Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mouse Tales

Do animals pass knowledge to their children like humans?  I wonder this. I think that they must.  

We have lived in this house for 3.5 years and the only time there has been an animal in our pool is when my husband scared a little bunny and it fell in the pool. I am very afraid of the animals that could be in the pool’s traps.  The thought crosses my mind every time I empty them.

Two weeks ago, the fear I have been dealing with finally came true- I opened the lid to the trap and there was a long tail with leaves all around.  I looked more closely (I have been startled by “animals” that weren’t there before).  There was fur.  I was convinced that there was a giant rat in the pool filter.  I dropped the lid and ran back inside.  I could hear the cat laughing at me in my head.

Upon further inspection a few hours later, I determined that it was mouse, not a giant one, either  My husband had to empty the trap that evening.

Over the next weeks, we had two more mice in the traps.  Each time the mouse was smaller than before. A family who made the choice to build their home too close to the deadly swimming pool.

Why has it been 3.5 years before we had any mice in the pool?  Is it because they pass on the knowledge from generation to generation that it’s not a good idea to build their nest in that area?  Did this family unknowingly make a bad choice?

I still remember the first time I saw a dead mouse.  We were living in Wisconsin and my dad had seen a mouse so we went to the hardware store and bought some mouse traps.  I remember helping him bait them and place them in the room with the wood burning furnace.  My brother had a little “man cave” down there.  He came upstairs to tell me that we had caught a mouse.  I was super excited and I grabbed my dad and went downstairs to find this adorable little white mouse with the pinkest little feet and nose.

Poor mouse.  She was so pretty.  I was upset that I had been excited about killing her-  I wished that we had bought a “no kill” trap and taken her to live her mouse life in an appropriate environment.

I imagine that the family of mice that died in our pool were curious, looking for a better life, a better home.  They chose to make their home close to water and that killed them. Father mouse went out to “get some dinner” and he didn’t return.  Mother mouse went looking for him and she didn’t return.  So baby mouse was forced to go and find his own food.  He too drowned the same way as his parents. Their accidental death was directly caused by their choice to nest near the swimming pool.

I have been reminded over and over that my choices are what determines my quality of life and ultimately my survival.  

In the modern human economy, Darwin’s theory, “Survival of the Fittest” is actually “Survival of the Choices”.  Humans are not dictated by our physical attributes as much as by our choices.  Everyone has the opportunity to make good choices and bad.  As adults, our health, safety and economic class are products of our choices not chances. Nobody else is responsible for these things for us.

Live responsibly.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The philosophy of time scarcity versus responsible contentment

A person living on the philosophy of time scarcity does not realize that they are simply complaining about their own choices and their own lack of understanding consequences.
Most have heard it said that time is one of your most valuable resources. It is very limited.  Each person’s days are numbered.  Time is so precious, that decisions about one’s time are some of the most personal and most important decisions one makes. Some of the most hurtful parts of relationships have to do with how one person chooses to spend their time.
A person living in the philosophy of time scarcity complains that they don’t have enough time (time is scarce).  They feel that they are running a rat race in which they have to get ahead and never can seem to do so.  Several times they feel that “things will get better with just one more activity”.  Or “if I only had more money/time/freedom I would be happier.” So they work really hard to cram as many things into the day, unhappy with the present and always looking toward the future with disappointment surrounding them.
It’s so easy to get into the habit of blaming a lack of time for everything. The truth is that the scarcity of time is not to blame for one’s own choices. One person doesn’t have fewer hours than anyone else.  Reality is that a person can only have so many priorities.  Once the priorities have used up one’s time, there is only so much left for things that are not really priorities.  Those things do not ever seem to happen, even though the person says (and may even believe) that they should.
Here are two examples:
·         Now that I have a toddler, I do not have time to spend with my friends.
·         Because my work schedule is so demanding, I do not have time to exercise.
Next time you hear that statement, translate it to this:
·         Now that I have a toddler, I do not choose to spend time with my friends.
·         Because my work schedule is so demanding, I do not choose to exercise.
Before replying with a smart ass “that’s your own damn fault response”, (even though that is true) think about this: Does that person really want to be “spending time with friends” or “exercising”  more than they want to be caring for their child or excelling in work? Are they just complaining to make themselves feel better about the choices they’ve made?  That person could simply be feeling guilty, but have no intention of making changes in their choices. A person can only truly have a few real priorities.  For example, most people’s priority list includes Family, Work and Religion (in one order or another).  After that, there is not a whole lot of room for all the rest of the stuff. But those priorities are not nearly specific enough to help a person make good choices.  Especially when work and family are pulling one in opposite directions.
Another example of a person living in the time scarcity philosophy is someone who talks of what could have been without realizing that they CAN change what will be.  “If only my line of work was paid better”.  Were you born into your job?  Do you have the choice to work somewhere else if you wanted to?
That complaint is only valid if there TRULY was no other choice.  In most civilized countries, you have a choice what line of work you want to be in, and you probably knew what kind of pay grade to expect when you entered that line of work.  If you are unhappy with it, it is up to you and only you, to change it.
Time spent cannot be taken back.  You cannot return time for a better offer (what could have been). Stop complaining about the choices you’ve made.  If you don’t like them, make better choices in the future.
Rarely are Olympic athletes able to compete in more than one sport.  I can be so much better if I only focus on ONE sport rather than trying to do two and being mediocre at both.
I chose only two priorities.  I am way more specific than “Family, work and God”.  I have two main priorities and everything that is truly important falls within these two priorities:
1.       Give gifts (including but not limited to) 
a.       Spending quality time by traveling with family and friends
b.      Work (If your work isn’t a gift, you should find another job)
c.       Cooking and being hospitable
d.      Volunteering to help others
2.       Spending time outdoors to admire God’s creation, get exercise and be healthy (mentally and physically)
It has taken me a long time to come up with this list, and it changes as I grow as a person.  Choosing those priorities has helped me to feel that I have ENOUGH.  I have enough time to do the things that are truly important.  I am so lucky to have a supportive husband who encourages me to focus on the few priorities that truly matter and not the less important things that do not.
This is what I have found works for me to be content with my time choices.  Next time you find yourself feeling like time is scare; ask yourself what you would give up to have the things you truly want.  And as you commit to things, ask yourself if they roll up to your priorities or not. Be good at few things.  Think through the consequences before making comittments.
Be responsible for your own contentment.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Poem to Mother

From day one, you were there,
Doing all the work,
then stepping aside to let someone else take the glory.

I learned so many things from you,
I grew into a beautiful woman,
and gave my dad all the credit.

I adored my daddy,
Looked up to him,
Wanted to be just like him.

In hindsight,
It is you that I want to be like,
You are the strong woman that I patterned myself after. 

Thank you, Mom, for picking out my wedding dress! You have great tastes!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Open Letter to Friend Re-entering the Workforce

Dear Friend,

Welcome back to the world of work! How are you adjusting back to long days in the office instead of long days at home? Is data entry more enjoyable than laundry and cleaning? I hope you are enjoying these first few weeks back to work. I know it will be a huge adjustment with a long list of pros and cons.

How's baby? Adjusting quickly I'm sure!

Are you getting back into the habit of packing a lunch and avoiding office junk food? I literally walk out of my way to NOT walk past the cookies, pretzels and candy at my office… I am powerless some days, and others I’m just fine with my apple and carrots instead of butter cream icing. Who am I kidding? That apple would taste better dipped in the icing!!

Anyway, here is a recipe for you that I enjoy taking to work.

Whole Wheat Wrap with Couscous:

Put a whole wheat Tortilla in a gallon sized Ziploc and roll it up.
Take about a 1/4 cup of cooked couscous and add 2 Tbs of Wheat Germ place in a microwave safe container. *Optional, add leftover meat or beans if you’d like.
Wash a handful of spinach and wrap in a paper towel.
In a separate container, put cheese and peppers and/or olives *optional add tomatoes, shredded carrots and/or cucumber.

At lunch time, heat Couscous mixture and tortilla. Spread the spinach on top of tortilla to provide extra strength for the wrap. Layer couscous mixture and cheese and veggies. Roll like a wrap and enjoy!

This recipe is extra healthy because there is no sauce/dressing needed. The couscous is moist enough to keep the wrap from feeling dry. This extremely low calorie meal provides a fullness and satisfaction, at least until the 3 o’clock snack!

Welcome back to the world of work! I hope you know that you have made excellent choices in staying home with you baby and then returning to work. Good luck in all you as you set out to find a work life balance! May you be happy in both!

I am proud of you!