Monthly Archives: January 2012

Appreciating Every Minute…

In the last two weeks, both Jenny’s husband and my husband have lost their last grandparent.  Needless to say, we both have had some serious gut checks about appreciating those in our lives.

Throughout my life there have been a few very good family & friends that have left us unexpectedly and it has always made me very aware that we never know when our number… or the number of those closest to us, is going to be called.

It sounds so cheesy when you hear people say that you should “appreciate every minute”, but damn it, it is so true.  You never know when the one you love so dearly is no longer going to be there.

Hubby and I were chatting about how it isn’t necessarily the loss of the person… it is the void left where they used to reside in your life.  That person is no longer there to share with, to laugh with, to call… that place is now empty.  That emptiness is the hardest (in my opinion).

So, the basic point of all this is, as cheesy as it sounds – appreciate every minute with your loved ones.  You never know how long you have with them.  It could be one more day, it could be 50 more years, but do you want to take that gamble that you rushed off the phone with your (insert loved one here) and that was the last conversation you had with them?

Life is too short to get wrapped up in the small stuff, so make sure to open up your heart, love, laugh and enjoy those dearest to you.

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The Power of a Written Thank You

The bulletin board in question... a.k.a. The "Make Audra Smile" Board

I have always been a big fan of sending written thank you notes to people.  But I’ll be real honest, there are many times that I have the best of intentions and never get around to it… but hey, as many would say, “It is the thought that counts, right?”

That being said, when I do send them, I imagine the recipient receiving this envelope, opening it, reading it and it just making their day and them keeping it forever and ever and ever (ok, not really forever…).  When in reality, they probably read it and throw it away… but as I’ve mentioned I am a total dreamer

and imagine this amazing head-over-heels response.  I suppose I should say that the reaction described above is usually my response… my bulletin board full of thank you notes is proof.

This blog post was triggered by an email thank you I received the other day.  It was short and sweet but it was first thing I read that morning and it started my day off on an amazing note. It meant someone took the time to acknowledge and thank me – someone took time FOR ME.

And yes, I keep all my email thank you notes as well.  Crazy, but true.  We all have those days – days where you feel like the scum on the bottom of someone’s shoe and you just need something or someone to remind you that you aren’t that piece of scum that you feel like – hence why I keep these kind comments readily available.

A written thank you has the power to turn someone’s day around, to remind them what they are capable of, to help them when they are doubting themselves, to let them know that they are truly appreciated… hell, just to make them smile.  And that is reason enough for me.

Sometimes it can be hard to think of something to write – but don’t over think it. Even something as simple & direct as “I just wanted to let you know that I appreciated (insert kind gesture here)” can go a long way.

Never underestimate the power of a thank you – especially a written one.

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Are your memories safe?

Old photo of kids on Harley

Just one of MANY memories... me and my bros growing up.

A sure way to walk down memory lane is to sit down and page through old photo albums. I had the privilege to do just that with my grandmother last weekend. Not only did I see pictures from my youth, but from my mother’s and even from my grandmother’s childhoods. It was awesome to have such a great record of all those precious moments, to receive such a wonderful history lesson about our family, and to share that quality time with her. But it got me thinking… are my photos – which are mostly digital these days – in safe keeping?

My answer to that was unfortunately no, not really. The more I thought about it the more anxious I got. Maybe its the fact that my old laptop seems to be on the fritz (where most of those memories are stored)… or the fact that I’ve had my nose buried in my latest read, World War Z. (a fictional book recounting a zombie apocalypse). Regardless, I was finally motivated to sort through, organize, and backup thousands of those photos this past weekend. I clicked through everything from vacations, my wedding, the building of our very own home… to the day we brought our dear pooch Maple Bacon home as a puppy. All great stories and photos I look forward to sharing with loved ones for many, many more years to come.

So now I can rest assured – whether it be a computer crash, fire, flood, or zombie attack, my 15GBs of digital snapshots from the last 8 years are secure in a fireproof safe AND easily transportable on 4 DVD discs. However, this is just the beginning of my organizational and back-up frenzy… what about all those printed photos recording my youth? I see lots of photo scanning in my future.

Scanning all those printed photos may not be as urgent of a matter to tackle, but properly backing-up my digital photos now has definitely put my mind at ease. What about you… are your memories safe?

While I know plenty about Photoshop, computers, etc., I’m definitely no expert. CD/DVD storage is only one avenue of many for backing up and storing those photo memories. With the rise of photo sites, like Shutterfly.com, etc. and cloud computing many of you probably already have a good number of your photos stored online. Your options for protecting your precious memories are endless. There are a plethora of online resources to choose from. Savemymemories.org gets it and is a great reference for anyone looking to get started. While you are at it, it also couldn’t hurt to backup your entire computer. External hard drives are a great tool for that.

All and all, the important lesson here is that you take action to ensure your memories – be it photos or documents – are safe for sharing with generations to come.

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Workout Motivation … Anything Goes!

I get up and workout at 5a every morning during the week and workout either one or both weekend days…so basically I keep a standing date with my treadmill six to seven days a week.  It is a date I never get sick of.  Some may think I am crazy but there is something about getting up and sweating every day that just seems to cleanse the mind.

That all being said, let’s get down to the three real truths… I work out so I can eat whatever I want, easily slide into my favorite clothes and watch all my junk reality television.  It is a win – win for all parties involved: I sweat, I keep myself healthy, I feel great, my clothes fit and I can help the networks get ratings for their reality tv shows.

My point to this is that we all need motivation to get our tushes moving.  I have many motivations that I tap into:
– Reminding myself how great I feel after I work out and have had a good sweat (gross, but true)
– Reminding myself how I ate a whole Culver’s fish fry with french fries, cheese curds plus tapped into my extra gluttonous side and made some room for custard the day before…
– Reminding myself that there was a new episode of The Biggest Loser, Teen Mom, Project Runway, Survivor, (insert reality show here) on the night before and waiting for me on my DVR.

It doesn’t matter what gets you moving, the point is that you moved and did something good for yourself.  I know it is hard for people with many obligations and packed schedules to make the time to work out… but in the end you aren’t only making yourself healthier physically, you are making yourself healthier mentally and that benefits everyone around you.

What gets you moving and excited to work out?  How do you make it fit into your schedule?

Which Dwarf Are You Going To Be Today?

I'll be Happy... with a side of Sleepy.

First off, since we are still getting to know one another… I think I should tell you that I am a bit of a Disney fanatic (which I am sure there will be another blog post about in the future).  I tell you this because you will likely see additional references in my future posts to Disney, so consider yourself warned!

Now onto why we are all here…

On New Year’s Eve I was having breakfast with my mom and step dad.  As I was waiting for them to arrive, I overheard an interaction in the booth next to us.  The basic jist of it was this…

In the booth there was a gentleman and a woman, the waitress was serving them their orders.  She came out with sausage links.  The gentleman said he ordered sausage patties.  The waitress said, “We don’t have sausage patties.”  He replied (in a very harsh tone), “You SAID sausage patties [referring to when she listed off the side meat options].”  And he continued to lay into this waitress over sausage patties vs sausage links.  (Note: We had this same waitress and she was by no means a bad or incompetent waitress.)

It is New Year’s Eve on a beautiful Saturday morning, you woke up, you are breathing and you are laying into this young waitress over sausage patties vs sausage links?  Really?!  Granted, I don’t know what is going on in this man’s life – he could have just received a bad diagnosis about his health, could have received bad news about a family member – but this waitress doesn’t know what is going on in his life either.  She just knows that she is being laid into about what form of sausage she is serving.

I was sitting there watching this interaction and I felt truly bad for this man.  I couldn’t imagine being that grumpy and getting all wrapped about something as minor as sausage.

We all have days that aren’t the best, but we also need to remember that total strangers don’t know what is going on in our lives, our heads or our hearts.  They just think you are cranky, mean or socially inept.

So, when you wake up, ask yourself, “which dwarf are you going to be today?”  You can be Happy (my first choice), Bashful, Sleepy, Dopey, Grumpy… Just remember that whichever one you choose, no one knows but you.  Strangers, customers, wait staff or whomever you come across in your daily life don’t know you or your back story.  They only know how you treat them.

It goes back to the golden rule we all learn in kindergarten, “Treat people how you want to be treated.”  And if they treat you like a big pile of dog poo then use my other go-to rule, “Kill them with kindness.”

I remember I received a forwarded email once and I can’t remember the exact quote, but it was something along the lines of “life is 10% what happens to us and 90% our reaction to it.”

All in all this whole situation was a reminder to me:
• Don’t get wrapped up in the small stuff (i.e. freaking sausage links)
• Remember that people only know what they see and interact with (i.e. even if your world is imploding, don’t be a jerk)