TurnAbout 180
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                    We hope you enjoy our 2 Words of Advice, very short videos, listed below. 

Two Words: More Sex https://www.facebook.com/reel/2190698164599091

Two Words: Marital Sex. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEx8gwlu3Dc

Two Words: High School. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9S076HbCeQ 

Two Words: Your Posture. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQhmjFIzMYc

Two Words: You Can't. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxCMBmiyW6g

Two Words: Your Ship. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLyKACB6iX0

Two Words of Advice: Travel Light. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y2em2Y4tnM

Two Words: Your Funeral. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oY4qf0UrqU4

Two Words: Jet Lag. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPEJ1OS8uj4 

​One Word: Intentionality. Https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HG2PyieExsc

Two Words: Your Blessings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUp5eDLu8IE

Two Words of Advice: Let Go. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgcTZidH1lc

Two Words of Advice: Consider Sources and Valid Compliments. 

Two Words: God’s Plans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5dEQPl7Ptc

Two Words: Longterm Repercussions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrMtRuBHFY8 

Two Words: Silent Leadership. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzIjatO0aQg 

Two Words of Advice: Be Consistent. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3IKZLVSUN0 

Two Words of Advice: Get Along https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPOfy22wAOU

Two Words: Not Now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnfJrUHwLF4&list=UULF0g5TfRer2yd8l8hl4haurA

Two Words: Sound Smarter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GGRhJ77s-E

Two Words: Your Choice.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6q0IPfhOG94 

Two Words of Advice: Stop Yourself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I88_Vfw8lbk 

Two Words: Conversation Starters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ervSD1MycWI 
Please contact me for the list since it came in backwards due to the recording. 

Two Words of Advice: Love Unconditionally. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nILdNHLkV0 

Two Words: Our Universe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZCsMIzyV_E 

Two Words of Advice: Enjoy Christmas! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_LaF6kd7s8 

Two Words of Advice: Never Alone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhzJAE3fsk8  

Two Words of Advice: Be Honest. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5SO1Dwdesg 

Two Words of Advice: Accept Yourself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tynh5L5P4Ig 

Two Words of Advice: Have Faith. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGPfR0YMwjI

Two Words of Advice: Ignore Jerks. https://www.youtube.com/shorts/hW68HrHRJ9Y

Two Words: No Control. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rM5YxoQY7k

Two Words of Advice: Be Charming. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAQvLIuLo-o&list=UULF0g5TfRer2yd8l8hl4haurA

Two Words of Advice: Fail Well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om7QrICgdh8 

Two Words of Advice: Take Risks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuxO3UqPNBk 

Two Words of Advice: Respect Yourself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwFueEXoueE

Two Words of Advice: Respect Employees. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CT0XDMwYLM

Two Words of Advice: Respect Workers. 

Two Words: Beauty Secrets. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyBH4ilwRr8 

Two Words of Advice: Support Others https://www.facebook.com/reel/6464024070342497

Two Words of Advice: Don’t Finish. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agDm0Y6SaH8 

Two Words of Advice: Be Yourself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUcrYaQw6vc 

Two Words: Bad Advice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOJlLVvdZyg 

Two Words of Advice: Acknowledge Responses. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xN8zsJGg4Y

Two Words of Advice: Conquer Mistakes.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TyIEeABBck

Two Words of Advice: Travel Lightly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM-Hq_71SOw 

Two Words: Thoughtful Compliments. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qT_KZjW7qs 

Two Words of Advice: Applaud Others. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SN7k_nn1Tko 

Two Words of Advice: Be Still. https://www.youtube.com/shorts/bwSta-p_Dr4

Two Words: Not Perfect.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DoOGpzUrp8 ​

Two Words of Advice: Fully Commit! ​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOnZ4czYDWI 

Two Words: Your Adjectives. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DG3ZPCdAJA

Two Words: Don’t Fit? Don’t Fit! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNF0OEjDYsI 

Two Words: Future Success. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMKD-m5y3jc 

Two Words of Advice: Accept Reality. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HccWaVSD7PM 

​Time Management https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLun_6psatI&t=262s  

Two Words: Compassion Fatigue…Self Care. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5hvgLvZCg8

Two Words: New Beginnings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9bqvUww1fw

Two Words of Advice: Freak Out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yz4nt7QPCY&t=8s 

Two Words: Share Prices. https://www.facebook.com/reel/240384198485414/...
Yes, this is more business, but lots of us work for a living and I tied it to personal lives as well.

Two Words: Never Alone. I hope you like this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKF5tNwFyLk​

Love Language Opposites
By Lindy Earl

Do you remember the love languages? Gary Chapman wrote a book, about a generation ago, that listed and explained the five love languages. These are ways that we show our love to others. His premise is that we all have one very strong love language, which is the way we want others to show their love for us. We tend to speak our love language to others, but if they don’t speak the same language, then they may feel unloved and unappreciated, simply because we didn’t communicate our feelings in the best way for them to understand how we feel about them.

The five love languages are:
Quality Time
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service 

I believe we all have at least a tiny bit of each, but in my case I can rank mine. Acts of Service is definitely my love language, followed by touch. In fact, almost 100% of the people I’ve asked for the past decade have touch as either their first or second love language. Not 100%, but close. When I rank mine, gifts is dead last, with a negligible score. At the same time, while gifts do not rank high for me, a surprise is always welcome, maybe because I see it as an act of service.

Yes, the languages can be intertwined, which can make it more difficult, even confusing, to understand. There is a survey you can take to discern your love language if you have any doubt. Whatever language you speak, when others show love in a different way, you may not feel their love. You might recognize and appreciate their effort, but won’t always feel loved.

My twist on these love languages: When you know your love language, if opportunities exist for people to express their feelings in that way, and they don’t, it’s especially painful. Think about it.

As stated, I’m an Acts of Service girl. When somebody has an opportunity to do something nice for me, like bring up the mail as they pass the mailbox on the way to my door, but choose not to do it (it probably didn’t even occur to them), then I might notice that they didn’t bring in the mail. Then, and this is hard, I may feel some kind of a way. Not only did I not receive the love of a small act of service, but I feel especially bad because such a simple act was left undone.

Let’s try another: If your love language is touch, and people miss an opportunity to give you a hug, you may feel more dejected, and even rejected, even though no harm was intended. NOT meeting your love language, when the opportunity presented itself, can be as painful, in my opinion, than someone using the wrong language. If you comment on the lack of a hug, they may respond, “but I brought you flowers.” Since your love language is touch, not gifts, the flowers mean less than a good hug would. So now it becomes doubly important to know love languages. 

I believe the love languages were first developed for romantic relationships. Boyfriends and girlfriends, spouses, can better meet each other’s needs and express their love for the other if they know and practice the other person’s love language. As a mom, I made of learning my children’s love languages. The child whose primary language was time meant that when he returned home from school, I needed to sit down with him and do nothing but listen to him tell me about his day. At first I thought we were fine if he talked to me while I made supper, but I realized, after reading Chapman’s book and making a point of implementing the languages whenever I could, that with this child, the face to face communication fulfilled his love language needs in a way that chatting while otherwise engaged simply didn’t. I got it!

Can you take these languages further than family and friends, to organizations where you volunteer and work? To a point, yes, but be careful with touch! As a Business Chaplain I recently had a conversation with a corporate client who, at the end, requested a hug. Yes, a sideways, public hug was acceptable. In today’s world, any touch can be seen as inappropriate so be careful. I can see the same challenge with gifts. While you know how much someone, whose love language is gifts, appreciates your bringing in coffee or donuts, others may not understand and wonder why and what’s going on. Be judicious and careful in using the love languages at work, especially if you agree that failure to meet a love language can be especially hard. 

For instance, if the love language of one colleague is Words of Affirmation, any time that a compliment or praise is appropriate would make them feel especially great, far more than for someone who ranks this love language low on their list. Then, any missed opportunity to call out the person with words of affirmation may truly hurt the person. At the same time, you need to be careful that others don’t question why you’re forever praising the one employee, not realizing that you are just trying to meet them with their own love language. What a lot of information for a good manager to handle! Donuts for one employee, compliments for another, a firm handshake to a third . . . Wow!

I have no idea what Mr. Chapman thinks about my reversing the love languages. I have noticed that people feel great when their love language is met. I have also observed people who feel some kind of a way when someone failed to communicate with them in their love language. I encourage you to learn the love languages of family and friends and make an effort to implement that language as often as you can, and to intentionally seek opportunities to do so. Missing an opportunity to show love in someone’s language may unintentionally cause sadness and we never want to do that.

Two Words: Short Memory.
We hope you enjoy this short video: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/bOsxgoqHjRQ 

What Drives Behavior?
By: Lindy Earl

Why do we act the way we do? I know we’ve all done things we wish we hadn’t and failed to do things we wish we had. We can call it a lack of discipline or a one-time error. Our childhoods, as well as our present circumstances, all play into why we behave the way we do. I’m wondering what really drives us. What causes some people to hit the floor running, while others start slowly but end on a high? For years I have taught that it doesn’t matter if you’re an early bird or a night owl – both offer advantages and disadvantages and you need to embrace who you are in order to maximize your potential. 

With that said, I believe I’ve found some things that greatly affect our behavior.

Our values – What we were taught in our youth, the value of being needed, the importance of a hard day’s work, often sticks with us for our entire lives, unless we intentionally change it. Why would we opt to change our values? If we were mistaught, then we would want to make changes that more closely align with who we are today. For instance, if a child is raised in an environment of bullying and fears, they might automatically repeat this behavior as an adult. As they observe other behaviors – getting along with people through common goals and kindness – they will want to embrace these values. Our values, what we hold to be important, drives our behavior.

Personal and corporate goals – You probably had a goal as a child, although you may have referred to it as what you wanted to be when you grew up. I realized that my first idea, of being a police officer, was not a good fit for me as I matured. Some people stay with their original goal, while others change theirs slightly or completely. Our goals, both personal and in our careers, can drive our behavior. If mid-level management is all a person aspires to be, so that they have adequate time with family and friends, then they will behave differently than someone with the goal of CEO or millionaire-by-30. If personal goals include a family and a dozen children, a person will find themselves more driven to achieve that goal earlier than someone who desires a spouse and no children or only one or two kids. 
Whether or not we achieve our goals, especially those with early-in-life dates attached (being the youngest to pass a professional exam, for instance), will affect our behavior even after said date. For instance, if we did achieve our original goals, we may be driven to set more, possibly more stringent, goals. If we missed a goal, it may motivate us to try harder, or it may cause us to rethink the goal, and other goals, and reassess our situation. Early failure of goals can easily lead to two different outcomes – more motivation to never fail again or an awareness that unreached goals lead to a different but better outcome.

Fears – Fear is a funny thing. It can be both a motivator or de-motivator. Doing things even while afraid is called bravery. Choosing to not do things, out of fear, may lead to safety but a loss of security. As we give in to fear, our behavior may resort to taking fewer risks, which will affect our futures. 
The funny thing about fear is that, because it’s unseen, it can easily be hidden. In fact, we can lie about it so convincingly that we believe ourselves. We can pretend our behavior was not motivated by fear, but by bad timing. We can tell ourselves, as well as others, that it was for the best that things didn’t work out, when in fact it was our fear that kept us from even trying to make it work. Fear can be a real motivator of our behavior, but we have to remember that we are stronger than our worst fears.

Peers – How sad is it that peers have so much influence over one another? I think it’s worse in our teen years, where behavior is greatly influenced by schoolmates. I have seen entire groups of girls dressed the same, all because one or two girls chose the outfit. People do want to fit in, and in some cases will make poor decisions to be part of the group and accepted by their peers. The holdouts are referred to as abnormal, but who is to say that they aren’t the normal ones and the crowd following the wrong person would be abnormal in another world? I remember one guy being liked and popular in a church group, years ago. When we met up with a youth group from another school, however, those kids found him arrogant and unlikable. How interesting that he had such a different reputation when he acted the same way within each group. 
Even as adults, our peers can have a great influence on us. When we are around a team of highly motivated succeeders, our motivation to succeed increases and our behavior supports those efforts. When, however, we are thrust into a group of underachievers where productivity is found annoying, therefore ridiculed, we can see our output, and our potential, quickly wane. We have heard the line: If you’re the smartest person in the room, change rooms. We have seen athletes improve their game when they play someone better than they are. Our peers can greatly affect not just our behavior, but our success.

Money – Do you remember Herzberg Theory of Motivation? He claimed that, once you have a sufficient amount, money is not a motivator. He called it a hygiene factor. Do you agree? There are great, powerful, often very wealthy people in this world who, no matter how much they possess, still need a little more, which would show the opposite of Herzberg’s theory. Does money drive behavior? I think so, but how much it drives behavior can change over a person’s lifetime. When you are just out of school and challenged to pay the bills, money can be a huge motivator. You may have taken a job, or a second job, purely for the income. As we age, and our income increases and our needs are met (with a nod to Herzberg), I think we can get a little pickier about what jobs we are willing to do. Somehow, even yard and housework become something we hire, when we once performed it well. We explain it by saying that with our hourly income, it makes more sense to go to work and hire someone at a lower cost. That makes sense. The point remains, we are allowing money to make the decision. That’s fine! I think money can be a motivator, but how much depends on the person.
Friends of mine know that I value happiness over income, most of the time. While I chose careers that have notoriously low incomes (teaching and spiritual), I always said happiness comes first. I trust the Lord to provide, but sometimes He has met my needs by providing me with a second job. It wasn’t always fun but you do what you have to do, especially when you are called to a career where money is not plentiful. So money can be a motivator, but is not the only motivator.

Power – Yes, power can be a strong motivator. We don’t want to just be on the team, we want to lead the team. We volunteer to be the leader, knowing it will cause us more work, but happy to work harder if it means we are in charge. Often, money and power go together, and people who are motivated by one are also motivated by the other. Together they can be huge drivers of behavior. Some people simple seek power, knowing money will follow, while other seek money, and find that power follows as they get promoted or start their own business. 

Happiness – I believe that happiness is the greatest motivator of all, yet I see it often ignored. We know what will make us happy, but due to challenges we choose to not pursue it. We do not allow happiness to drive our behavior. We might simply postpone happiness for the future. Yes, traveling would make me happy, but I’ll wait until after I retire. We might allow other people to make decisions for us. Yes, I love this person, but my parents don’t and I can’t disappoint my parents. We might not think we are deserving of happiness, so rather than pursue it we focus on other things that still keep us content enough, then we explain away our lack of happiness by saying it wasn’t the right time. 
Please know that I have been guilty of everything I just mentioned. I put off things I wanted to do, only to learn the opportunity never again came around. I allowed other people to influence my decisions to the point of walking away from happiness. Sadly, I have made poor decisions, thinking I wasn’t worthy of what was in front of me, even though I think it would have made me happy. I have chosen lesser options, accepting the fate I created for myself, because I didn’t think I was really worthy of anything better. Boy was I wrong! Oh well.

I think it’s important that we look at what drives our own behavior. It may be something from the list above or something else. It may be a combination of the above or something from above coupled with something else. I think it behooves us to find our center – where we are happiest – and set it as a goal. If a new job, or starting your own business, would make you happy, then find a way to pursue it and change your behavior. It does not have to be a complete overhaul, but at least take steps toward your goal. As you keep your focus, you will find it driving your behavior. Also allow for changes to what will drive your behavior over the years. Right now it may be the perfect job, or the perfect family. In time it may be more personal desires that you left unfulfilled. You get to choose what will motivate your behavior, every single day.

Two Words of Advice: Be Observant.  

Dating Introverts vs Extroverts
By: Lindy Earl 

Given the choice between a party and a date, which would you choose? Being an introvert, I prefer a one-on-one setting and would choose the date. 
What does it mean to be an introvert? I think the best definition is that introverts refuel by being alone. Large groups, and having to interact with a lot of other people, saps their energy. Extroverts, on the other hand, thrive and build energy in groups, while being alone drains them.

The funny part is that some introverts, such as myself, are outgoing, so people think we’re extroverts. Nope. We have a good time but are totally drained by the end of the event and crave our time alone. Then there are quiet, even shy, extroverts, who thrive on being in a group, but choose to stand on the sidelines. They leave the party, having spoken very little, energized and excited. They had a great time just being out in the world so they can now better face solitude, since they can live on this energy for a minute.

So, which would you prefer to date? It depends on so many things: your personality, your age, your season of life, and whether you’re extroverted or introverted yourself. Is it better for two extroverts to date? There are definite advantages, in that each will be eager to attend functions and might even vie to be the life of the party, if both are outgoing as well. At the same time, an introvert and an extrovert would balance one another nicely. The extrovert would get their partner out of the house more often and the introvert would be able to teach the extrovert the joys of socializing at home, just one-on-one. Two introverts? We can see that they could be totally and completely happy simply by being at home. They will probably discern that separate but together is wonderful – as in both in the same room, but doing their own activities. They are together, but alone in their thoughts. Perfect for both of them.

The first thing to know is where you stand. Yes, you can be an ambivert, which is a combination of both. I think we are probably all ambiverts to a point but I think we all sway one or another more than half the time. Once you know which you are, determine to what degree. Not only am I an introvert but I’m a good 90% introvert. For that reason, I long ago realized that I’m great with other introverts. I’m amazingly content having supper in and watching games or movies on TV. Yes, I still enjoy evenings out and adventures, but less often than an extrovert. I can date extroverts and we do well together, but I realized that I’m best with introverts.

I also know a couple who are complete opposites. He’s an outgoing introvert and she’s a shy extrovert. They have a blast, both alone and together. There are days when she will go out with friends and leave him to play videogames all day. There are times when he’ll get dressed up to escort her to an event. There are also times when they’ll have a reading date, and the entire evening is about being together, quietly reading their own books. They are great together!

So, would you rather date an introvert or an extrovert? Once you know, it will be easier to narrow the field. You’re already asking the questions, like, “How do you prefer to spend an evening or weekend?” Now you can look for the answers that best fit what you want. If you’re an introvert who wants another introvert, so be it. If you’re an introvert who needs an extrovert to get you out of your home, then look for that. The same works in the opposite direction. This is another way to help you find your perfect match.

Two Words of Advice: Don’t Quit. If you’re in the Lord’s will, you should never quit.

How We Hear Things
By Lindy Earl

You can’t put your foot in the same river twice. Have you heard this? The theory is that the river is always changing, so every time you step in a river, it’s a different river. Branches have been swept downstream and stones have moved.

What you say and how others hear it can change based on so many things. You can control what you say – word choice and tone of voice for example, but there’s more to it than that. Where you are in life, how you’re feeling, and where the listener is in their life, or even in their day, can affect the way a statement is heard. 

When you’re in a good place and you say good morning it’s going to come across as a lovely greeting. If, however, you’re in an ugly place, or maybe feeling slightly ill, the same words, Good morning, could come across very negatively, as a question, or almost as a challenge.

How people receive your messages can be more of a question of where they are in their life or their day at the moment. I have shared the story before of how I would say, “good morning,” and in turn would be asked, “what’s so good about it?” That was truly a response of where this person was in their life and not my simple greeting.

As a Chaplain I often carry a basket of candy when I visit clients or attend networks, and I have recently added apples for those who do not eat sweets. Today I met a man and when I offered him a piece of candy or an apple he told me that I was bribing people to listen to me. I smiled and responded, “I prefer to see this as a gift from the Lord.”

The vast majority of the people I offer candy are happy to have an unexpected treat in the middle of the day. Some joke when they see the mints and ask if I’m trying to suggest that they have halitosis. Nope. Just sharing some sweets. Some people do politely thank me and decline. The fact that this man responded as he did says more about him than me. I am not going to change my behavior. I shall continue to work as a Chaplain, bring candy with me to events, and open my ears to whatever anybody wants to discuss with me. 

I know there have been times in my past when I was feeling some kind of a way and reacted negatively, when such a response was unwarranted. If I could look back and see the individual instances I think it would be interesting to see where I was in my life. Was I unhappy at work or in a relationship? Maybe I was unemployed and didn’t have a relationship. In that situation it’s understandable that somebody behaves negatively and reacts in an ugly manner. They are simply unhappy in life at that moment and it shows in their communication, and maybe they have a hard time remembering how temporary it’s going to be. While I can find it understandable I choose not to find it acceptable in myself. I am more than understanding that people have bad days but I would like to think that I can be more mature and not bleed all over people just because I am having a moment.

I believe there’s a difference between a reaction and a response. When you see something being thrown at your head, a natural reaction is to duck. When somebody throws a verbal assault, a natural reaction would be to respond in the same manner. A more gentle, thoughtful, and kind response would be to smile at the person and to remain silent or even offer a positive response. Yes, it’s much harder to do. In the end, however, I am always happier when I respond kindly.

Where we are in our lives will definitely affect how we hear things and how we respond. If someone responds to your comment defensively and in an ugly way, be aware that they may have some unseen issues. Also be aware if you are feeling some kind of a way so that you don’t react harshly. No matter how you’re feeling or what you’re going through, you can intentionally sow seeds of kindness, love, and laughter. Make of point of noticing how you hear things. 

Two Words: You’re Valuable. I hope you enjoy this very short video.

Don’t Fall Out of Love
By Lindy Earl

If you treated someone, for the whole of your marriage, like you treated them while you were dating, especially in the early stages of dating, would you ever fall out of love? The excitement. The anticipation. The enjoyment of just being together. If you could have that forever, would you ever stop loving your partner, or would it get old and even become exhausting?

I think that couples can become too comfortable with one another. Then lazy. There is little romance in learning one another’s bathroom habits. Then each person may stop expending effort. Or maybe one stopped expending effort, and the other one gets tired of carrying the relationship, so they stop doing all the things that made the relationship work. 

Let’s face it. In the reality of day-to-day living, jobs can get in the way of relationships. Kids get in the way. Health gets in the way. Finances can cause problems. Then unspoken expectations become resentments. Communication decreases. Suddenly, it’s no longer fun just being together. How sad.

I think that once you fall out of love it can be hard to fall in love again with that same person. We have created resentments and hostilities, so we go elsewhere. We find the attention we get from a colleague or someone we met socially far more stimulating, so we put our time and effort there. I have something to say here: No! Don’t do it! You know it isn’t right, so work at the relationship you have, even if it means recreating your love.

Remember your dating years, and once friendzoned always friendzoned? Yep, once someone was in the friendzone, did they ever get out of it? I am sure there are cases out there, but personally, not for me. Once I had someone in that friendzone, they stayed there. Likewise, once out of love, it’s harder to go back, but it can happen. You can work at it and recreate the magic. We all know people who have remarried exes. There is hope, even if you’re falling out of love with your current Significant Other (SO). Start working at it.

Remember how much you loved to see them smile, and hear them laugh? Remember how excited you got at the thought of seeing them again? Did you ever count down the hours until you would see them? Think back on how you talked about this person to your family and friends, and all the great things you said about them. Those things are probably still true and you can be excited about them all over again.

Of course, it would be better to never lose the spark. People say relationships take work. So, put the work into the relationship you have and maybe reignite that spark. This means asking about their day even if you’re tired and they do not ask about yours. It means attending yet another event when you would rather put on your pajamas and watch a movie. It means putting yourself and your feelings on the line by risking embarrassment or pain. It may mean holidays spent with family members who aren’t your favorite people. It means forgiving every possible infraction, real or imagined, and then forgetting them.

If you’re between relationships, then decide now to always work at every relationship you have. Do not immediately look for problems and reasons that it won’t work. If you’re in a relationship, think back to your early days and remember all the things that made you fall in love in the first place. Good people are hard to find. When you have someone in your life, be thankful, then work at the relationship and make it the best one you’ve ever had. 

Two Words of Advice: Be Prepared. I hope you enjoy this short video. 

Easy to Fail, Hard to Succeed
By: Lindy Earl

I was once in a situation, doing pretty routine tasks, where it was very easy to fail but very hard to succeed. It’s not that the job was difficult to do. For several reasons, however, everything became more difficult than it should have been. It was originally a simple step process of multiple tasks. Then, changes came. I felt like I needed to do everything twice, go back and check what I’d just done, and that everything was simply going wrong. I even tried singing to keep a good pace but just couldn’t and felt like a failure. While I had previously been able to pound out lots of work and feel good about myself, I was now accomplishing precious little because there were so many changes and challenges. 
In addition, there were some things that were simply beyond my control. With new parameters in place I felt that I needed to check everything three times before requesting help. This led to an even greater slow down as I should have admitted that things were not going well and I should have requested help sooner than I did. 
After this rough start, I started noticing what seemed like an amazing lack of consistency within the company. Things that a year before were unacceptable were now perfectly fine. Quality control was once positive and important but was now at an all-time low. People were told they would be paid based on output, but simply weren’t. Promised raises never came. Would I have noticed any of this if it hadn’t been for the changes? It’s hard to say, but it does seem that once a person becomes aware of one issue, their eyes are opened to other challenges as well. 
So what’s a person to do when it feels like the system is set up for failure? One option is to go along and get along. Simply do your best and try not to personalize anything. Option two, question everything. I did try this with the hope of clarity and improvement, but it didn’t turn out well. You can try asking questions but be careful and hope for the best. Third, you can give up. If you can find a better situation that will meet your needs then you can walk away. No reason to be ashamed and doing so is sometimes the only option. In my first job out of school I worked in a very-understaffed department. I took on more and more until I was working 70-80 hours per week. It wasn’t a good situation, but when I requested help I was told no. I finally decided to leave and was amazed how much time I had when I only pulled 40 hours a week. Wow! 
There are more options, of course, when dealing with a bad situation where it’s easy to fail, and the right person might come up with a real winning option.
I think the better thing is to do your homework before starting the situation. I thought I knew what I was getting into when I started, but I was incredibly wrong. Quite simply, promises were made that were not kept. Could I have done my homework better? Probably. Had I been too eager to start? Possibly. It sounded like a fun and exciting opportunity. Am I sorry? Yes, although it would have been better for them to have chosen the right person in the first place, but at least I can learn from my time there. Here’s to hoping I don’t make the same mistake again.
Another thought: they failed me. A company should want their employees to succeed. Retention is healthy for corporate culture and attrition is costly. They should have run their numbers before hiring someone so they would have known that what they offered was untenable for the company. That was their excuse anyway – that I worked at such a pace that they couldn’t afford to pay me what was promised. They also lost in that they had to start over with a new employee and put time and effort into training, all over again. In addition, I will probably not recommend the company. I don’t have that large of an influence, but when they are looking for new employees and somebody asks, I would have to discourage anyone from working there. In addition, knowing how they treat employees, I don’t think I would recommend this company as a business. There are other companies who perform the same tasks that might treat their employees in a more respectful manner. 
I think the key take away is how we act when we make it to the other side. When we are in charge, do we make it easy for our employees to succeed? Are we honest in all of our commitments and hold to them? Do we communicate clearly and regularly, or are we holding back some information? I once worked with a gentleman who strongly believed in “need to know” and, in truth, nobody but him ever seemed to need to know anything until it was too late. A lot of challenges erupted due to his poor communication that simply could have been avoided. As employers, bosses, even colleagues, I think we should make it our business to make it easy for others to succeed by setting up clear benchmarks, inviting questions and providing honest answers, and showing a clear path to success. We need to encourage training and provide multiple opportunities for growth and advancement. We need to want the best for our team members and make it easy for them to succeed.
We all want to succeed in life. We want to respect our boss and the company where we are employed. A company should want the same thing. We, therefore, want to find a place where success is easy and imminent, and failure is almost impossible. Sadly, I found a company where it was easy to fail and hard to succeed. I hope you find exactly the opposite.

Two Words of Advice: No Excuses. 
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Overcoming Hurt
By: Lindy Earl

I don’t have to ask if you’ve been hurt because I know you have. I don’t think anybody gets through this world without pain and I think a lot of pain. People do not intentionally inflict pain normally, but it happens, and damage is done. The longer you live, the more likely you are to be treated poorly or have something bad happen in your life. That’s what it is: life.

I think it’s important to understand that people who have been hurt will hurt others. So the people who hurt you are hurting themselves. Maybe that will make it easier to forgive them. The first step to getting past your hurts is definitely forgiveness. Not only do you have to forgive the other person but you have to forgive yourself. Why? Maybe because you feel you were overly vulnerable and you shouldn’t have allowed yourself to be. Maybe you feel foolish for not recognizing signs. Maybe you’re simply angry at yourself for allowing yourself to be hurt, to care so much about someone that you gave them the power to hurt you. You need to forgive yourself immediately and please try to stop thinking like that.

Going in the other direction, whom have we hurt? I think back to my childhood and the meanness we inflicted on our playmates. It seems that sometimes it was one friend against another but sometimes it was one of them against me and sometimes it was all of us against one another. Any day could bring a different combination. It’s rather sad when you think about it but the point is that we need to get past it. We all have childhood angst in our lives and it can affect relationships today if we don’t deal with it. 

Have you ever liked or disliked somebody based on their name? I have a pretty unique name and a coworker once came to me on my first day at that job and said, “Look, I’m going to have a problem with you and it’s nothing personal. I dated a woman with your name and she broke my heart and every time I hear somebody say your name I feel pain.” I had done nothing wrong but here I was, inflicting pain on someone. We talked through his situation and eventually the two of us became very good friends. 

We can never know what harm others have been through or what baggage they’re carrying. We can observe to see if there are any triggers, but that takes time. Likewise, they can’t know what might trigger us due to our history. We need to go through this life with kid gloves. Be quick to forgive, quick to listen, and quick to understand and offer sympathy. 

You might have to forgive yourself repeatedly before it sticks, and you might need or want an accountability partner. Somebody who will assure you that you are fine and loved and needed. Together you can put the pain behind you so that you can stop hurting. You definitely have to forgive the people hurt you. Until you do, they continue to have power over you and you don’t want that. Truly forgive them. It’s your choice if you confront them about the situation or not, but forgiveness is key.

The good news is that you can, and will, get over past hurts. Time is a great healer. Focus on yourself, the good things in your life, and don’t allow yourself to dwell on your past. It takes discipline and effort but the happiness you’ll find as old hurts dissipate will be worth the effort.

Two Words: What’s Normal? https://www.facebook.com/reel/1619667238477067/?s=fb_shorts_tab&stack_idx=0 
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​Practicing Appreciation
By Lindy Earl

I appreciate owning a car so much more when it’s not broken. Hear me out. Doesn’t it seem that we take our cars for granted, on a daily basis, until the day that they don’t work? Because of the many times my car has broken down over my 40+ driving life, I try to really appreciate the days that my car does work.

Do we always stop and appreciate our functioning home? Yes, the hot water came on when we showered this morning. Our coffee maker performed to give us our elixir. Our refrigerator kept our food cold overnight so we could make breakfast on a working stove. We just expect everything to work and are annoyed if something breaks. Do we give as much time and attention to being grateful when things are going well?

What about relationships? It’s one thing to take an inanimate object for granted, but do we take people for granted? Some jobs, therefore some people, naturally bring praise. Think about musicians or athletes or speakers. It’s just normal for them to hear applause while they are working. I am active in a wonderful networking group and one of the things that makes it great is that we applaud for every person, and twice for newcomers. Yes, after you tell us about yourself, in a 60 second elevator pitch, we all clap. We do this every week. Newcomers receive applause just for being new, then again when they share. It’s fabulous! You feel included and like part of the group from your first visit. If only we could do that in all of life.

Can you imagine getting groceries and applauding when an employee directs you to the correct aisle? I realize we thank them (I hope we offer thanks for the information) but so often we miss even that small act – like it’s our right as a customer to be given directions. I guess it is, but we should be grateful and gracious. Yesterday I shopped at a store I really like and the cashier never thanked me for shopping there. It was awkward and noticeable. She simply rang me up, handed me my receipt, then turned to another cashier and asked if she could handle the line by herself now. I did not feel appreciated as a customer but I did wish her a good day as I left. Should I be thanking my cashiers when I shop? When I have someone especially good I try to comment, saying something like, “You’re getting people through the line so quickly. Well done.” I am afraid that not enough people do things like that, although I know I’m not alone.

What about with our families? One of my children used to ask me every day, upon arriving home from school, how my day had been. I wondered if this was something a teacher had challenged their class to do, but it wasn’t. I just raised an incredibly considerate and thoughtful child. Are we thankful for what our families do for us, or do we simply expect laundry to be done and meals to be cooked and lawns to be mowed? I realize as children we take things for granted, but as we mature maybe we can notice and show appreciation a little more often. A simple word, maybe a note, even a small gift that shows our appreciation would certainly be appreciated. Ha – appreciation for appreciation. What a wonderful circle that would be.

New thought: Situations seem to be more positive when we aren’t in the middle of them. It’s good to remember the good, but a little reality might help. For instance, when I’m in-between relationships I remember all the good parts and want to date again. It’s when I’m alone that I recall all the good, but tend to forget the challenges that caused the breakups. Life would simply be better if we could truly appreciate the good things we have when we’re in the middle of them, rather than focusing on small issues. A friend is going through a break up and the reasons seem insignificant to me, but they were important enough to end a long term relationship. I can only hope that the couple appreciated what they had when they had it.

Doesn’t it seem that your house stays clean until the minute before guests arrive? I declare that this has happened to me too many times! I keep a decent home – uncluttered, swept, and dusted. The minute a guest arrives, however, it seems that I look around and see water glasses everywhere and a quarter inch of dust that I hadn’t noticed for the last – what? Six months? I dusted! I promise! So maybe I should focus on my friend’s visit, and not the state of my house. Maybe I should appreciate that I have a lovely home whether or not it needs cleaning. Maybe I need to appreciate the many blessings in my life rather than look for trouble.

Life is busy. We are often running out the door, moving from one job to another, multitasking in the hopes of accomplishing more. Why? Let’s take the time to appreciate the fact that we have so many people who need our help and have so many things to keep us busy and productive. Nothing can’t be made worse with a poor attitude and nothing can’t be made better with a little appreciation. If you have negative expectations you’ll probably have them met. Two people will attend the same event, one with a positive perspective, one with a negative, and have completely different stories to tell. Practice appreciation from the first moment when you get up, and adjust it as often as necessary throughout the day. You’ll find others responding to you in a positive way and you’ll find yourself happier for being appreciative.

          Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Chaplain. Contact her at [email protected] or find her on Face Book or Linked In

Two Words of Advice: No Fear. We hope you enjoy this very short video.

Humor at Work
By Lindy Earl

I was in a large meeting at work the other day when the guy next to me yelled out a comment. Nobody responded. Some people probably didn’t hear him because the room held about 50 people and nobody expected him to yell a comment. Some people probably heard him but couldn’t discern what was said. Those of us around him, however, heard him and understood him, and still didn’t respond. The poor gentleman had tried to make a humorous remark, but it simply wasn’t funny. Thus, no response.

It would have been fine if it had ended there. Come on, we’ve all made jokes that just didn’t fly. It’s happened since the beginning of time. There is no shame in having your comment, that you thought was funny, simply bomb. In truth, people allowed it to bomb gently. Nobody gave him a hard time or mean look. Nobody responded with a scathing response. 

Sadly, this man did not allow it to stop there. He then made a comment, loudly enough for those around him to hear, that the people in the room didn’t understand his joke. Not that they didn’t understand what he said, which I’ve acknowledged, but that they were incapable of understanding his meaning. Yes, we did. We got it. It simply wasn’t funny. It wasn’t. It was an obvious, awkward comment that was better left unsaid. Even more, the entire situation was better left alone but he insisted on blaming the people in the room for being too feeble to understand his comment. As I said, that wasn’t the case. We got it. We ignored it because it wasn’t funny. That’s allowed! Yes, he’s allowed to huff and puff about not getting a laugh, too, but should he?

Humor in the workplace can be very difficult. As a professor I taught my students that no matter what jokes were being made around the office, especially with clients present and even if they were the ones making the jokes, they had an obligation to themselves and to their employers to never tell a dirty joke. It is simply unprofessional. 

What about dad jokes, or bad puns, at work? There is one person who consistently tells very bad stories that he considers humorous but I don’t. I like wit! His stories lack wit. They are often puns and real groaners. I do my best to absent myself when he is around because I do not want to be subjected to his comments and be expected to laugh at something that I simply do not consider funny. He can make his comments, I can avoid him. I can also choose to never recommend him to clients because I don’t find him to be very professional.

Humor at work is like walking a tightrope. In addition to only telling appropriate jokes (and who’s to determine what’s appropriate except the listener?) the timing is also important. I was on a business trip once where our host kept making jokes and distracting us from the work at hand. We all went along with it, for a while. After a few days, however, we needed to get serious. We had work to do and needed information. This guy had started a great relationship with us when it was all fun and games, but when it came time to work, he suddenly wasn’t so useful. He got upset when people focused on work and wouldn’t allow themselves to be distracted. It was nothing personal, but we were trying to be professional at a time when he wasn’t. 

Humor is a huge asset when used correctly. Joking around can diffuse and de-escalate a touchy situation. Humor can gently point out that nerves are stretched a bit thin and can allow everyone a chance to breathe and reassess the situation. Laughter can make a long, long day at least a little bit better. 

A sense of humor is often at the top of a person’s list of things desired in a partner. Why would it be different with a work partner? We all enjoy working with and around certain people, and I think you’ll find it’s often the people who make us laugh. Of course, not always. Sometimes we need the efficient employee, or the one who thinks outside of the box. Sometimes, however, we just enjoy working with people who keep things light and get us through our workday with some smiles.

Humor at work, or anywhere else, is a good thing. Use it well. Enjoy it. Know what’s funny and when it’s okay to say it. If your joke falls flat, accept it and don’t get angry. I would suggest not blaming everyone around you for not understanding. If you’re the only person who finds something funny then maybe you need to find friends, or colleagues, with the same sense of humor. You’ll find your crowd elsewhere. That’s okay too.

Two Words of Advice: Your Tone. https://www.facebook.com/reel/710622197135419/?s=fb_shorts_tab&stack_idx=0 I hope you enjoy this very short video.

Frazzled. I hope you enjoy this video but can’t relate to it since it’s about being frazzled. https://youtu.be/8k2OhutO64U

Positive Words
By Lindy Earl

Do you remember hearing about naughty words? Or 4-letter words? As children, it was so risqué to utter these words aloud, amongst your closest friends who might giggle or gape in awe. In time you realized that those words were nothing special. In fact, the words often show a limited vocabulary. Sadly, vulgar words have become so commonplace in our society that they carry very little meaning.

As a child I read a book where it was claimed that 4-letter words were not bad words. They were just factual. There is some truth in that. The f-bomb was made naughty as it’s used as a curse. The actual word is just a word. The author then shared a list of what s/he (I have no idea of their gender) considered bad words and the two I remember are war and hate. I like the concept.

There are great, powerful words in every language. What are some of the more powerful words you’ve heard and experienced in your life? How about these: purpose, productive, work, stamina, effort, accept, communicate, action, community, and love. Those are just some first thoughts.

In every experience when I intentionally intertwined those words into my daily habits I’ve had great outcomes. We all need a purpose, and that purpose can change in different seasons of our life. At first our purpose was to learn to function in a family unit. Then to successfully integrate with others in social settings and learn. Then to choose our careers and become productive members of society who could provide for ourselves and our families. It then became our purpose to help others (children as well as colleagues) on their journey to become productive members of society. 

In order to be successful on these journeys, words like effort, stamina, communication, and community make a huge difference. Could you be successful without these words? Maybe, but probably less so. If you think of the people you respect for their work accomplishments, words like lazy, indifferent, and uncaring never come to mind. You don’t even want people you would describe with those words as friends, let alone colleagues. 

Think about the people you like and admire. What words would you use to describe them? They can, but don’t have to, be people you know. Think of a celebrity or an athlete. Think about your teachers. Think about coaches and neighbors and colleagues and bosses. Then ask your friends and colleagues to share words about you. Take all these words and choose some of the positive words on your list and ask yourself if they truly describe you. If they do, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, what changes do you need to make, or even just minor tweaks, to earn those accolades? 

There’s another list of words that aren’t naughty, but negative. We mentioned a few, but could add more: distracted, irresponsible, lacking integrity. Start now to delete any negative words that could refer to you – are you a complainer? Chronically late? A poor listener or lousy communicator? As you decrease the truth of negative words and increase the truth of positive words, you’ll find yourself having a great impact on others and probably liking yourself more. We all want people to think of us in positive ways, with encouraging words. You need to be able to honestly describe yourself with positive words so that others will do so as well.

Comfortable Silence. https://www.facebook.com/reel/898161754966799/?s=fb_shorts_tab&stack_idx=0 
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Where Do You Get Your Happiness? https://youtu.be/MtqerfatheA
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Don’t Let Them Go!
By Lindy Earl

In my life I find that it is very difficult to meet available single people to date. I do not want to harken back to college days because those classrooms are filled with 20 somethings. I go to the gym but not to meet men. I am friendly and speak to people in line at stores. These garner me good conversations but I’m not going to meet the man of my dreams in line at Home Depot.

The biggest question I get from readers is where to meet people. It’s a fabulous question! Indeed, where? We go to different places and ask friends to fix us up and even try online dating. We hope and even pray that we’ll find the person of our dreams - our significant other (SO). I will not use the word soulmate.

In the few years that I have been dating since my divorce I have met dozens of men. I had to stop and think about that but seriously, dozens! Many I knew, after a single meeting, that there was never going to be a second meeting. You can say that we didn’t click or that there was no chemistry. It doesn’t matter. The point is that we both knew very quickly that we were not a match.

There were some, however, who lasted a while. These men were people I really liked and respected. I enjoyed my time with them! So why didn’t we stay together? There are so many reasons couples can’t make it work, especially the second time around. We now have distance to consider, especially in a city like Atlanta, which just wasn’t a challenge when we went to the same school so naturally lived near one another. We may have children to consider, even grandchildren. Our responsibilities to our families can take precedence and priority over a new relationship. What are you supposed to do when you are not yet ready to include your SO in family events and traditions? That can be a make or break decision right there.

There is also a question of, in a word, stuff. You have a house and they have a house. You both have things and the question of what to do with all these things can lead to challenges. Do you want to sell your home, especially if you raised your children there? Do you both sell your homes and buy something together or does one move into the other’s home? If that happens will the mover ever really feel like it is their home?

An ex-neighbor of mine had his second wife move into his house because he wanted to keep his daughter in the same school system until high school graduation. The day after the daughter graduated the house went on the market and sold for about 30% less than other homes in the neighborhood. The wife was so eager to get out of that house that she underpriced it and he went along with it. Sadly, she hurt the neighborhood in underpricing the house. At the same time, I can understand why she did it. She had moved into a home filled with ghosts and just wanted out. You have to wonder if it wouldn’t have been better for them to come up with a better decision – maybe get a house in the same school district but not make the second wife live in the deceased wife’s home.

Another reason we let people go is due simply due to schedules and priorities. It can be hard to find somebody whose schedule matches your own. I spoke with a gentleman recently who was about to break up with his girlfriend because she simply works too often and too much. He is almost at retirement age and wants to take lots of vacations and she is not in the same position. This could cost them what could potentially be a great relationship.

Sadly, I think intolerance is one of the reasons people don’t hold onto a good relationship. Hear me out. When we were younger and we committed to somebody I believe that we were a little bit more open minded about what the future would hold. Due to age and experience, however, we are less willing to put up with things that might bother us or trigger us. We are simply less tolerant as we get set in our ways. Another sad example: I know a gentleman who broke up with his girlfriend when she gained weight due to some family issues. Distress just got to be too much for her and she gained 50 pounds. He couldn’t handle it and was intolerant of her weight gain. I’m sure he tried to be supportive. I’m sure he tells himself there were great reasons for the breakup, like he was concerned about her health. The point is that a good couple broke up over something that could have been fixed with time, determination, and support.

The point of sharing all the reasons that couples break up is to say, when you find a good person, do everything you can to hold onto them. Is it a long drive? They are worth the time and gas. Are they close to their family? Enjoy it! They will treat you equally well. Are you trying to figure out which house would be better? Or what to do with all the duplicates? Learn to compromise. Compromise is an important part of any relationship. And remember, it’s all stuff. Do they not have the perfect body? Admit that you’re probably not offering the perfect body that you had as a 20 year old either. Enjoy the fact that maybe y’all can work on that together. 

A good relationship takes a lot of effort. First, though, you have to meet the person. You have to invest in that person. You have to open yourself up and be willing to listen so that they can be honest with you. Then you move to the next step and the next step and the next step. You can bail at any point, but don’t. When you invest in another person and in a relationship you are investing in yourself and your future. Never look back and wish you had done things differently. Hold onto the good things in your life.

Two Words of Advice: Enjoy Journeys. I hope you enjoy this very short video: https://www.facebook.com/reel/516335963934277/?s=fb_shorts_tab&stack_idx=0

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Where Ambitions Go To Die
By: Lindy Earl 

I have no idea why those words popped into my mind just now. It’s the end of the year and a good time to look at back at what we’ve accomplished and how things have changed. It’s a good time to look forward and set goals and resolutions for the new year. Those are both positive things, so why did a thought as negative as where ambitions to go to die pop into my head? 

In thinking about it I can think of several places ambitions go to die. Have you ever had a job that you thought was going to be fantastic but after a few weeks or months, you realize that what you were hired to do or what they promised to pay you, were just not coming through? Having just switched jobs you feel you need to continue for at least a little while for the sake of your résumé. You don’t want to look like a job hopper. So one place where ambitions go to die is unfulfilled promises. Expectations can simply disappear like the steam from your coffee. 

Sometimes it’s not just the job or career, but our own dreams and desires that end up dying. One reason, especially for athletes and very physical jobs, is body breakdown. A broken leg will kill a dancer’s career in that split second. A bad back makes many jobs impossible to continue. Physical requirements that were once so easy in our twenties become more difficult until they are simply impossible. Yes, another places ambitions go to die is physical limitations. Sometimes it’s even in the beginning that physical limitations hinder a career. A jockey or gymnast who grows too tall or a basketball or volleyball player who doesn’t grow tall enough.

What about relationships? When do they die? Can you put a finger on it? I recently set up a conversation with a person in my life because I realized we have some communication challenges. What a gentle way to say we have a problem. Because this person is very important in my life I do not want it to exacerbate and I don’t want to lose the friendship so I thought it would be better to address this minor communication challenge head-on. We set up a time to talk openly and without judgment to see what happens. It truly is just a minor case of communication failure. Sometimes a statement should be said as a question or a question offered as a statement can affect us in certain ways: “You’re going on Friday,” as a statement is not the same as, “You’re going on Friday?” One is bossy and dictatorial while the other is an invitation or request. Minor challenges can lead to large misunderstandings, and hurt feelings can lead to resentments, which can be a problem. In this case, can the relationship be saved, or is our hope and ambition to have a healthy relationship on the way to the cemetery? 

What do you do to avoid the death of ambitions and goals? It would help if we could always identify challenges immediately. If you had known the new project was not going to live up to expectations then you could have gently suggested it go to somebody else. If you had known that the new neighbor, in your office or neighborhood, was going to be a rough friendship then you could have changed your approach and not gotten too involved with them. If you had known a certain word was a trigger for somebody then you could certainly avoid using that word. So we use these opportunities to learn for the future, but we can still find ourselves in the middle of a bad situation through what seems to be no fault of our own, yet here we are, dealing with dying ambitions.

When we have to choose every word carefully lest we offend someone, when we find ourselves back peddling in order to more carefully begin again, when we prefer to avoid someone rather than deal with whatever may happen – our ambitions are sounding a death knell. While we wanted to have a great relationship with our boss and colleagues, while we tried to express ourselves boldly, while we want to get along with everyone we see regularly, sometimes that’s just not the case.

When you find yourself in a rough spot, stop and think about what to do. Should you just allow your ambitions to die and acknowledge that the job just isn’t what you hoped? Statistics tell us that more than half of employees are unhappy in their current positions. I think they have allowed their ambitions to die but they stayed anyway. When you have a challenging relationship – with a boss, coworker, or personal situation – do you give up your hope of having great relationships with good communication? You can. Or you can fight.

That’s my goal. When I find my ambitions dying my plan is to fight. Let me return to my original love. If I’m not enjoying my job, what went wrong? Is it the job or a single person? As I discern where the ambition started to dissipate I can deal with very specific issues, not a large problem. If my goal is to have a good relationship with all my colleagues but I don’t, I need to ask myself is it me or them. If the challenge is with everyone then the problem is probably me. I do not want to let go of a my ambitions and I do not want to allow them to die, so I’ll fight. It may mean some tough conversations and humility, but everything is fixable.

Make a decision to never allow your ambitions to die. Know what you want. Be sure it’s something that you want and not something that you were told you should want or need. When you know your true ambitions you will have the energy and stamina to fight for them. Never allow ambitions to die without a fight.

Two Words of Advice: No Drama. Please watch, like, share, and comment on this short reel. Thank you! 

Chase Your Dreams. I hope you enjoy this video! https://youtu.be/3autIOGDu04

Call a Friend
By: Lindy Earl

Do you love it when somebody calls you out of the blue? I don’t mean somebody asking for a favor or reminding you of something you promised. I’m talking about somebody with whom you haven’t spoken for months or maybe years. Then . . . Bam! There’s a text or a call and you see their name on your phone and it makes you feel some kind of a way. I hope it makes you happy.

That happened to me recently when a person called me after zero communication for several months. They were very kind and considerate, and a little bit scared that I was going to be mad, but I wasn’t. I was thrilled to hear from them and we had a lovely conversation. Of course we did! 

My question now is, why is it so hard for us to call old friends? I understand being busy but if you have time to watch a movie then you have time to call a friend. Make the call. I understand feeling some kind a way if there was a falling out but we have all learned to humble ourselves. Make the call. I understand being concerned about it being so long, and wondering if they’ve even thought of you. They have! Make the call. Consider all the people you think about haven’t called. Of course they are thinking of you too! Make the call!

Since it takes so little to make a call and it means so much I just don’t understand why it is so hard. I am guilty! There are a lot of people I want to call and should call and even need to call, but I don’t. I use all the excuses just listed.

Communication means so much. People need people. There were songs written in the 60s all about it. So I vote that we put aside our worries and anxieties and time issues and get busy. In truth, you don’t know who will be here tomorrow. I actually had that situation several years ago when an aunt called and left me a voicemail and I said, Oh, I’ll call her back tomorrow . . . and then tomorrow and then tomorrow. She died four days after her original call to me. I never returned her call.

There are so many reasons to call, too! Maybe you just want to renew an old friendship. Maybe something happened that made you just want to connect this one time. Maybe you’ve always left something unsaid and it’s time for closure.

With one exception, the experiences I’ve had in reaching out to old friends were positive. When you reach out people will usually receive you with open arms. They enjoy hearing from you. They want to hear from you. They want to rekindle the friendship. You may simply return to only one call every decade but you may actually re-create the friendship. Think of all the memories you can make starting today and moving forward. I recently connected with a friend whom I first met in seventh grade. We were 12! We were friends through high school but lost touch when we attended different colleges. A high school reunion brought us back together. We live in different states but enjoy talking about once a month. Our lives have been amazingly parallel, including children and divorces and now dating again. We have a bond that time made stronger, even with a gap in the middle. 

I challenge everyone, including myself, to start making phone calls. Yes, it’s easier to text but a phone call might mean more. If you don’t think it’s possible, then try writing an old fashioned letter. You can write a childhood friend or a family member with whom you’ve lost touch (someone has their contact information). You can contact a social media friend whom you’ve never met in real life. I am guessing that anyone you contact will be thrilled to hear from you and you’ll enjoy a great conversation, whether it’s a one-and-done or the beginning of a renewed friendship. Make the call.

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Running Past Red Flags
By: Lindy Earl

“A red flag was raised over the Champ-de-Mars in Paris on July 17, 1791, by Lafayette, commander of the National Guard, as a symbol of martial law, warning rioters to disperse” (google). I like learning the origin of words and sayings. Today, keeping to the original thought, the term red flag means to send a warning. In my work as a Chaplain, and working with relationship issues, I hear the term a lot.

Sometimes it’s only in hindsight that we recognize a red flag for what it is. We thought everything was fine, until it wasn’t. Then, as we objectively review old incidents and conversations, we realize that the issue was there all the time, and the red flags are easily seen from this perspective, even though they weren’t clear when we were going through the experience.

More often, however, we know what a red flag is and we usually know when we see them. Sometimes we even have friends point them out to us, like we couldn’t see them ourselves. It’s not that we are unaware of the red flags, but . . . . Sometimes we see the flag but pretend the color is fine, maybe it’s just a little pink. It’s not a real problem, right? Just a minor inconvenience. If only we would be more tolerant and understanding then everything would be okay, right?

Wait . . . how did the red flag become our issue? Yet, one of the things some of us do, when we see a red flag, is to take the blame for it. Suddenly the flag isn’t light pink anymore, it’s bright red and it’s ours. How many times have you found yourself in the middle of a mess that really wasn’t yours? I love adages like, not my circus not my monkeys. It reminds me to run away from red flags, not toward them and definitely to not accept the red flag as my own.

Or, some people pick up the flag to fix it. How many people have you known who tried to save the damsel in distress or fix the guy who is great but just needs a little attention? Can a red flag really be fixed and changed? Absolutely, but only by the person who is waving it. You cannot, and should not try to, fix a red flag for someone else.

What kind of red flags are we discussing? Things like addictions. Whether they are addicted to a substance or porn or even something that seems healthy, like eating very little in order to lose weight, until you realize they are anorexic, these are all red flags. People are really, really good at hiding these addictions. They are functional and seem fine, but somehow something is off. I had a conversation with a friend a few years ago about his drinking. He pretended he only has one beer each evening and asked me, “What’s one beer?” My response, “One too many.” He hung up on me. Looking back I realized how many red flags I had seen over the years of our friendship. It was only at this point that I realized there was a problem and tried to help him. There you go – you can’t help someone without their consent.

Another way we deal with red flags is to pretend we don’t see them. In my friend’s case, I really didn’t see his drinking as a red flag for a long time. We did things where people naturally have a drink – dinner out, football games, that sort of thing. So it never seemed odd to me that he was drinking. Was I aware of the problem and pretending I didn’t see it or was I just obtuse to the situation? Then I started receiving suicide calls from him. That woke me up quickly! That’s when I contacted his family members and learned the truth about his drinking, which lead to my brazen comment. The result was the same . . . my friend died at a young age. Did I miss some red flags?

When we care about someone, we want them to be as perfect in real life as they are in our minds. This guy was just a friend of mine but I still cared about him. I think it’s even harder to see red flags when we are in love with the person. When we are in a loving relationship with someone, another way to deal with red flags is to pretend that they belong to someone else. This means we pretend that the real issue belongs to their sister or a roommate or an ex, but not them. Your Significant Other (SO) is fine so the problems must lie with others in their life. 

I had a friend who appeared to be in a happy relationship, but somehow he found a lot of problems with her siblings. The siblings all had issues, but his SO was fine. Her ex was an issue as well, but it wasn’t her fault. Her children were a problem, but that was on them. There were red flags everywhere but he thought they all belonged to others. From the outside it was easier for me to see that several of the flags were planted clearly on her doorstep. In addition, even if the flags did belong to others, her refusal to deal with them was a flag in itself. Of course, her not dealing with her siblings was because she knew the problem was really within herself, even if this guy was so besotted by her that he couldn’t see the truth.

Red flags exist for a reason – to warn us and keep us from harm and hurt. I know it’s hard to face some issues, but burying our heads in the sand doesn’t help. It may delay the inevitable but is that wise? Wouldn’t it be better to deal with the issue and either solve it or acknowledge that we need to walk away? Walking away gives us the opportunity to begin again, warier and wiser. Don’t run past the red flags wherever they may be, at work, with siblings, or with your relationship. Heed the warnings they offer and make wise choices, but don’t ignore them, pick them up, or pretend that they belong to others.

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Listening for Things Unsaid
By: Lindy Earl

Talking is easy but good communication is actually very, very difficult. Some people are just not good communicators--they can talk a lot and say absolutely nothing. Lots of words but precious little information. 

Why is that? It could be any one of several reasons. For instance, everybody has been hurt in life, resulting in people guarding their feelings, thus being less communicative. They talk, but really say very little out of fear. Others may think they know more than they do, so they share what they know, believing their knowledge is unique when it isn’t, which makes them overly communicative, but poor communicators. Some people make it difficult to converse because you just feel rather uneasy talking to them, so again there is a lot of talk but very little is actually said. There are other reasons as well.

Have you ever been in a situation where, as you share your story, you feel judged? That feeling can make you stop communicating at all. In that situation, we often shut down, which leads to less talking, thus less communication, in future. Friendships wither and die for lack of nourishment. 

Another thought: Just because you can share your feelings openly it doesn’t mean others can. Or maybe you are the person who doesn’t share your feelings well and others have a hard time relating to you because of it. So what do you do when you find yourself speaking with somebody who may not be as communicative as you would like? 
First, try to understand why. Some people don’t share their feelings for several reasons. A few ideas: You need to be sure that you and the people in your life – significant others, workmates, siblings, children – feel safe enough to always be honest, even if it means pain or discomfort. Or it may be that people aren’t sharing their feelings because they don’t want to hurt you. Or maybe they simply aren’t comfortable sharing because of their background. Or some people don’t know how to share feelings in a healthy manner, especially negative feelings. In these situations, a good conversation is needed, up front, assuring them that sharing feelings and thoughts is safe, then prove it by your actions.
Some specific things you can say to enable yourself to be open to healthy and honest conversations:
1.Decide if you truly want to open up to somebody. If you are in a relationship with somebody then it only makes sense to share your true feelings. Keeping your thoughts, feelings, and ideas inside because of past hurts and bad situations is not helpful, logical, or even fair to your significant other.
2.Have an honest conversation with yourself about whether or not you are always completely honest when it comes to how you feel. I was recently buying dessert with a friend and we chose two things that I really liked. I asked him afterwards if he chose based on his opinions or on what he thought I would like. He admitted to a little bit of both. Very thoughtful of him, but constantly having that attitude might cause him to lose in some situations. I wouldn’t want that for him.
3.Have an honest conversation with your significant other and acknowledge that you are either not great at showing emotions or that you feel they are not sharing their feelings honestly. If they say they are then you have no choice but to accept it for what it is.
4.You can listen for feelings. Unless somebody is incredibly careful they are going to show how they really feel through nonverbal communication. If they say they are fine but are slamming things down or they look like they are in pain, then they aren’t fine. It might be a door slamming or even just putting down a water bottle too hard. Notice those things. Make a point of watching others during important conversations so you can read facial expressions. It’s very hard to school your features 100% of the time. 
5.Watch for passive aggressiveness. We are not judging here. If you do notice passive aggressive behavior then you know that they are trying to express their feelings, but maybe just don’t know how to do so constructively. Ask them gently but directly. I unfriended a friend recently and received a scathing response. Very harsh. I know they were hurting so I understood the source of their behavior. The note itself was supposedly bathed in kindness but it was incredibly hurtful. That’s passive aggressive behavior.
We all know the challenges of having great communication in every relationship – at work with colleagues or vendors, at home with loved ones, on the street with strangers or workers. The more effort we make to be good communicators – to know what message we are trying to send and how to send it clearly – the better response we can expect from others. Listening is a key part of communication and sometimes we need to listen to what is not said.

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Appropriate Responses
By Lindy Earl

People know the appropriate response to hearing, “Good morning” is to reply with, “Good morning.” Some people think an appropriate response to “How are you?” is to answer, while others see it as a greeting and respond with a smile and hello while not answering the question. Whether you hear it as a question or a greeting is up to you. A lot of people, probably most people, know that when they hear of somebody passing they should offer condolences. Even if you’re just meeting somebody who identifies themself as a widow or widower it is normal to say, “I’m sorry for your loss.”

Not everybody knows that when you’re meeting somebody who shares that they are divorced it is acceptable, even appropriate, to offer condolences. It was the death of a marriage. You can simply say, “I am so sorry,” and they can respond with something like, “Thank you,” or “It was a long time ago,” or “It was for the best,” or whatever they want to say. You did your job of expressing an appropriate response of concern.

The other question is how quickly responsiveness happens. If the news is recent, then the response should be immediate. When there is a death it is very normal to say, “Let me know if there is anything I can do.” I think a more appropriate response, especially with a close friend or family member, is to check on them, often more than once, until you know that they’re okay. Call them a month later then again six months later. Visit them if you can. Check on them on their birthday, holidays, and maybe anniversaries. Appropriate responses are not a one and done thing.

Appropriate responses perform two significant tasks. One, it shows the person that they are cared for. People need to be treated tenderly during bad moments. Depending on the person and the situation, some people may get past the issue quickly, while it can take years for others to reacclimate to life. If you were close enough to the person before the divorce or death, and you know if they had family traditions, ask if they want to keep them going. People don’t stop celebrating Christmas because of a tragedy, but they may not know how to celebrate in their new situation. If you know the person’s love language, try using that to help them know that you care. 

A second reason for responding appropriately is that it shows what a caring, thoughtful, and wonderful person you are. In so many cases I heard about a death or some other bad news and just didn’t know how to respond. Beyond saying I’m sorry, I didn’t know if I should attend the funeral or not. In one case I had just been hired when a colleague lost their dad. It wasn’t until the day of the funeral, when I was the only person at work other than a skeleton crew, that I learned that everyone had attended the funeral. It never occurred to me to ask for details about when and where, subsequently I didn’t attend, and I felt bad about it. Sadly, something similar happened years later when we had just purchased a house and a month later a neighbor lost their dad. Again, I didn’t ask for information and was surprised when the street was covered with cars and I saw all of our neighbors going over to their house after the funeral. 

Have I learned anything from this? Yes. I am now far more willing to ask about dates and times of services. If somebody does not want you attend, maybe it’s family only, they will gently explain that, but you’ve still expressed your concern. As soon as I hear about a death or divorce, I try to contact someone. In today’s world it’s so easy because you can send a letter, text, email, or call. You can even do all four. Choose what’s best for you and the situation. I’ll immediately make a meal for the family, without even asking if it’s wanted. If they don’t want the entree, they can freeze it until they find a family who does. In one case we dropped a bucket of chicken off at a neighbor’s house. It was the day after the news and family had started to arrive at their house. We were told later that the chicken was very much appreciated because everyone had simply overlooked eating. It was when they smelled the food they realized they were hungry. 

A card is never a bad idea. If you’re not a poet, and can’t think of anything to write, just your name is sufficient. Any reminder that others are thinking about them, again a week, month, or months later, will be appreciated. Possibly performing an act of service will be appreciated. Maybe you can rake their yard or offer to help clean out a closet or garage. Is a small gift appropriate, just to make sure that they feel loved? Quality time is often exactly what somebody doesn’t want to request, but definitely needs. Make the offer. In s story I once heard, a little boy returned from an elderly widower’s house and explained that the two had been being sad together.

I’m unsure why it’s so hard to respond, but I know that it is. Maybe we feel awkward. Maybe we just feel sorry for our friends. Maybe we can imagine, or even know, that we’ll be in the same position. If that’s the case, think of what you would want. Yes, some people crave solitude and privacy while others prefer company. Simply ask to learn what works best. Make a point, for the next several months, to make yourself available. Just because someone needs a minute to grieve privately doesn’t mean they’ll never want to talk.

Holidays can be a very hard time for people. Whether people have lost someone recently or years ago, it doesn’t matter. Be the considerate and caring person you are and reach out, to let others know you care and they have someone who loves them.

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Learn to Juggle Priorities
By: Lindy Earl

How many balls do you have in the air? You are probably juggling a job, more than one relationship if you count your siblings and friends as relationships, your home, kids, and bills and hobbies. You have a lot on your plate! How do you juggle all these responsibilities? It’s a tough balancing act. You can’t just put a ball on the shelf and expect it to be there when you return. Even if it remains there it could be shriveled from neglect.

We have all seen people at our places of work who suddenly have trouble juggling. If we gently ask questions we may learn that there is a divorce or illness. With so much on their plate, they had to put down the work ball a few times because their home ball became so heavy and was incredibly demanding. 

In some situations we intentionally remove a ball for a short time. For some, the fun stuff gets removed, like hobbies. How many of us have boxes packed away somewhere, with the promise to ourselves that we shall one day take up that hobby again? Sometimes it’s important things that we think we have to put aside for a little while, like exercising. In one case it’s called maternity leave. In time the new baby will become part of the family, but the first few months, changes are such that we take away the work-ball to give the family time to acclimate. We do the same with minor illnesses, weddings, and vacations. 

In ongoing life, however, we have to keep all the balls in the air. You can’t ignore your significant other just because you’re busy at work or just moved to a new house or a big holiday is coming. Yes, it can be hard to give them the same attention during these times, but that’s why they say relationships require work. When a child is sick, they definitely need more attention, but somehow we have to give them extra attention while keeping all the balls in the air. How?

Sleeplessness comes to mind. When you just have to get things done, you do what you have to do, and if that means less sleep, you learn to deal with it. Of course this works better with short term situations with the hope that a weekend will refresh you. Sometimes, however, it’s a lifestyle change. The hours you once enjoyed between the sheets just aren’t available anymore, and you teach your mind and body to function well on less sleep.

Something we should do, but probably resist, is to ask for help. In some cases you simply have to ask your partner to be patient with you, knowing that the situation will resolve itself in a short amount of time. Maybe you need to request the help of other parents whose children have similar activities. I was always happy to pick up and drop off my kids’ friends when their parents’ schedules made it hard for them. You can even hire help, and not necessarily for the challenge itself.

For example, if you are having a challenge helping your kids with homework because of your job and housework, maybe hire someone to clean or do yard work. Sure, you could hire a tutor to face the challenge directly, but sometimes you want to handle that ball yourself, so you can toss the ball you least enjoy (housework just naturally came to mind) to someone else.

The point is, we all have a lot of balls in the air. They change with seasons of life, but they are all important. You can’t just drop a ball and expect to be able to pick it up without any bruises on it. It may even be irrevocably broken, maybe because you didn’t even realize you had dropped it and it sat on the floor, ignored, for a little too long.

Stop and evaluate everything you have on your plate. If you’re humming along and everyone in your household is happy, then all is well. If there are some balls you need to spend some time polishing, this is a good time to start. If there are some balls you want to put aside, make sure you have good communication with people who could be affected. Use good communication skills as well when there is a ball change, such as a new job or move. If there are some balls that just don’t belong, because you take on too much, then toss them to someone else and don’t be talked into catching them again. 

We all have a lot of balls in the air. After evaluating which ones really belong, which ones we might want to remove (temporarily or permanently), and what balls we might want to add, then take action. Now is the perfect time to make sure you are a proficient juggler. 

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Be Like a Child
By Lindy Earl

How many times were we admonished to grow up during our early years? Well, things change and now I’m encouraging you to – grow down? Seriously, children have such simplistic ways to view the world, and I think we need to imitate them more often. It’s more than just thinking outside of the box. I have a seminar I give on thinking outside of the box, and it has always received a great response. Still, there’s another side to it.

If I asked you to put these words in alphabetical order, what would you write? Cake, Love, Happy, Give. Just four random words. Your list would probably look like this:

That makes sense, right? What about this:

The first list is what we were taught and consider a logical response to the question. The second list puts each word in alphabetical order, which was requested, right? Interesting, but who thinks like this? Children. It’s a true story. Think like a child.

When did you stop dancing in public? Kindergarteners will dance with abandon. They hear music and start moving, not worrying, or even thinking, about what others might think. In fairness, little ones are used to being watched, and being admired for just being themselves. Little children just need to exist to bring adults happiness. As we grew older, we suddenly became aware that people were watching us, maybe even laughing at our antics, and started dancing more conservatively. When I was 10 years old, my dancing was basically just swaying to the music, in fear of being ridiculed for any unique dance moves. (It didn’t work. Everyone took their turn being laughed at for their dancing, even those of us who barely moved.) 

When I was very young, if someone had joked on me about my dancing, I might not have cared. I would have danced like nobody was watching even if they were. That’s how children dance. Be like a child.

What about public speaking? It’s the number one fear in America. Why? Is it a fear of sounding foolish, or making an error? Is it the idea of feeling naked in front of our peers? Of not making a good impression? I don’t know. Yet I vividly recall the time of Show and Tell in Kindergarten and First grade. Those were the best days! You got to bring a toy or something to school and get up in front of the class and tell everyone about it. We loved it, from both the talking and listening sides. Why didn’t it last longer than two years? Show and Tell was so great! Yet, when Show and Tell became, give an oral report, it was suddenly daunting and horrible. 

In eighth grade everyone in History class had to memorize the preamble to the Declaration of Independence then stand up in class and recite it, one by one. I joked on a friend that I was going to get up and practically shout it, really emoting my way through it, with dramatic pauses and everything. Nope. Like every other student I stood up, mumbled my way through it, then sat down, thanking the Lord it was over. I think our teacher gave us all Cs and told us what a lousy job we did. Ouch. She said, after the fact, that we should have recited the words with meaning.  

What inside of me made me want to originally recite with enthusiasm? Why did I squelch my natural inclination? We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. Not a hard sentence to start, so why was I so stressed? Why was I embarrassed to recite the same paragraph every other student had shared? I just don’t know. I think if I had learned it as a 5 year old, I would have run around the playground shouting it at the top of my lungs . . . THAT THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS – Hey, Mary, want to go down the slide? . . . THAT AMONG THESE ARE LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. I could have done that at five years old, but at 13 it was all I could do to stop my knees from shaking. I wish I had been like a child. 

When did we learn to separate ourselves into groups? We were separated by gender from an early age, but I think that was logical based on lines to the bathroom. As children, we didn’t care what color others were. We didn’t care if someone had a lisp. Our neighbor wore a leg brace for a while, but it didn’t stop him from keeping up with us. He was just another kid. When did we start judging people based on their clothes? Who decided who was popular, and why?

My daughter, now an adult and a mom herself, taught me a huge lesson when she was a few months old. When you take a baby to the store – back then it was a mall – people will stop and smile and comment on the child. My daughter smiled at EVERYONE! She didn’t care, at a few months old, if the person was heavy or skinny or wearing a gorgeous coat or was without a warm sweater. She smiled at everyone! People I may have passed without really seeing, she saw! Her smile was so infectious that it made people smile back, then smile at me, so of course I had to return the smile, then suddenly I was chatting with people. If only I could meet people so easily today! Be as open as a child!

As a Chaplain I work with a lot of singles who don’t understand why they can’t meet anyone. These are great people who would make great partners. The number one challenge is actually meeting other singles. When I’m in a meeting I have trained myself to walk up to people I don’t yet know and put out my hand. It’s very hard to ignore a proffered hand. In some of my seminars I ask the first row to ignore my hand when I put it out to be shaken. They tell me how hard it is to ignore it, and some just can’t and have to shake my hand. I can put myself out there in a closed environment, but wouldn’t dream of doing so in a public place. Imagine going to a park and just walking up to someone and putting out your hand. I can’t today, but as a 5 year old I probably would have scampered right up to a stranger and started a conversation. I need to be as warm and welcoming as a child.

Make a point of watching children. Observe and learn how they interact. Try to imitate their lack of reserve and be as open as they are. You can do this at work or in public places. Then practice being as accepting and loving as children. Be willing to answer a question in a unique way, such as putting words in alphabetical order. It might be a new way to think, but it’s a good way to think.

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All Alone 
By Lindy Earl

It’s hard being alone. It was hard in our teens and twenties and doesn’t get any easier with age or after a divorce. At least when we were single the first time we knew where we could meet people. We were surrounded by other single people when we were in school. We had lots of single friends. When there was a movie you wanted to see, you could find a friend to go with you. Social calendars were full, even if you weren’t dating anyone. I even had an agreement with one girlfriend, that if either of us were invited out on a night that the two of us had plans, we were allowed to bow out and take the date. It seems rather rude today, but it worked when we were 20-something. 

Time passes and things change. You got married. Everyone else got married. Kids came along. Life was busy, all about parenting and working and homemaking and making memories. Great times, right? Our friends suddenly became couple friends. In many cases, my kids had friends at school and I became friends with the moms, then met the dad, then we suddenly had a new family as friends. All was good.

Then things changed. Maybe there was a death or divorce. Our children are now older and don’t need us to oversee homework and transport them to various activities. Time talking with other parents decreases until it dries up completely. No more choir and band concerts or sporting events to attend. Just when you needed an outlet, a way to meet new people, you lost the contacts you had.

It’s hard to meet people, even people of the same gender. When you were a couple, there were lots of couples around. Now that you’re single, there are still lots of couples around. Nothing is lonelier than being alone in a crowded room. Yet here you are, amid hundreds of people at work, at church, at events, even at stores, and it seems that every single person is half of a couple . . . except you.

Our world expects people to paired. I can’t tell you how many times people assumed I was married to the person I was with. I happen to have as many male friends as female friends, and I love sports, so it’s not surprising to see me out with guy friends watching football. I’ve had people ask me to have my husband . . . um, wait. No ring. I’m unmarried (I like the word unmarried better than single or divorced), but what do you want me to ask the guy next to me? Should I even bother to correct the person? Not all the time, especially if I’d never see them again. After a while some friends and I were able to just laugh about it.

Some people do fine when alone. As an introvert, my alone time is precious because that’s when I recharge. Some tasks are simply easier when alone – for instance, writing. Yes, I can write in a room filled with people, but it is often easier when I am alone and undistracted. Other things, however, are easier and more fun with others. I love watching football, but I prefer watching with friends. I’m happy to clean my house or take care of my lawn, but it simply feels better to have others working with me. Yes, whether you’re working at home or in an office, it’s nice when you’re not alone. Reality, however, doesn’t always work out that way.

Being alone can be hard, but we can make it easier. First, prepare yourself. I was recently alone for Thanksgiving Day. Yes, I could have finagled an invitation, but it just worked out that I was going to be alone and I decided to embrace it. I planned several fun projects, along with some less fun tasks from my get-to-do list. Knowing the day was all mine, I could wake when I wanted, eat what I wanted, work on what I wanted, and did so when I wanted to do it. I could spend too much time on one project, knowing it would only affect me. So after preparing for my alone time, I embraced the time. (It was great, although I admit to feeling some kind of a way by the end of the day.)

After preparing and embracing, make a decision and put forth the effort to enjoy yourself. If that means you need to skip exercise and eat some unhealthy foods once in a while, so be it. If it means you spend a lot of time on the phone, or binging, or reading until you forget that you live in the 21st century, that’s okay! Enjoy yourself!

Even while we can prepare for our alone time, embrace and enjoy it, I still think we should limit it. This means that we need to make an effort to be around others. It’s not always easy. You might have to call several people before you find someone with a similar schedule and similar interests. You might have to tread into new territory, maybe a meet up group, where you’ll have to walk in not knowing anyone. You might want to call old friends and renew friendships that have gone by the wayside. Maybe you need to practice eating out at a nice restaurant, all by yourself. A friend taught me, if I needed to eat out, to sit at the bar of a nice restaurant. If nothing else, the bartender will chat with you. It gets you out of the house and you may or may not make a new friend. If you do then you’ll know you enjoy the same type of eating establishment.

Last, give yourself time. When you find yourself alone, whether it crept up on you slowly by children moving away one by one, or quickly through a death or divorce, it takes a minute to learn how to put yourself out there again. It may not go well at first, but it does get easier, and more fun, with practice. Have few expectations of yourself and others so that you don’t have to deal with disappointment. I think that being alone is inevitable for many, if not most, of us. Still, we can learn to prepare, embrace, and enjoy our time alone, even while taking steps to have more time with friends. Others like you are out there, hoping you’ll make contact soon. So go do it!

Two Words: Too Much. https://www.facebook.com/reel/562407809054224/?s=single_unit 
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Upside Down. Please watch, like, and share a comment about our video, and please subscribe to this channel. 
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Life is Unfair
By Lindy Earl

This is an interesting time of year, the week of Thanksgiving, to post a blog about life being unfair. This is the time to give thanks for all of our blessings, right? When you find yourself saying, “It’s not fair,” you’re probably right. Life isn’t fair. It isn’t fair in a variety of ways. 

Sometimes life isn’t fair because you did everything right – and still lost. You studied for that test, you prepared an amazing project, you were a perfect spouse. Yet, you flunked the test, were overlooked for a promotion, and ended up divorced. Life isn’t fair.

Something I have noticed, however, is that people notice when life is unfair in what we perceive as a negative way. We are less likely to notice how unfair life is when good things come to us.

How about those times that you happened to be in the right place at the right time, and received some major blessing with a little less effort than expected? Think about the times when you took a chance and things just fell into place – was life fair, or especially good at the moment? Maybe life was being unfairly positive.

I heard the line once: If life was fair we would all spend a year in a wheelchair. Think about that. Some people spend their entire lives with impediments. Is that fair? Do we even attach a word like fair to their situations?

What about royalty? If life was fair, returning to the idea of the line above, wouldn’t we each get to spend a year living as princes and princesses? Is it all just accidents of birth?

Can we create our own luck, in an effort to make life more fair? I like this adage: The harder I work, the luckier I get. So is it unfair that someone else received the promotion, or did they work harder behind the scenes?

If the promotion came purely based on family relations and nepotism, you may be right calling life unfair. If, however, the promotion came because of things you can’t see – their early mornings, late nights, working through lunches – then maybe they did deserve the promotion and life isn’t unfair. It gave them what they deserved.

Understand that when someone else receives what you think should be yours, that maybe you just used your time in different ways. You didn’t receive the job because you chose to attend your children’s sporting events, and choir presentations, and helped your spouse with household chores. So while you may not have received something you desired, you received a whole lot of something else that is, ultimately, better.

Is life fair? Probably not. The best thing you can do is to learn to accept that. Also realize that life tends to even itself out. Bad things happen to good people, but good things happen too, whether or not they are earned and fair. Even if things seem lousy and unfair at the moment, it won’t last. It never does.

My line: The fair is something that comes to town once a year, bringing rides and games. I don’t think my kids especially appreciated hearing that when they were young. It’s another way of saying that they were right. Life is not always fair. If you look at the line more closely, you’ll realize that rides and games are temporary distractions. Life isn’t about just having fun, either.

Life is unfair. It’s true. We can choose to accept it. We can choose to acknowledge that life is often unfair in both directions. We can intentionally look for times when life was unfairly kind to us. Then, rather than lament the fact that life is unfair, when we are undeservedly blessed, we can acknowledge that life is unfair and be glad that it is.

Two Words of Advice: Be Thankful. Maybe a little on the nose, but there are some twists in our short video:    https://www.facebook.com/reel/869626024076387/?s=single_unit 

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Choosing to Lose
By Lindy Earl

There are winners and losers in life. And in truth, we are all both. 

Sometimes it’s just a question of chance. Some games that we played as children were truly just a question of the role of the dice. Sometimes, it’s a question of ability. It might be age or size – both simply help in some physical games. Some games, however, were a question of practice. You are not immediately good at something but with practice you improve and improve and improve. Yes, some people have natural talent but even they need to work and practice. Even at the professional level, NFL and NBA players practice regularly. 

As a mom, I never threw a game to allow my children to win. Some would be sad by this admission, but my theory was that, when they beat me fair and square, they knew that they had earned the W. It didn’t matter if it was a board game or a race across the pool. Today, they all beat me at physical races and they know that they had to earn their win, and they’ll never throw a race for me, and I wouldn’t want them to. We all want to win, right, but fairly, right?

Some people, however, actually choose to lose. I’ve seen it. I have seen people walk away from a situation where it could have resulted in a great outcome. It may have been a job, either new or a promotion, where they simply chose to withdraw. For whatever reason, they chose to not play, to not fight, and to not win. I have asked some people why and heard different answers. In the case of one politician, he said it wasn’t worth the toll on his family. Several people told me that, as they advanced in the corporate world, they realized their dreams had changed and they preferred time at home to the next level at work, which would have been too demanding. In some cases, it was fear. In some cases it was the fear of losing and being embarrassed, even ashamed, of their loss, so they found it better to not try. In other cases it was a fear of winning, and having to work up to people’s expectations. So they chose to lose.  

 I have seen people walk away from what could be a wonderful relationship. In a world that was built for two, I have a hard time understanding why somebody would walk away from a good relationship. Now, good is a key word here. I am not addressing abusive marriages or unhappy unions. I’m talking about a relationship that is healthy, even if it does take effort. All relationships take work. 

You may have seen it happen: She was in a great marriage. He wasn’t abusing her or cheating on her but she wanted to find herself and walked away from the relationship, possibly away from children as well as her spouse. In another case, maybe he was going through a bad time and, rather than working through it, he chose to walk away. The sad part is that, as time goes by, they realize what they’ve lost. What’s horrible is that their choices affected other people, possibly for a long time. Emotional and financial ramifications from can last for years. 

What’s really sad is that it’s not just that they lost but that they actually chose to lose. They chose to leave a winning situation in the hopes of . . . what? Freedom? A better sex life? A more understanding mate? 

I believe that all those things can be found in a current relationship. If you discern what you need and want and the difference therein, if you intentionally improve your communication, if you truly work at it, you can improve any relationship. You can apply the theory to work or a romantic relationship. Tell your boss, or your clients if you’re an entrepreneur, what does and doesn’t work for you, and why. Enter the conversation knowing what you want and a way to get there. Then do what it takes to make this new job work. In a personal relationship, figure out what part of your life isn’t making you happy – is it a lack of vacations, or too many chores? Have a great heart-t0-heart with your partner and create new options and opportunities, together. Then make it a reality.

Sometimes it does seem that things in life just come more easily for others. They seem to always win – best job, best car, best house on the sunny side of the street. In reality, everyone has their challenges, and we know that. What we show the world is only a small sliver of our reality.

Maybe if we take time to look at long-term effects, whether we’re running for office, looking for a new job, or seeking a romantic relationship, we’ll have a better idea of what we want. Then we move forward, we can do so with confidence. We’ll know what we want, what we have to do to achieve it, and we’ll never choose to lose again.

​2 Words of Advice: Allow Interruptions. We hope you like this very short video: https://www.facebook.com/reel/517223280289674?fs=e&s=m 

Deal with Issues Immediately - a Video. We hope you enjoy our latest video! https://youtu.be/3J4KCXg9SZE 

Two Words of Advice: Say No. We hope you enjoy this very short video:

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Two words of Advice: Trust Carefully. We hope you enjoy this very short video:

Count to 3 – new video. We hope you enjoy watching it here: https://youtu.be/luIkrP57WjI

Helpful Advice in 2 Words: Reputation Creation. We hope you like this Very Short video!

Helpful advice in 2 words: Laugh Often
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Encouraging blogs, videos, and reels - updated regularly. 
REALM, our parent organization, was honored to be interviewed by Clark Howard's team in regards to our Hire a Vet Initiative, a few years back.