Normal has been a status that I have craved as of late. Nothing has been ordinary about the world and our surroundings this year and it is taking a toll on all of us. It may manifest itself in different ways because of the variety of persons it affects. Normal is comfortable, serene, cozy. Less thinking is needed when we dwell in the sweet spot of our habitual lives.
The seed of growth planted deep within us will begin to sprout when the heat of the extraordinary beams into our souls. Sometimes that heat burns and makes us uncomfortable. It is only when our comfort zone is dismantled and invaded that we will learn new things, question what we thought was right, find common ground with those who are different than us, and realize that when it all shakes down, people are all that matter. The people that we love, work with, go to church with, socialize with, and the people that flow in and out of our lives are most important. Things and circumstances do no take precedence over those who live and breathe in the same space that we do.
What if this new world we live in is as good as it gets? What if this is our new normal? What if the logistics of our pre-pandemic lives never return? What if we have to tread water a little longer before we begin to feel comfortable again? Maybe the answers to these questions lie in this new season of autumn. The leaves turn beautiful colors according to their species. The wind blows and the petioles lose their ability to cling to the branch. They glide gracefully to the ground where they form a colorful carpet for children to jump and play and a reminder to adults that it is a beautiful thing to let go of things.
Expectations, opinions of others, painful memories, political biases, hatred, jealousy and hurt can be released from the branches of our souls and one by one, as they glide to the ground, our souls feel a little lighter. Extra clutter in the home, in our minds and in the world of normal are releasing to give room for a new world, new ideas, and growth that will , in time, become comfortable.
As we wait in the wings for our new normal to mitigate into the fabric of our lives, may we meditate on what parts of our previous lives deserve to sprout new growth and which ones should be left laying on the ground, never to invade our headspace again. If this is as good as it gets, we will pivot and regain our footing. What seems like sinking sand right now will become sediment to form new bedrock in our lives. May we lock arms and trudge forward into the unknown of this life keeping our feet firmly rooted in solid ground. May we know that time will smooth the abrasive nature of our concerns and promote the birth of our new normal.
Money-Saving Travel Tips for a Much-Needed Break From the Office
Everyone needs a good vacation -- even entrepreneurs. Taking an extended trip provides an opportunity to step away from your daily obligations so that you can relax and de-stress, regain perspective, and reconnect with family members, among many other benefits. However, many people opt out of taking a vacation because they believe that they are too busy or they simply can’t afford it. In fact, in a survey conducted by Bankrate in 2018, 48 percent of respondents said that they weren’t going on a summer vacation, and 60 percent of those respondents named finances as the main reason.
Here’s the thing: You can be on a strict budget and still enjoy a fun-filled vacation. From traveling in the off-season to strategizing your dining, here are some great ways to save money while making plans:
Save time and stress.
For entrepreneurs, one of the hardest parts of getting away from it all is simply making the time to do it. When you’re the top dog, it’s all too easy to spend every waking moment tending to your venture -- developing strategies, marketing ideas, even just putting out fires. But these days, there is no excuse for not leaning on tools and services that make your work life easier, so you can make more of your time off.
Take ZenBusiness for example. They offer a wide range of services to small businesses, and can assist you with mundane tasks like gathering your tax information and filing annual reports. Plus, they offer worry free compliance with a 100 percent accuracy guarantee. Look for tools and services like this that ensure your daily affairs are completed in a timely and proper manner, so you have more time and less stress.
Save on car rental.
No matter where you decide to go on your vacation, chances are you will need to be able to get around once you’re at your destination. When you use a company like Enterprise, you can have a rental car delivered to you at the airport or anywhere else you prefer. And there are several ways to save money on a rental car, such as joining a loyalty program, finding coupons and cashback offers, and using certain credit cards.
Be flexible with your flights.
When booking your travel, flexibility can help you save a ton of money, especially when it comes to airfare. SmarterTravel notes some sites even have booking features that show you the best prices within a certain window of dates. Be flexible with the weeks you consider.
Build airline miles.
Another way to save on airfare is to use a credit card that earns you miles. This makes sense if you use credit cards to make purchases anyway. Just think: You could be earning free airline miles each time you buy groceries, pay bills, or make all kinds of other purchases. An added perk of certain rewards credit cards is you don’t have to pay to check in your first bag at the airport.
Consider a vacation rental.
Hotels are nice, but they’re also expensive. Vacation rentals are nice, and they’re typically less expensive. Not only can you find vacation rentals with better amenities than a hotel for a lower nightly rate, but you will likely have more space and enjoy optimal privacy as well. And if you’re traveling by yourself or with a small group, rent a single room through a home-sharing platform.
Take advantage of off-season and shoulder season.
Visiting a destination during the off-season is not only a lot cheaper, but it can actually be more refreshing than visiting during peak season. You don’t have to worry about large crowds at restaurants and other attractions, there’s less traffic, and it can be easier to find a place to stay. If you’re looking for a compromise between the two, book a trip during the shoulder season. That way, you can experience better weather and still save some money.
Don’t let finances keep you from planning a relaxing vacation. Plan your getaway in a manner that allows you to stretch your time and your dollars. You might be surprised by how much fun you can have without going broke, and you’ll be ready to return to the office refreshed!
For motivational speaking, coaching, tips or training, connect with Jennifer Anglin.
Image via Pexels
I stopped by Walgreens yesterday and the cashier was so kind to everyone in line. She had a compliment for everyone. I loved that about her because she could find something positive to say about each guest that crossed her path. The woman in front of me received a compliment on her nails.
Cashier: Your nails are so pretty!
Guest: Oh they need to be done again. See these chips on this one? But thank you.
Why do we feel the need to explain away a nice compliment? Why didn’t she just say thank you? The guest is probably the only one who knew there was a chip on that one nail, and although it clearly bothered her, she basically watered down what the cashier has graciously said to her. So often we can’t take a compliment. We are so used to tearing ourselves apart in the mirror that we lose the ability to take a compliment. Children can take a compliment. If you say their shoes are cute they will say thank you and proceed to show you how fast they can run in them. Somewhere along the way we lose that acceptance of ourselves and others. If you have trouble taking a compliment, start flipping that script you tell yourself in the mirror. Pick out something you like about yourself each day and speak life into yourself in the mirror. It starts there. Then, while out and about, say a simple thank you to anyone who gives you a compliment. Stop there. Thank you period. Leave off the explanation of what’s wrong with the shirt or how old it is. You take the joy away from the compliment. Just say Thank You and go forth and be fabulous knowing that someone liked the shirt you have had for 15 years that needs to be replaced. Just be glad it still looks amazing enough for a compliment.
Best Days are Made,
As I sit and stare into the majesty of the water, the waves, the sand and the sea, I remember those who gave all to afford me the opportunity to sit in the most peaceful place for my mind. What an expensive time on the beach. It was bought by thousands of young men who had a beach trip in June of 1945 that they never returned from. It was
bought by thousands of men who climbed Hacksaw Ridge. Bought by thousands who lay in cemeteries nationwide.
The older I get, the more reflective I become. Teenagers sign up to serve our country. Do they REALLY know what they are signing up for? Do they understand that they are agreeing to offer up their own life in sacrifice to protect our land?
Today is a day to honor and remember those who died protecting Old Glory and all She stands for. Freedom, foundation, and fundamental rights were bought with the blood of brave men and women who may or may not have understood what they signed up for.
Today I pause and give my thoughts to those who gave all. May today not be about a hamburger and a red white and blue shirt. May it be about reflection upon who afforded us the freedom to eat our hamburger without fear of the enemy. The eagle will fly. Old Glory will wave, and we bow our heads in reverence to the “all” that many gave for our land.
I would never profess to be the perfect parent or even close to it. So before I even get into parenting tips I wanted to get that out of the way. I had a request to blog about how to get your children to talk to you and ultimately be close to you so they can share things that you need and want to know. I can only speak to what works for me. I can validate what works for me by stating that my teenage son hugs and kisses me every morning when we get out of the car in front of the high school car rider line for all to see. My oldest daughter tells me everything without fear of judgement. My youngest daughter will wave and acknowledge me in front of all the kids on the bus. My kids are not ashamed of me. For that, I am grateful and for me and my family, we are doing something right. But again, I never profess to know all the answers or be a model parent. I am not.
One of the main ways that I keep my kids close to me and not afraid to open up and tell me things is I never judge them. They are not me. They will not handle things the way that I do or the way that I might think is best. I respect them as individuals with different ideas than I have. There is more than one way to skin a cat. And more than one way to handle a problem. If my child comes to me with a problem, I listen intently to the problem, give my advice, but always say, "But you do what you want to do." Now I am speaking of teens here. Not younger children. Younger children have to have that guidance of mom telling them what to do. Sitting in the judgement seat of every decision that your teens make is only going to drive them away. If you want them to talk to you you have to listen and give advice without judging or trying to press your own opinions upon them. I know many times I have had a discussion with my teens then known that they will learn a lesson from the college of hard knocks. Many times, lessons are more valuable from the College of Hard Knocks that from mom and dad. Sometimes it is hard to watch your children fall flat on their face but they won't do it again. College of Hard Knocks has a good retention rate. Sometimes better than a flat out "no" from mom.
I vividly remember when my oldest was 13, we were out shopping and she wanted a pair of shoes to match an outfit. I told her, "All you need is a pair of brown shoes, a pair of black shoes, a pair of athletic shoes and a pair of sandals. Those shoes will match everything." Her reply was one that helped me be the parent I am today. She said, "Mom, I am not you. I am a girly girl and I want shoes and jewelry to match my outfits." Point well taken, Baby Girl. You are definitely not me and I will not try to make you into me or force my opinions upon you. I have formed my parenting around this statement ever since. I have learned to appreciate my children for being individuals and have been proud of them for every little thing they do. I am living my life the way I want to and they are living their lives the way they want to. In our house, we embrace different personalities and different thinking. Of course we always have God as our common denominator, but in the little things, we embrace differences. To this day, when I go shopping with my oldest, I have to look at jewelry and shoes to match an outfit and I do it with pride even if I don't find it necessary for myself. Respect. Respect of my child. She is not me. I wouldn't want her to be.
I don't micromanage my children. If their rooms are a disaster, yes it drives me nuts. I handle this easily. I shut the door. Then I don't have to look at it. I do go in with a bulldozer and a trash bag occasionally while they are at school but all in all, I don't sweat this. I realize that when they have their own place they will keep it clean. My children have chores, and they clean. And they do clean their rooms, but in 15 minutes it looks like a tornado hit it, so I shut the door. It keeps me happy and sane. Respect. Realize they won't go to their grave living in squalor. I teach them to clean, show them how to do it, help them, then let it go.
I asked my children what goes on in our house that causes them to feel free to talk to me and give me information and include me in their business. My oldest daughter said, " You are not judgmental, you always listen to me and you give me your opinion on my problem but you don't panic or judge me, you just give me advice and let me make my own decision, good or bad. You are not all up in my business so it makes me feel respected and able to talk to you. When I make mistakes, you are not all Bertha Better than Thou saying YOU ARE WRONG. You get on my level and understand where I am coming from." My son, also a teenager and my youngest 10 year old agrees. My son says, "Mom lets us go places and have faith that we will make good decisions and when we don't, we learn from them and go tell mom about them. She doesn't judge us. She teaches us right from wrong and trusts us that we will do right. She understands us and puts herself in our shoes. She knows us." My youngest says I am approachable.
The interesting thing to me about my interviews with my children are that I do random phone checks. I check their email, I look at their facebook, instagram, twitter, I check their text messages, I know who their friends are, I stalk them. So for them to say I am not all up in their business is interesting to me.
Being authentic applies to being real with your children as well as in your life. Being real and transparent with your children will cause you to be an oasis rather than a sea of dread for the whippersnappers. I have never been my children's friend, always their parent, but as their parent, telling them, "I remember when I was in this same situation so I know exactly what you are going through." will help them cope and approach you with problems because they feel you know how their shoes fit and feel.
As my oldest goes to college on Thursday I look back at the last 18 years and how the seasons of childhood affect us all. I have enjoyed these past couple of weeks with just me and her because it has helped me realize how wonderful a young lady she is, how blessed I am to be her mother, and how she has now become my friend. She is now my friend because I allow her to make her own decisions and am proud of her in how she is different from me. She will not do the same things I did, wear the same things I do, say the things I did, live her life the way I did. We are individuals. God made us that way and I am excited to watch my baby fly with the wings we have crafted for the past 18 years.
Thank you for reading my blog. Please subscribe in the column to the right so you will receive updates when I have a new blog post. I hope you have a wonderful evening!
It is the end of the school year and almost time for my personal favorite season, Summer. Before we can get into relaxing days at the pool and time to sleep in with little to no schedule, we must experience plays, programs, graduations and other events that our children and grandchildren will be involved in.
Our youngest child will be graduating from high school in a few short weeks. We are excited to get to assemble for this event especially as we start to emerge from over a year of chaos with the virus. As our three have grown up, I have often joked about how Mother of the Year is a mythical goal that hangs in the balance. One day you find the toy your child wants for Christmas when there were seemingly none anywhere and you are Mother of the Year. That same day, you get so mad at your child and say something you regret and you are out of the running for Mother of the Year. You were JUST crowned this morning for locating the toy and now you are stripped of your crown. Motherhood is just like that. Ups and downs, crowns to none in a single hour sometimes. I believe that every mother feels like they are getting it all wrong and question if they are doing enough on a daily basis. It is a lot of responsibility to grow a human. Moms, I have a little secret to share with you today.
There are no perfect moms out there. We are all just varying degrees of imperfect. BUT- you are perfect for your kids. Moms are so special. Remarkable. Extraordinary. The picture I posted with this blog was taken by the photographer for Austin Peay State University. It is of my oldest daughter and I think it is a stunning photo. What you don’t know about that photo is that she was looking for me in a sea of people and she spotted me. Her eyes fixated on me and the photographer snapped this not knowing what she was looking at. It became a photo used in advertising for the university because of its magnificence. You see, my daughter wasn’t scanning the crowd looking for the perfect mother, she was looking for HER mother who is perfect for her.
As we wade through this season of events, may we remember as we sit in the stands and hope we did enough, that we are not perfect moms but we are perfect for our children. In their eyes, we are made perfect.
Best Days are Made,
Tulips are so beautiful and a sign of brighter days ahead after the doldrums of winter. I tried to plant tulips once and grew weary of planting the bulbs. I like to consider myself a hospice nurse for growing vegetation because if they can’t live on their own, they will be provided a nice place to transition to their death at my home and on my watch.
One reason I did not like planting tulips is the fact that only one tulip grows from one bulb. How exhausting is that when you must buy a tulip bulb planter apparatus, dig it down the right depth, blah blah blah. As a hospice nurse for plants, I find this to be way too much effort for a plant to die. I can leave the bulbs in the bag on a table and they will die there without all that effort.
I am so glad that God made the effort to plant me where I belong. He did not shy away from the work involved in the exact placement of me where I would bloom best. Even though he knew that only one me would grow in His placement, He still planted me there knowing I would be beautiful there. He also planted others around me so that together, we could bloom and produce an impactful display that we couldn’t do if we bloomed alone.
As time passes, tulips will sometimes multiply and make side bulbs that will bloom another tulip. We can do that same thing as we grow and mature in knowledge, wisdom and love of God and man. We can multiply and make an even better display than we could do alone.
I get frustrated planting bulbs because they are expensive and sometimes a bag of bulbs will include three to five rhizomes. We, like tulips are expensive. We were bought with the blood of Jesus. We were worthless until He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth.
I think we all struggle with feeling important and full of purpose from time to time. In this spring, the time of renewal, may we reestablish our sense of value in this world and know that we are expensive-the Louis Vuitton of humans. The tulips in the spring are we. May we remember that if we bloom where we are planted, we will multiply and create a bigger impact. One person makes a difference. YOU make a difference. Even on your worst day, you are enough.
Best Days are Made
I’d love to come speak at your event!
The search for happiness most likely is discovered in our early youth. It can be found on the playground during a perfectly timed recess on a test day in elementary school. It can be sighted at the middle school dance when boy meets girl. As we become young adults, happiness can be found when you receive your first paycheck from your first job and you go out with friends to celebrate. Happiness is wonderful. It is a zealous emotion that is dependent upon outside sources for it to be present. To be happy, we must wait for an external catalyst to evoke that emotion.
As we grow older and more wise (hopefully), we find ourselves less able to do the things we used to and surely not as fast as we used to complete them. We do less working and increase our enjoyment of life and our surroundings. We become settled. One fine day, we sit in our recliners wondering how we became our parents and where the time has gone. As the winds of change blow in our lives, we find a joy in our heart. A glimmer of contentment begins to flicker into a fire. It is truly a good place to be and one that, in our youth, the recipe contentment alludes us as we pursue our slice of the American dream.
Joy is a feeling that does not depend upon circumstances. We can be full of joy when things are not going our way. Joy can be seen in a child who spins her dress in the bright sunshine. It can be found in a toddler who found mommy’s shoes to wear with a feather scarf. Joy can be seen again in a middle aged empty nester watching her adult son throw a ball with his dog. It can be experienced while watching your daughter become a mother. It can also be witnessed as a husband cares for his ailing wife of 54 years. Even when life throws us curveballs, we still can be joyful.
Joy seems to disappear in the larger scope of things during our teen and early adult years. We seem to lose sight of an inner peace as we chase our dreams, create our family, join the proverbial rat race and build a life for ourselves outside of our family of origin. Then, in the fall and winter of our lives, we learn what true contentment is, joy, that was revealed simply by living life. It isn’t something that can be taught as much as something that is discovered internally, realized if you will. We see it in toddlerhood and early childhood as our emotions are not clouded by the cruelty of the world. Then we uncover it again in our hearts as we age.
Happiness is circumstantial. Joy is not contingent. May we embrace our aging bodies because it is through the creation of every wrinkle that we found joy.
Give my blog a share!
Confession: I have been asleep since Wednesday. I woke up for a hot minute to update my cousins and check on my mom but for 48 hours I have been asleep. It’s been a rough 2021 for me. It started out fighting for my life against Covid-19 and now I am looking at the mortality of my mother, the woman who is my everything, my cheerleader, the woman who taught me to live. I believe I have slept for 48 hours because of worry. I am not a worrier. I choose faith over fear and eternally optimistic that things will be fine. But-this year I have worried more than I have in the rest of my life combined. I’m not proud of it because I should trust God more. I am admitting weakness. My weakness-living without my parents. They are such an ever present part of my life, the joy in my heart, the life within me, the memories I smile at, the ones responsible for anything I am today.
My momma is in afib. They would shock her heart and she would be remarkably better immediately. It wasn’t so. And my worry negan. Is this our new normal? Am I going to lose my mother and be faced with how to live without her? I’m not ready. Will I ever be? Probably not. But I surely am not today. We have shopping to do, cheesecake to eat, and discussions to have. She has to see the children get married and have children. She needs to see what Ben makes of himself. She needs to see what the girls make of themselves. I beg she be restored to health so we have years to go.
ive been worrying. Momma had a second shock this week and was having issues again. Worry. Sleep. Worry some more. Worrying is a lack of trust in God. Lack of trust that God will do what is best. It’s a shame. I’m being selfish. Maybe what is best is not in line with my wants. Maybe it is. Today, symptoms are subsiding and hope is at the forefront again. I am so grateful. Through this, I have learned a lesson or two. I’ve learned that admitting guilt and repenting is very freeing.
What are you worrying about? What do you need to trust God about? He loves us so much that our picture is on his refrigerator. Is that someone that He would do harm to? Would you harm your children? God won’t either. So join me in trusting God. And let’s skip the worry.
Best Days Are Made
When my husband and I got married 30 years ago, we married for life, better or worse. In our own youthful way we knew what forever meant, but we never know what the future will hold. Will our spouse get a debilitating disease? Will their health be such that we will be taking care of them in our elder years rather than enjoying our time for retirement? All these variables are unknown and for good reason. I think I would be overwhelmed if I could know the future and what it holds for my husband and me. Will I be a caregiver for my husband or him for me?
Having worked in senior care, I have seen some phenomenal caregivers. They are the unsung heroes of aging. Many have no choice but to become a assistant for their loved one. They take care of finances, incidental items, senior care placement, dressing, food prep and serve, general hygiene and emotional as well as spiritual care. That is not even mentioning transportation to doctor’s appointments and prescriptions. It is exhausting work for the one who is responsible for the wellbeing of their aging loved one. Many end up spending their entire retirement savings and time in elder safe keeping.
Common signs of stress in caregivers are loss of interest in things they would normally enjoy, decline in their own health, fatigue, isolation and worry. To combat this stress, accept help. People want to help but many times pride gets in our way and disallows us from letting others assist. Depression and anxiety can also be a result of caregiving, but most common is isolation. Going to caregiver support groups is a helpful tool to remind you that you are not alone. That form of encouragement is priceless when you are in the trenches.
My hat is off to the caregivers in the world. They spend their days in service to others. They sacrifice some of the best years of their life working in ways they never labored in the mainstream career market. Many times they are thrown into the service role suddenly and thanklessly with little assistance from siblings, children or other family members. They certainly have no training. Much like our children who are born with no manual, caregivers also are not given a manual. Yet, they are out in the world doing the best they can every single day to care for their loved one. Caregivers, we see you, we hear you, we salute you. Your sacrifices are seen and appreciated. You may not have known in your youth that this would be the charge handed to you, but you are out there doing it every day. You are appreciated.
Get a copy of my book HERE
Go forth and be fabulous, Friends!
Jennifer Anglin is a motivational speaker, life coach and author who shares personal stories of triumphs and tragedies to give hope to a dying world.