe not for me…), but what about all those other things that expire before we use them? Things like coupons (I don’t know why I save all those fast food ones I get in my mailbox every month! I have NEVER used them before, but maybe one day….maybe??), gift certificates (those make me so mad at myself if I forget to use those!), prescriptions, running shoes (ok let’s be honest…I have never had that problem but I know people who do), and so much more.

What I quickly realized, though, is WE also have an expiration date – people, pets, jobs…But rather than stress out over what our expiration date might be, we should concentrate on what we will do BEFORE that date.

Maybe you’re like me and have a “bucket list” of things you want to see or do one day. But I’m not talking about a bucket list here…I’m talking about personal stuff. Spending time with friends and family…rekindling a strained relationship…losing weight or slowing down or getting healthy.

My bucket list is long and varied. But my list of “things to do before my expiration date” is fairly simple. Love and be loved. Leave this world a little better than I found it.  And quite honestly I have to work on both of those every single day. What about you?

Unfortunately, we aren’t like a bottle of lemon juice – we have no idea what our expiration date may be or what our “shelf life” will be. So don’t you think it’s time to get started on those things that make each day more satisfying?

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Put On YOUR Oxygen Mask First!

I was speaking to a group last week about the importance of volunteering – why you should do it and how to get others to volunteer with you (or for you). While preparing my remarks, I stumbled across a package of cups I bought with a friend many years ago that say “Stop me before I volunteer again!”

We can laugh about that because we know it’s funny (even if it is true), but deep down we all know I won’t stop volunteering – neither will you…it’s not “who we are.”  But just remember this – the only way you can continue to give to others is if you take time to care for yourself first.

headshot who we areRemember when the attendant on your last flight reminded you to put YOUR oxygen mask on first before helping someone traveling with you? If you’re like me you always think that’s just a little bit weird…but there’s a reason for it.  Experts tell us if we begin to lose oxygen on a plane, we may become disoriented or even unable to recognize familiar faces. It is imperative that we care for ourselves first in that situation if we expect to be any help at all to those around us.

Life is a lot like that, isn’t it? We are nurturers by trade. We are the “rock” of our family or the “dependable one” in our office or even the “go to” mom in the school. This means when we fail to care for our personal needs, we aren’t the only ones who suffer.

Don’t neglect yourself and your needs. If you’re gasping for breath or barely hanging on, you’re of no use to anyone at all.  There are so many things, even little things, we can do to help ourselves…going to bed earlier, eating healthier, finding some quiet time, even just being honest with ourselves and those around us. (How many times have you said “I’m fine!” when you are far from it??)

Will you join me this summer to commit to doing more for yourself – wait for it – WITHOUT feeling guilty about it!!?? It’s not going to be easy…trust me… but I’ll try if you will.

Because we both deserve it.

Go ahead-put on YOUR oxygen mask. I’ll wait…

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Patience (part 2)…

Most of you already know patience isn’t really my best virtue. I’ll admit it. I’ve even written about it and some of you may remember it was my “new month resolution” for February. But for the past two months, I’ve definitely been tested in this area.

I’ve been praying very specifically for an answer to a challenge in my life. So specifically, in fact, that I asked (no…I begged…I’ll admit it!) God for a resolution “during the month of February.” (Probably not the best way to work on that quality this past month…)

Well as you know, February has come and gone. Suffice it to say, I didn’t get the answer I hoped for. But w2015-06-26-092214_19318299428_ohat I realized is that it’s not my timetable – it is His – and I have to accept that and never lose faith. But the good news is I was faithful in my prayers and desires. So I think that makes my resolution successful!

I have learned that not getting an answer certainly doesn’t mean God isn’t listening to me. I know I’ve often questioned that – I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that. Nor does it mean my prayers are unanswered or wasted. It means I must have patience, because everything is difficult before it is easy. I’m obviously in that “difficult” phase still.

But I am strong. (I promise I won’t go all “hear me roar” or anything.) I am strong and I am faithful. And maybe, just maybe, the answer came in February, but I don’t even know it yet.

So on to my “new month resolution” for March… any suggestions?

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Be a “Go-Giver” #40DaysOfGiving

My entire life has been spent as a “go-getter” – climbing a professional or social ladder, working to close the next sale or charitable gift, working on the next goal or accomplishment…and I’ve always been praised for it. And most of the time I’ve even been proud of it.

But a dear friend gave me a book recently, “The Go-Giver” and I realized that what I desire to be is actually a “go-giver.” Don’t misunderstand…I’ve done some nice things along the way on this path I call life, but I’ve spent years trying to prove myself in the corporate world and always trying to please others.  I’ve finally realized it’s not about pleasing others. It’s only about pleasing God.

By being a “go-giver” rather than a “go-getter,” I am doing my part to make the world a better placego giver. My involvement with Rotary is certainly the most obvious way I give back. But not everyone is a “joiner” or part of a 1.2 million member worldwide network (and quite honestly, if you’ve heard me speak, you know I don’t believe everyone should be in Rotary…but that’s another story). But there are literally millions of ways to give back.

During this season of Lent, practice being a “go-giver” – do something nice for someone who needs it…a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker – or even a stranger. I am certain you’ll be “pleased” with how great it makes you feel to do for others.

This past week I had the opportunity to take a free vacation with friends and business associates. I worked hard to earn the trip, as did everyone else who went, and it was nice to get away. But I am reminded of how many “go-givers” were on this trip with me…the friend who bought me dinner in the airport for no apparent reason (“because I want to,” she said)…the friends who picked me up before sunrise and let me ride with them to the airport so I didn’t have to go alone…friends who went above and beyond for no reason other than because they could!

I’m blessed to have so many “go-givers” in my life. I know you are too! I’ll admit I haven’t started reading the book yet (I’m almost finished with another and this one is next), but I’m already intrigued and looking forward to it.

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#40DaysOfGiving

*Some of you may remember this post from last year…here is a “repurposed version” for us all this year! Enjoy!

The season of Lent is among us and I’m reminded of all the many things I’ve tried “giving up” over the years. Some have been successful – some not so much. So this year, in talking with some friends & fellow Rotarians, we’ve decided to try something different. Maybe you’ll find it worthwhile and will choose to be a part of it too.

As a Rotarian, I try to live by the motto “Service Above Self.” Whether it’s volunteering with the local special needs sports program or delivering wheelchairs to spina bifida patients in South America, there are ample opportunities to give back as a Rotarian. But “giving back” certainly isn’t unique to Rotarians. I meet people everyday who inspire me through their giving hearts – whether it’s opening a door for an elderly person or allowing someone with less items to “cut in line” at the grocery store.

Many people look at Lent as their chance to “give up” something important to them for 40 days. This year, I’m choosing to “give back” for 40 consecutive days. I call it “intentional giving.” Let’s be clear – I won’t be writing any big checks to the non-profits I support (I wish I could). I’m talking more about small opportunities – even those that go unnoticed – to “serve humanity” over the next 40 days.

Each yearshr, the Rotary International President selects a “theme” to represent his year of service. John Germ, the RI President for 2016-17, chose “Rotary Serving Humanity” and on that note, I’m inviting all my Rotarian friends (and those of you who aren’t “yet” Rotarians) to join me in this small effort to “give back” rather than “give up.”

Over the next 40 days, look for ways you can “give back,” and if you so choose, share them on your social media using #40DaysOfGiving. But for the record, sharing on social media & using this hashtag isn’t about recognition or publicity – it’s about sharing ideas of ways to give back and maybe encouraging others to do the same.  And maybe even filling up social media news feeds with positive news stories for a change!

Maybe it’s a short hand-written thank you note or paying for the meals in the car behind you in the drive-thru. Maybe it’s bringing candy bars to your co-workers or donating unused winter clothes to the homeless shelter. The possibilities are endless for your “intentional giving.”

So when Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, I invite you to join my friends and I in our #40DaysOfGiving effort. You may not believe one person can make a difference in the world, but to one person, you may be the world. So be a gift these next 40 days of Lent. I’m certain you’ll be just as blessed as those who receive your gifts.

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