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Saturday, March 29, 2014


Worry Free Getaway

Have you ever dreamed of traveling free of all the usual concerns? Reservations, traffic, when and where to eat, parking, handling luggage and all the planning would be handled by an expert. The daydream became a reality for Everett and me when we signed up for our first tour by Sports Leisure Vacations last weekend. Our three day getaway took us across the new San Francisco Bay Bridge down the coast through Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz to the beautiful Clement Monterey Intercontinental Hotel on Cannery Row on the Monterey Bay.

Bright yellow wildflowers decorated vast hillsides painted green by nature and spotlighted by brilliant sunshine. We drove through the amazing multimillion dollar tunnel just north of Half Moon Bay, the city internationally famous for surfing. The treacherous old Highway 1 has been turned into a bike and hiking trail. Hopefully, it won't get washed away like the old highway did.

On Monday Gail Gallacher, a long time Monterey Peninsula tour director, entertained us with Steinbeck stories as we drove on the 17 mile drive past Pebble Beach and multimillion dollar homes, We had a gourmet lunch at Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley and spent the afternoon at the world famous Monterey Aquarium. We walked the half block back to our hotel after watching Aquarium staff feed the penquins. That night we had a halibut dinner at Fish Hoppers on the Bay.

Tuesday we spent the morning at a Wild Things farm that is becoming a zoo. They give a home to rescued animals who cannot return to the wild. Scott Angeletti, tour planner and director, made this fantasy trip more perfect than any daydream I could create. I didn't see anyone unhappy or sorry they had come. We can hardly wait to join him on another getaway.

(look for pictures soon)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Is Your Partner Always Late?

Acceptance Without Judgment

If your gal/guy is never ready on time or often arrives late and you live by the clock, patience becomes an illusive virtue. If you add children, nearly every time your family finally gets in the car, someone is yelling and others are crying.

The prompt person sincerely believes being late is inconsiderate and inexcusable. He/she may feel trapped and unable to follow his principles. The person who is always late has never accepted the notion that to succeed in life we must be governed by the clock. Spontaneity produces fun, excitement and the joy of living. What happens to acceptance without judgment? Differences between mates can become a challenge in the therapeutic process of becoming soul mates.

Differences in managing money, rates near the top for causing problems in marriages. Differences in how partners manage time may be just as troublesome. Clinging to the belief that your way is the right way will only increase the frustration and block your progress to maturity and connection. Avoid judgment. Focus on the problem. How can you live with these differences and still enjoy each other?

Everett and I both tend to be punctual. When our children were born, everything changed. Everett has many virtues, but patience isn't one of them. By the time we were in the car on our way to church on Sunday morning, the children and I were crying and Everett was frustrated and angry that we were late.

This problem needed fixing. At a time when we felt mellow we talked. We listed our needs and came up with ideas to try. The biggest thing we learned, focus on the behavior not on the person. Calm ourselves before addressing each other or the children. Resist the need to yell or use the words, "you always" or "you never." Everett worked on patience. He sat down with the newspaper instead of pacing and yelling. Believe it or not, we managed to be a little more prompt and we didn't have to wipe our tears when we arrived.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Primary Communication Skill

Own Your Feelings

I grew up with the message "you shouldn't feel that way." Don't be angry, sad, disappointed, moody, unhappy. Be nice or God and people won't like you. Smile, smile, smile. My father who was a kind loving man would never admit being angry. He raised his voice in what he called "righteous indignation" over politics, bad driving, and people being treated unfairly,

To avoid "not talking back" I would try to leave the room. My Dad would say, "Get that look off your face. Don't leave this room. I want to see a smile." Have you ever tried to smile when you were very angry? It feels like you will explode.

It has taken years for me to learn to identify, accept, and own my feelings, the first step to managing those feelings. Ask yourself what is going on for me? What am I feeling? Why am I so angry, sad, scared, annoyed, embarrassed? For good communication you must identify and own the feeling. Then you can tell your partner, "I am angry." Don't say, "You make me so angry!" Don't try to explain why you are angry until you can figure it out. Then go back to your partner and talk without blame.

Respect each other's feelings. Emotions are a part of each person's private self. No one has the power to manufacture emotions. When you ask someone to give up ownership of his personal internal experiences, he can only pretend or repress. No relationship can become a soul mate relationship if one of the partners cannot accept the other without needing him/her to change.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Listen to Yourself When You Speak

Like many women I am probably seen as strong, but the truth is I am more sensitive than I want to be. If someone I care about speaks to me in a sharp critical tone, I have to fight to keep tears in check. More concerning to me is sharpness in the tone of my voice when responding to someone I love or care about. I believe many of us use one tone to outsiders and another with family. I try to stay in touch with the tone of my voice.

One way I have learned to improve my response to finding lights left on again or cupboard doors and countless drawers left open again and, and, and, to say to myself, "How important is this?" Other questions I ask myself, "Does it help to react? Will it make a difference?" Of course, the answer to those questions is no. Then, smile, accept it even if you have to slam the drawers shut a little harder to feel better.

Above all, I try to avoid criticism. Criticism is never helpful. Sometimes criticism subtly comes out in the tone of your voice. Make a point of listening to yourself when you are irritated, impatient, or disgusted. Your family and friends will be more likely to listen to you when you stay calm and patient. Raising your voice to your children will come back to you as they grow older.

When I faced a classroom full of noisy high spirited first graders, I quickly learned that speaking softly quieted them quicker than trying to raise my voice above their noise. The same principle applies in the family. The Bible addresses this truth in the verse, "A soft answer turneth away wrath." Try it next time you feel impatient and frustrated.