The Comparison Trap

What can make a regular Midwestern January school day even more unappealing to an average grade school student? The knowledge that all around the area, many school districts have closed due to wind chills hovering precariously close to 30 below zero, while ours remained open. Parents were asked to decide whether or not it was…

Kindness Matters

The following is one of my favorite quotes from the Dalai Lama: “Be kind whenever possible – it is always possible.” When asked to name the most essential virtues in other people, we might list honesty, integrity, courage, acceptance, or a commitment to working hard. We need people to exhibit these characteristics and many others…

Making Peace with “Busy”

Recently, I noticed my tendency to use a particular four-letter word quite often, and I’m starting to wonder whether this word might be worth a reevaluation. What is this word, you ask? Naturally, it’s “busy”. I hear myself frequently answer the question “How are you?” with that word attached almost as a punctuation mark at…

The Limits of Our Control

I recently caught part of a TV special on the way our brains work. This particular special focused on the reasons people tend to be superstitious. According to experts, our brains are programmed to “fill in the blanks” when we are missing pieces of information. In the TV special, people were shown blurry images and…

A Matter of Perspective

Perspective, or a way of regarding situations, facts, etc. – and judging their relative importance – can allow us to keep our calm in stressful situations and appreciate positives hidden in everyday life. For instance, I recently watched my friend run into her kitchen after one of her kids screeched, “Oh no!” following some sort…

Unplugged

We live in a world filled with electronic devices. Many days start with checking for new text messages or e-mails when we wake up in the morning and end with scrolling through Facebook or Twitter news feeds before we fall asleep at night. I have been known to walk the dog on a crisp and…

A Sign of Hope, a Cry for Help

Most of us have driven by people who appear to be homeless or hungry. Often, they are holding up crudely fashioned signs made out of cardboard and reading, “Will work for food.” In this particularly harsh Midwestern winter, I recently came across a man holding his sign in a busy shopping area on one of…

Doing the Best You Can

The other day, I saw words of wisdom on the road sign outside of a building, “Do the best you can with what you have where you are.” We transmit many messages in the course of a day, and I could not help but marvel at the powerful simplicity of this particular thought. I find…

Letting Go

Picking a college. It is amazing how many decisions, emotions and life transitions are contained in that short phrase. Recently I’ve been telling anyone who will listen that our 17-year-old daughter just started preschool yesterday! We have pictures of her in cheerleading outfits from our alma mater, taken when she actually was in preschool, thinking…