It's not about you
Have you ever been in a conversation where your intent was just to share some interesting information to generate some lively conversation – and found that it got hijacked? And that what could have been a very interesting exchange turned into an “it’s all about me” conversation? What happened to good old-fashioned listening skills – ones where the receiver of information sits back and objectively listens to the story – without interjecting?!?
This recently happened to me – and it was an incredibly disappointing experience. So much so that I ended the conversation prematurely and contemplated never sharing interesting information with this person ever again. (I should have known better though, since this person is a known hijacker…) I should have been smarter – I know these people from experience since I spend a great majority of my day listening to people. I don’t usually share a lot…
I think we have all been hijackers at some point in time. You know, those conversations where someone is sharing a story and you have one that you JUST KNOW is way better, so you have this INCREDIBLE urge to share it in order to one up the person? And in the end, you effectively shut them up from sharing in the rest of the conversation. Why do you do it? Is it to put them down and belittle their story? Is it to make yourself look so much better – whatever better means? Or is it because your communication skills just suck and you simply cannot listen?
If you are a hijacker, my challenge to you is to close your mouth, quiet your thoughts, and just listen to the person in front of you. You might learn something. You might have more respect for that person. You might build a better friendship with that person. If you don’t – you might lose that person…
Keeping up with the joneses
I was listening to the radio on my way home from work the other day to a show on Wisconsin Public Radio. Because I was listening in mid-program, I did not have the benefit of hearing the introduction to the topic nor the guest so I half-listened. Soon, a comment by the guest and subsequent discussion pulled me in. The comment: social media has an impact on our spending habits.
The guest discussed that we all see social media posts about the vacation our friend just took or are currently on, the new car he or she just picked up, or the morning cup of coffee from Starbucks…. These posts come from a minority of individuals who have the ability to impact the thoughts and feelings of the majority. As the show continued, the guest explained that what we don’t see are posts representing the flip side. The boring ones. The ones from the majority. The ones showing folks who are enjoying a stay-cation to save some money, or ones showing people who are enjoying an equally good cup of coffee made at home that only cost a dime…. All of this made me contemplate the impact that social media has on our financial well-being…
I admit, social media has impacted both my thoughts and my spending habits. However, I have been able to develop a healthy perspective since my financial well-being is important to me. The vacation pictures are great, but to me the amount of money spent on a similar vacation not taken with correlating money resting in my bank account is much more important. I also enjoy a morning cup of brew from Starbucks, but you know what? The morning cup from my inexpensive and environmentally friendly stainless-steel percolator pot tastes WAY BETTER!
Here is a list of tips that have helped me change my consumerism habits over the past few years – maybe a few can help you too.
The road to financial well-being is not easy and sometimes life will get in the way. If you start adopting savvy habits now, you will be better able to handle the curve balls life throws at you.
And, finally, remember - things are not always as they seem. Maybe…just maybe…the Jones’ are looking at you in envy…
The Fabric of YOur Ancestry
There is comfort in belonging. And to a great many, it is important to know where you came from – who your parents are, who their parents were/are, who their parents were, and so on. There is comfort in family traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation. And, there is comfort in being able to “know” ancestors through the stories that are passed on with each generation. This is woven into the fabric of your being.
What about those of us who have holes in the fabric of our ancestry? Great gaping question marks of who someone’s tribe is. Guessing gets you nowhere… The wonders of a DNA test may open some doors that were previously closed and/or confirms some suspicions you may have harbored. The mystery may get solved…
But, be wary, my friend. When you seek the truth, be prepared for the truth. Because what ends up being the truth may not be what you had imagined. Be prepared for the many road blocks you will encounter and information that either dead-ends or just doesn’t make sense. Our ancestors did not have the ability (like we do now) to keep detailed records - and those who did record history faced many challenges. Census takers had problems deciphering the many ethnic names that were presented and spelling variations run rampant. Birth records from the 1800’s are virtually non-existent. Families held onto certain names – you will find repeats in each generation which will cause you to scratch your head repeatedly and wonder who is who. But, you continue on with the thrill of the chase – the one elusive piece of information fueling you onward.
I am one of those individuals who has holes in their fabric. My grandfather was an orphan of the state, and our family has been trying to piece his fabric back together for many years. There are still many holes – missing or incomplete records, mislabeled photos, records that have restricted access, and areas we just can’t figure out yet. DNA tests have helped a lot and we continue to discover individuals we are related to.
This mystery is exciting, thought provoking, repulsive, revealing, exhilarating, and frustrating all at once. And it makes me think of a phrase you will hear me say often…be careful what you ask for…
I welcome any tips fellow historians can share as I continue to repair the fabric of my ancestry…
Best. Laundry. soap. ever
I have been meaning to write this post for a very long time. But, like everything, "stuff" happens and the thought completely leaves my mind... Tonight it stuck.
For about the last three years, we have been enjoying the most awesome smelling, fresh laundry ever - and the environment loves it too! (It doesn't have all the chemicals and crud in it.) Double win! I have been sharing my secret with friends here and there and realized that I need to share it with you too. So...here is the recipe.
Awesome Laundry Soap
1 bar Fels Naphtha soap - grated fine (or your favorite bar of all natural soap)
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1 cup oxygen booster (I use oxygen clean or Nellies from Amazon)
Mix and store in your favorite container. Use 1 tablespoon per load of laundry. If you have an extra dirty load, you can up it to 1 1/2 tablespoons. I have an HE front load washer and the machine LOVES this stuff! And, I mean loves it!
I also gave the boot to fabric softeners (they are filled with SO MUCH chemicals - yikes) and use 1/2 cup white vinegar in its place - per load. My laundry is amazingly clean and fresh and my HE machine loves me for it!
Give it a try - I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how wonderful this soap is!
Take the 30 Day Challenge
What? Take the 30 day challenge? What is that??? Well, I just did the reverse of what I am going to ask you to do and am glad my 30 days are OVER!
Quite a long time ago, I bought a very expensive bar of soap. It was not handmade soap and it was not 100% natural soap - but it was labeled as luxury soap. Right, luxury... So, being a bit of a tightwad, I was reluctant to throw it out and thought there would be no harm in using it for hand soap in my bathroom. Wow, was I wrong! For the past 30 days, I kept thinking about how dry my cuticles had gotten and how dry and scratchy my finger tips were. I blamed it on Old Man Winter. Finally, a light bulb went off in my head and I realized it was the SOAP! Into the garbage it went and I quickly replaced it with a new milk soap I made. 2 days later I was marveling at my soft hands. Yes, just 2 days later! So, here is my challenge to you...
For the next 30 days, put away those harsh bars of soap and those liquid body washes and replace them with a simple bar of natural handmade soap. The winter itchy skin will fade and your hands and cuticles will be much happier. Not only will your skin be softer, you will use less moisturizer. Why is this important? Well...
Your skin is a huge sponge that soaks up everything you place on it. Everything. Have you read the label on your brand name soap lately? Can you pronounce and provide a definition for the ingredients used? I know I can't! Many of them are petroleum by-products and/or man-made chemicals. Yuck! Pull out a bar of natural soap and flip it over to see the ingredient list. I bet you can read and understand every ingredient used. I don't know about you, but I am pretty sure I know what olive oil is! I can even eat it! I would rather be comfortable in knowing that my skin in soaking in wonderful things like coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter, almond oil and the like rather than Polyquaternium-7, PEG-6 Methyl Ether, Pentasodium Penetrate or Tetrasodium Etidronate. Yikes!
So, are you with me? Willing to try the 30 day challenge? Let me know how it goes! You might even get hooked on handmade soap...
Brenda is the owner/operator of Owl & Acorn Well-Being. All opinions are just that - opinions. We hope you enjoy!