Tag Archives: gratitude

Chance Encounters

Last week when I was driving our daughter to dance we saw this license plate:

Chance Encounters-spreading positivity to strangers. (Disclaimer-I did not take this photo while driving, my passenger took it)

Chance Encounters-spreading positivity to strangers. (Disclaimer-I did not take this photo while driving, my passenger took it)

And it prompted us to talk about the fact that vanity plates are often about being vain, yet this person chose to spread positivity to complete strangers wherever they drive.

And then it got me talking about Chance Encounters which I learned about 11 or 12 years ago when I attended a conference hosted by Toastmasters. Each session was with a person embarking upon a career as a motivational speaker.

The session I remember most vividly (actually the only session I remember) was about Chance Encounters.

The speaker (If you know who he is please contact me as I would like to give credit where it is due) spoke of the concept that every choice we make in life affects someone one else. And he called these choices Chance Encounters.

For example, a driver cuts you off in traffic and you respond with a hand signal and some choice words. You then go on about your day. But this driver knew he made a mistake and tried to say sorry to you. He just got fired today and yesterday his wife left him. No one, not even random strangers (you) can’t stand him. What’s the point in living when no one thinks anything of you? When he’s driving over the bridge, he takes a sharp right and drives into the river.

Take the same circumstance, the same driver with the same crappy day. He cuts you off. And he tries to mouth “sorry” to you. You nod your head, acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes. You continue on your way not realizing that you just showed him that strangers can be kind and that life is worth living.

It’s a pretty dramatic example and of course not every situation will lead to such an awful outcome. The point though is that everything we choose to do from hitting our snooze button to letting a driver in to going to bed early has the potential to have an impact on other people. And most often we will never know the implications of that impact.

Every Chance Encounter/choice we make is an opportunity. We can choose to be positive and forgiving or we can choose to be negative and spread misery.

And this driver ahead of us chose to make our day a little brighter 🙂

Best 2 U

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Visions and Processes

Finally, my 11 month old has settled down for a nap that he fought for hours, and I have a few moments to compose my swirling thoughts into written words.

I wasn’t going to do a New Year’s resolution post, but I do have a vision of how I want 2014 to be, and I know that I will commit to it better if I actually put it here for everyone to see.

2014 has to be better than last year. 2013 started off with all the promise of a huge year for us. Our youngest was born at the beginning of February (in a rush too, coming in only 45 minutes!) and we were looking forward to a year of firsts. What we hadn’t expected was our first experience with complete tongue tie, then a deadly infection that hospitalized him for two weeks, then just a couple of weeks later, hospitalized him again. Then a bought of pneumonia in early July, and repeated colds and bronchitis. So strange in our family to be so sick and so horribly traumatizing to see your newborn subjected to medical interventions and a hospital stay, even though I never left him. (I haven’t stayed in a hospital since I was 5, and all three children were born at home.)

Our road trip to the east coast was postponed as we were too afraid to be away from our children’s hospital if he got sick again.

Our eldest, the one with autism, had a major regression that we are still puzzling over. Yes some of it may be due to the baby (even though our specialist says no) and likely some of it is due to the onset of puberty, but wow, it caught us off-guard and we are struggling with teachers and administration that have forgotten all the skills that we worked so hard to teach them five years ago.

We lost some people very dear to us too, within 8 days of each other, and our children got to experience their first funeral. I was hoping that they would have been much older for that particular rite of passage.

I closed a business that I had put my heart and soul into, but was burned out from.

To top it all off, we had the big ice storm, and while our home fared quite well, it caused some big stresses in unexpected places.

So 2013, I’m not sorry to see you go AND that is the end of my complaining about it.

2014, welcome to our lives. We have much work to do together you and I.

First, thanks to this insightful post I’m changing my language. I am removing the word “busy” from my stock answers when people ask me how things are going. I will answer with the truth and not an excuse.

And this post inspired me to refrain from making huge goals this year, but to instead create a process that I work on consistently. I will achieve more, feel successful on a daily basis and surprise myself when all my hopes are met.

This year’s processes include:
-Writing. Daily. Stop depending on my part-time job for time for meaningful writing and instead use that for bonus writing time.
-Attendance. Writing groups, and classes. I’ve already signed up for our local writer’s group monthly breakfast this weekend.
-Activity. Keep walking, keep doing exercises. Investigate and choose another class.
-Eating. Continue to enjoy food, just with more moderation and balance.
-Gratitude. Practise it daily.
-Sell. Articles. As many as I can write. Especially from our road trip this summer.

Looking at that list gives me satisfaction. Those are doable, achievable practises that will give me great pleasure. (and hopefully earn some money too).

Anyone else out there working on processes over crazy goals?

The reason I don’t win anything

This past weekend I was doing what all competitive team parents must do at some point:
The Pub Night.
I know some people really enjoy it, and honestly it wasn’t bad at all–the company was fun!

It was also the first snowfall of the season that day and it kept a lot of people home. (Why do the forecasters always create so much drama over the potential maybe’s of a storm and basically shut the town down for a couple of cm?)

So it was quieter than we had expected and the bids on our silent auction items weren’t quite as vigorous as we’d hoped.

We were joking that with the lack of bids we would all end up going home with something, and I turned to my friend beside me and said that it wouldn’t matter, because I never really win anything.

She said to me that she never did either and that was ok. Because we have everything that we need in our lives, so we don’t need to win anything

Well. Um. Yeah.

So instead of complaining any further about it, I changed my view. I have everything I could possibly want. Three awesome children, an incredible husband, a silly dog, a four bedroom home, a van (yes I’m even grateful for the van!), and wonderful in-laws. Who could honestly ask for anything more?

Thank you to my fantastic friend for pointing out the obvious when I obviously needed it.