“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine.” – Dwight L. Moody
Get Your Hands, Eyes, and/or Ears On This Book
Continuing the Focus of 2015: Building a Happier Family!
A while back, I downloaded an interesting sounding e-book, People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys (Kindle edition link) by Mike Bechtle. I fell in love with the cover image Come on, who wouldn’t be? It’s a duck. In a snazzy jacket with a whackadoodle hat.
And can we talk about the fact that he has green hair?
The title is, to be honest, what initially caught my eye. Even before the duck. The title reminds me of a something I always said to my three daughters while they were growing up. I don’t know about where you live, but in Kentucky we have a popular saying, “He’s getting my goat…” or “That really gets my goat..”
With three little girls, I often heard, “She just gets my goat…” In one of our infamous, “table talks,” I told my girls, “People can only get your goat if you put it out in the open. If they know where your goat is, it’s easy pickings.”
The title of this book just kind of reminded me of homespun wisdom and it had me at “crazy.”
When doing book reviews, as I often point out, I want to give a great “feel” for the book without giving the entire premise away. If I were to lay out all the brilliance of a particular book right here, why would you need to read it for yourself?
Since I VERY much want everyone to read People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys (paperback link) as soon as they humanly can, I’m going to tread lightly. I hope you’ll stick with this book review, even if it gets lengthy – this book is extra special.
As we continue the focus of 2015 on Self Help Daily, Building a Happier Family, I have to strongly suggest everyone read this book. If you are a really, really busy individual, and simply don’t have time to devote 30 minutes to an hour reading each day, I have a few solutions…
- People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys (CD)
- People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys (Audible Audio)
A reaction is how we feel; a response is what we do. Reactions are automatic, but we choose our responses. – Mike Bechtle, People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys
Like most books, this particular WINNER is available in a variety of formats, so there’s simply no reason NOT to make this the next book you read… even if you read it with your ears.
The beauty of People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys (as it relates to building a happier family) is that it gives you the motivation, information, and inspiration you need to do your part to make your family the happiest family in town. This book is, also, ideal reading for anyone who’s looking to improve their relationships at work or school (or anywhere for that matter) – but since our focus is on families… we’ll just stay seated around the dining room table rather than a board room table.
The food’s better anyway.
As I said, I read People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys on my iPad – so I couldn’t highlight or underline extra-insightful and/or humorous quotes and paragraphs. I could, however, write them down – and I did just that. You never saw so many notes and notations!
…. Your emotions got the best of you, and your crazy person has you dangling in her grip like a bungee jump gone bad…. Mike Bechtle, People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys
True story: One night a History Channel show that my husband and I wouldn’t miss for a million dollars had just gone off. I knew I had about 15 minutes to read a little something before bedtime, so I grabbed my iPad to read from one of my e-books. I flew past PCDYCIFDGTTK (looks like a cat just walked across the keyboard, doesn’t it?) and chose an Agatha Christie mystery I was in the middle of. Why? I didn’t have my pen and notebook with me and I knew that even just 15 minutes with PCDYCIFDGTTK would have produced more than a few note-worthy points.
It’s that good.
For one thing, People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys is a very enjoyable and entertaining read. The author is absolutely hilarious. I’ve read that he’s a popular speaker and I can absolutely see why. GREAT sense of humor. The sense of humor and warm stories about his own family and friends (including precious granddaughters) make for a very, very special book.
A certain passage about the author’s oldest granddaughter reminded me so much of my oldest daughter (Emily) that it’s beyond uncanny. I was delighted – the world can never have too many colorful, detail-oriented, little girls who march to the beat of their own drum. They grow up to be colorful, detail-oriented young women who just keep on marching.
People Can’t.. is also a really “fast reading” book. When you aren’t taking notes, that is.
A lot of self help or self improvement books are good, while you’re reading them, but fail to “stick.” This is not one of those books. It’s fantastic while you’re in the middle of it, and it sticks like super glue.
History brings us to where we are right now, but it doesn’t have to dictate how we respond in the future. – Mike Bechtle, People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys
I will, in the foreseeable future often quote or refer back to this wonderful book. However, I have to give you one of the most profound messages or points from the author and his wonderful book.
Ever read a quote or a passage that is so profound and packs such a wallop that you go back and re-read it… allowing it to wallop you from the other side? Early in the book, Mike Bechtle hits the nail on the head when he says, “Never allow yourself to become a victim of anyone else’s shortcomings or weaknesses.”
I read a lot. A LOT. But it has been ages since a single cluster of words had such an impact on me. When we allow others to impact our peacefulness or happiness, we become their victim. This could be anyone..
- rude servers
- inefficient store clerks
- family members
- toxic people online…. I’m looking at you social media…
…. anyone, anywhere, anytime. If we allow them to remove us from where we want to be —- content, peaceful, happy —- and place us anywhere else, we are at their mercy. Worse, we are their victim.
I guess I’d just never thought of it that way before. Since reading (and re-reading) the words, however, I’ve thought about it plenty! There are a lot of jackals in this world, after all. Not one has victimized me since.
Not even vile online toxicity rattles my cage anymore. If I see someone being a complete jackal, I just thank God that it isn’t my jackal and go about my business.
Book Synopsis: Strange as it may seem, other people are not nearly as committed to our happiness as we are. In fact, sometimes they seem like they’re on a mission to make us miserable! There’s always that one person. The one who hijacks your emotions and makes you crazy. The one who seems to thrive on drama. If you could just FIX that person, everything would be better. But we can’t fix other people – we can only make choices about ourselves. In this cut-to-the-chase book, communication expert Mike Bechtle shows readers that they don’t have to be victims of other people’s craziness.
With commonsense wisdom and practical advice that can be implemented immediately, Bechtle gives readers a proven strategy to handle crazy people.
More than just offering a set of techniques, Bechtle offers a new perspective that will change readers’ lives as they deal with those difficult people who just won’t go away.
How Can People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys help You?
Let’s get right down to it, want to? Why should you get your hands, eyes, and possibly ears on this book as soon as possible?
Because you deserve to be happy. Simple as that.
Yes, reading this book can help you keep peace within your family. Yes, the author’s wonderful advice can help you get along with even the craziest of the crazies, at work or home. Yes, if you read this book and allow it to sink in, you can have the kind of peaceful, happy family holidays you see in tv commercials.
But, just for a minute, don’t think about any of that. Just for a minute, put everyone and everything else out of your mind and only think about yourself. It isn’t easy to live in a world of crazies – they’re everywhere, after all. They can, and will, leave their footprints on your psyche. You’ll find yourself coming unglued, sighing deeply, whining, crying, and arguing with people over the silliest things. If it continues, you may even find yourself unable to sleep or unwind as well as you once did and your health can (and will) pay for the turmoil.
A lack of harmony in your life and an inability to “deal” with the handiwork of a crazy person can affect every corner of your life.
This book will help you clean out those corners. You’ll be happier and, as a result, everyone around you will be happier.
Think about it – if you feel tension in your family or at work, everyone feels it. A tense individual in a room is like a caged tiger. Everyone focuses on the show, holding their breath waiting for the roar.
If you aren’t handling your crazy person (or crazy people, if you’re an over-achiever) well, you’re making everyone around you tense, unhappy, and downright miserable. Whether you encounter your crazies at work or home, you will be happier when you know how to cope with them.
You know I always level with my readers – and I’m telling you right now, this is a book you have to read. This one’s a life-changer. ~ Joi
- People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys (paperback link)
- People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys (Kindle edition link)
- People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys (CD)
- People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys (Audible Audio)
“Never allow yourself to become a victim of anyone else’s shortcomings or weaknesses.” – Mike Bechtle
Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best
Almost everyone is TALKING these days about “clean eating,” cutting out empty calories, cutting back on red meat, and forgetting that fried food even exists. Yet hardly anyone is actually FOLLOWING through.
Why? It’s a whole lot easier to say you’re going to changer your way of eating than to actually do it.
The talk? Easy. The follow thorough? Not so much.
Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide: Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best, from the editors of Martha Stewart Living, might just be the book to help you nail the “follow through” once and for all.
As the back cover states, Clean Slate is more than just a cookbook:
More than just a cookbook, CLEAN SLATE, from the editors of Martha Stewart Living, provides you with the nutritionally sound information you need to shop for and prepare food that nourishes body and mind. You’ll find guidelines for restocking your pantry with whole grains, beans and legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats; glossaries of the best sources of detoxifiers, antioxidants, and other health-boosting nutrients; and menus for a simple 3-day cleanse and a 21-day whole-body detox, with easy to follow tips and strategies for staying on track.
If you’re at all familiar with computers, you now that sometimes your desktop computer needs to be “reset.” Hitting reset gives your computer a chance to gather itself and clear its thoughts!
I had an old Gateway once that would (every so often) get “hung up.” It’d freeze, usually when I was right in the middle of something. It just really knew how to pick its moments. I’d hit “reset” and it’d come back as good as new. Oddly enough, it’d actually perform 10 times better after I afforded it the opportunity to start fresh.
Clean Slate offers readers a chance to do just that – to reset their approach to food and get a whole new fresh start on the health of their body by being smarter about what they put into their mouth.
This beautiful book emphasizes eating clean, whole, unprocessed foods as part of a primarily plant-based diet. There are more than 160 great looking, “doable” recipes to help you along the way. Juices, smoothies, main dishes, snacks, and even desserts!
One of the things I love most about Clean Slate is the fact that each recipe clearly and plainly states whether it is vegan, dairy free, nut-free, and/or gluten free.
While I lvoe the recipes like any self-respecting foodie would, my favorite part of the book is the KNOW YOUR NUTRIENTS section. Within these pages are listed the superheroes of the food world – along with colorful photographs:
- Super Detoxifiers: Foods that support the liver, the “Main Guy” in charge of detoxification. Avocado, citrus fruits, flaxseed….
- Antioxidant Powerhouses: The vitamins in these foods help neutralize free radicals that contribute to the onset of aging and disease. Carrots, dark beans, cloves, plums….
- Inflammation Fighters: The foods with Omega-3s, Vitamin E and other compounds that help prevent inflammations. This, in turn, reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease while soothing the aches and pains from arthritis. Walnuts, herbs, papaya….
- Digestive Aids: Foods that are particularly loaded with beneficial bacteria and fiber. They keep the digestive system running smoothly. Honey, mint, turmeric, coconut, ginger…
While there were some foods listed within each of the above groups I expected, there were far more I didn’t expect. It makes smart meal planning easier when you know what each ingredient brings to the Clean Slate Party.
Other subjects covered in Clean Slate:
- Golden Rules for Eating Clean
- Restocking Your Pantry
- Action Plans for Detoxing Your Mind and Body
- MANY recipes along with gorgeous photographs.
Clean Slate is a beautiful guide/cookbook that’ll help you sort through the maze of healthy eating. You’ll come away from this book armed with all the information you need to begin a fresh new approach to food…. An approach that’ll lead you and your family down the path to better health.
Click through any of the links to take a closer look at Clean Slate on Amazon.
Note: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. The opinions are entirely my own.
If You Want to Be Happier, Drop These Habits NOW!
We are a generation of to do lists, multi-tasking, smart phones, and appointment calendars. We’re convince that the MORE we DO, the happier we’ll be. We think, “If we want happiness, we have to do do do and get get get…”
We proudly wave our “git ‘er done” mentality and vow to do just that. And, of course we want our lunch to go – after all there are places to go, people to see, and plenty of ‘er to get done.
I won’t even lecture (well, not today anyway) about what this does to our health, psyche, and relationships. You get a free pass, I’ll go all mother hen on you about your well-being another day.
What we fail to realize, however, amongst all of our busyness, is that we can have an admirable “To Do” list, but if we keep doing certain negative, destructive things – we’re just shooting ourselves in our ever moving feet.
Think of these 10 self-destructive thoughts or actions as your To Don’t list.
- Don’t put things off. If you’ve been wanting to build a tree house… go buy your lumber today! If you’ve always wanted an herb garden Martha Stewart would be impressed with, start planning it right now. If the thought of something makes you smile, imagine how much you’ll smile when it’s out of your brain and in your reality.
- Don’t let others determine how you feel about yourself. Never look to other people to see your own reflection – you’ll never get the same one twice. Taking a good, hard look at yourself is the first step in the self improvement journey. But YOU are the one that has to take inventory. Don’t let others build you up too high, but certainly don’t allow them to tear you down. When someone else determines your highs and lows, don’t they pretty much have control over you?
- Don’t allow toxic thoughts to rent space in your mind. Here’s the dangerous thing about thoughts – they don’t remain thoughts. They become actions, they become attitudes, and they become words. Actions and words CANNOT be undone. They can be apologized for, agonized for, and can serve as huge weights on your conscience – but they can never be erased. If you entertain negative thoughts about an individual and keep feeding these thoughts with MORE negativity and hatred, it will come out – make no mistake about it. Think of negative thoughts as toxic waste. NOW, how long do you want them sticking around?
- Never “bad mouth” your loved ones to others. I once read a woman’s quote that said something to the effect of how thankful she was that her name was always safe in her sweetheart’s mouth. I thought that was beautiful. She knew that if he ever spoke of her to his friends and/or family, it would be with kindness and love. When we speak of our loved ones, should they not be able to say the EXACT same thing? Are your loved one’s names safe in your mouth? Don’t run people down – especially those you love. Build them up… brag on them! People will make judgments about your loved ones by your own words – they’ll also judge just how much you love and pride you have for them from these same words.
- Don’t make excuses. If you mess up, and come on, who doesn’t – own up to it. Don’t try to laugh it off if it isn’t funny, don’t try to re-size it (up-size or downsize), and most of all, don’t try to put the blame on someone else. Finger pointing is a big pet peeve of mine. Don’t. Do. It. It’s ugly.
- Don’t underestimate karma. Seriously, never ever fail to give karma her due – you’ll be sorry. I’ve been telling my daughters about her (and her keen memory and even keener sense of justice) as long as I’ve been telling them to say please and thank you. Karma can be a rewarding, kind, beautiful seeker of justice, but she can also seem like a cruel, vindictive something or another. Either way, she has an impossibly long memory. You can’t outrun her, you can’t hide from her. The only thing you can hope to do is to stay on her good side. You know the old adage that says the mother is the “heart” of the home, and that if she’s happy, everyone’s happy – but if she’s miserable, everyone’s miserable? Meet Karma… the heart of life’s home. When you make a point of doing the right thing (whether anyone’s watching or not), Karma keeps score and your world will be more harmonious. But when you dodge what’s right in favor of what’s wrong, you’re instantly on her ‘ish list. And make no mistake about it, she’ll get to you.
- Stop doing what you hate. If you’re working in a job that makes you miserable, find another one. Life’s too short to spend it being miserable.
- Stop thinking so much about money. That’s another thing that sort of defines our generation. We never seem to think we have enough money. Think about it this way – if we had more, we’d just spend more. When my husband and I were first married, we didn’t have a heckuva lot of money. When our beautiful daughters started arriving, we had even less. More love, more happiness, more laughter – but most definitely less money. Today, we’ve been blessed to have enough money, but guess what? We still spend it. We simply pay a little more for what we wear, where we live, what we eat, and what we drive. We were as warm, as comfortable, as full, and as mobile then as we are now. I’ll let you in on a little secret too, we were just as happy then as we are now. We’re the same people now as we were then. We laugh out loud at Andy Griffith reruns, get far too wrapped up in UK Basketball and St. Louis Cardinals baseball, spoil our daughters and cats, and so on. Money buys stuff but it doesn’t buy happiness, it doesn’t buy relationships, and it doesn’t buy memories. If you’re sacrificing any of the three in its pursuit, you’ll be more than sorry in the end – you’ll be devastated.
- Don’t nitpick other people! Sorry for the exclamation mark – I just felt compelled to yell this one out loud. How this guy wears his hair, how that woman dresses, what this person eats, how that person talks – none of your concern. Not your problem. In the new testament, at the point where Jesus has risen and is addressing his apostles, one of them sees fit to ask Him about another apostle. Jesus’ response was, “What is that to you?” A very loving and long-suffering way of saying, “Now remind me how that’s any of your business sir….” We get SO off track by looking at what others are or are not doing. They are responsible for their own lives – how they dress, where they work, how they live… Unless it is directly… directly, now… affecting you or one of your loved ones, let it go. Why bother finding MORE things to worry about or be unsettled by? Wouldn’t life be better if one looked for things to be happy about? Also, keep this in mind – if you overly criticize people, they will eventually stop trying to please you. They’ll figure, “I can’t do anything right with this so and so… so…. I quit even trying.” If you kill someone’s creativity and confidence, how does that benefit you OR them?
- Finally, stop doing what isn’t working. If you’ve been working toward a particular goal and don’t seem to be gaining on it whatsoever, it’s time for Plan B because Plan A is belly up. You can either keep wasting time and hope it suddenly flips over and miraculously starts working, or you can abandon what doesn’t work and find something that does.
BONUS: This one is my absolute favorite one… so I set her aside from the rest. A chosen, favored one to be sure. Once years ago, I read a quote that – if there were such a thing – would be my ‘Spirit Animal Quote.’ It said, “All I’m after is a world filled with laughter.” I’m all about laughter and had MUCH rather be accused of finding too many things funny than of finding too few things funny.
Yes, I’m one of those who laugh out loud at commercials with talking animals, and can be found doubled over with tears in her eyes while watching funny cat videos online.
I love to laugh and the sound of other people laughing is music to my ears. Never fail to look for the humor in situations.
Here’s an example that happened to my family recently. I was sitting beside my daughter Brittany in a “surgery waiting room.” She was waiting to be taken back for kidney stone surgery. She was in quite a bit of pain and was almost as worried and anxious as me. Almost. There, surrounded by about 10 other people who were awaiting surgeries, we found ourselves in a totally somber setting.
Then she pointed out something to me and we both had to laugh – a “biker” came strolling through, slowly, and took a seat. On the back of his leather jacket were the words GRIM REAPER. Brittany said, “Oh, great. What’s he doing here?” I told her, “I thought he’d be taller.”
I don’t know, there was just something about the moment that made us laugh. She even reached for her camera phone to take a picture but the Grim Reaper sat down and his chair hid his identity.
We both decided that, yet again, we had proof of one thing – God has a terrific sense of humor.
Just because we aren’t kids anymore doesn’t mean we have to stop looking for the fun in life. It’s there. You’ll find it if you look. Try to find the humor in as many situations as possible.
Laughing beats grumbling any day.
Sometimes we have to STOP doing things in order to START doing things. The negatives just weigh the positives down, so ditch them on the now.
Now, I’m off to plan my epic herb garden,
Failure Doesn't Have to Have the Last Word!
Suffice to say we Kentuckians are understandably proud that Mr. Lincoln was also a Kentuckian.
More importantly he was an American and every single one of us can be both proud and thankful for that.
As you may know, I am completely in love with old books. One of my favorites is Words to Live By (Copyright 1947-1957). This golden oldie is a collection of writings by some of the wisest men and women of all time.
In honor of Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday, I thought you might enjoy this article which appears in Words to Live By. It’s by Reverend James Keller and it is outstanding.
Failure Isn’t Fatal
by The Reverend James Keller, M.M.
Author of “You Can Change the World”
Too often, it seems to me, people lose their courage in facing life because of past failures or fear that they may fail in the future.
One good way to cure such fears is to remember the story of a man who actually built a lifetime of accomplishments out of defeats. The following litany of failures that punctuated his life throughout thirty years is a living and eloquent example of the successful use of defeat in achieving victory.
Abraham Lincoln’s record is as follows:
- Lost job 1832
- Defeated for legislature 1832
- Failed in business 1833
- Elected to legislature 1834
- Sweetheart died 1835
- Had nervous breakdown 1836
- Defeated for speaker 1838
- Defeated for nomination for Congress 1843
- Elected to Congress 1846
- Lost renomination 1848
- Rejected for land officer 1849
- Defeated for Senate 1854
- Defeated for nomination for Vice-President 1856
- Again defeated for Senate 1858
- Elected President 1860
Lincoln’s deep conviction that God had given him a mission to fulfill accounted in no small way for his deep humility and ability to push on in the face of difficulties and failures that would have discouraged most people.
His abiding faith was well summed up in this comment which he made after becoming President: “God selects His own instruments, and sometimes they are queer ones; for instance, He chose me to steer the ship through a great crisis.”
You, too, in God’s providence can be an instrument in bringing His love, truth and peace to a world in urgent need of it.
And with Abraham Lincoln, you too can learn to say, “With God’s help I shall not fail.”
Never despair. But if you do, work on in despair. – Edmund Burke
How to Think Like a Millionaire (Available in Paperback or Kindle)
The belief that dreams are impossible to achieve prevents most people from getting what they want. Their experience certainly seems to support this belief. They get exactly what they expect from life: boredom, frustration, obstacles, and small incomes. People are what they believe themselves to be, no more, no less. – How to Think Like a Millionaire Page 75
I first read How to Think Like a Millionaire years ago. I loved it then and I love it now. Great books never truly go out of style or lose their magic and this is really and truly a great book.
While you may think of it, initially, as a “business-minded” book, it’s actually much more than that. I think of it as a self help and self improvement book in every sense of the word.
Click the following link to read my review of How to Think Like a Millionaire or grab a copy for yourself today on Amazon:
The Financial Effects of an Injury
When you’ve been injured, chances are you can’t continue to carry out your daily routine such as going to work. Time off from work (while it may be covered by disability, worker’s compensation, or medical leave) means money missing from your pockets. Most programs set up to provide some financial security offer you less than what you actually make. Bills get backed up, not to mention the financial expense of having to visit the doctor and pay for any medical expenses.
The Psychological Effects of an Injury
The stress of having to deal with the financial effects of your injuries is already bad enough; however, many victims also suffer personally. When your body has been damaged to the point that you’re incapable of completing your normal activities, it can really begin to wear on you mentally. According to WebMD, some of the psychological effects include:
- Sleep Deprivation – traumatic events can prevent you from getting the sleep you need at night.
- Stress and depression – When you’re unable to pay your bills, missing time from work, and unable to lead a full life it can lead to a bout of stress and/or depression.
- Humiliation – injuries that have changed your appearance or altered your way of life can make you feel embarrassed, less than, and humiliated.
- Fear – depending on how your injuries occurred, it can cause you to be fearful of certain events or actions such as driving, flying, working with heavy machinery, etc.
What Can You Do?
There’s no denying that the effects of an injury can really wreak havoc on your life. However, just as you do what it takes to recover physically, you must also take certain steps to heal mentally and recover financially. The sooner you begin healing in each of these areas, the sooner you can get back to a life filled with purpose. Below are two suggestions on how you can begin reclaiming your life.
- Seek Legal Counsel
If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to seek legal counsel as it pertains to your personal injuries. Personal injury attorneys Hasbrook and Hasbrook state that their clients are often seeking compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Talking with a reputable attorney who specializes in personal injury cases is the first step in reclaiming your life. They will assess your accident and injuries and help you in filing a claim in court. Should the court rule in your favor, the money you receive could be used to pay for medical expenses, cover lost wages, and give you the financial cushion you need to hold you over while you continue to heal from your injuries.
- Consult with a Therapist
It’s true that receiving financial compensation can do a great deal for relieving the amount of stress you’ve been under since your accident; however, it will not take care of all the psychological effects. As such, it is recommended that you reach out to a therapist for further guidance and assistance in getting back on track with your life. Getting treated for stress, depression, fears, and anxieties are the next step in truly getting past what has happened to you. A therapist can help you to sort through your emotions. In doing so, they can help you learn to adapt to the problems and how they have affected your life.
Take it One Day at a Time
There is no doubt about it…accidents and injuries are very traumatic experiences that everyone wishes they could avoid. However, everything in life happens for a reason, and while you may not see it now, there is certainly light at the end of this tunnel. All you can do is take it one step at a time and begin slowly adapting to life as you know it to be.
If you’ve suffered from significant injuries as a result of an accident, the best thing you can do for yourself is get help. Personal injury attorneys are key players in helping you get financial compensation, while therapists are ideal for sorting through the psychological changes that have occurred. As long as you’re making strides towards eliminating the stresses in your life, eventually things will turn around for the better.
Like branches on a tree, we may grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one. Each of our lives will always be a special part of one another. – Unknown
The Bos AND the Carlys.....
Continuing the Focus of 2015: Building a Happier Family!
See the character above? Her name was Carly and she was a pill. A perfect pill. When people see this picture they inevitably ask me, “Was she yawning?” While it’s an understandable assumption, she was actually doing something I called Meow-ling – something she, and only she, ever managed to do… a combination of meowing like a normal cat and howling like a wolf.
Neither of which she was.
More about her in a moment, but be assured, she does have a contribution to make to our Building a Happier Family focus.
Families are made up of family members and these members are each individuals in every sense of the word. If we were all alike, there probably wouldn’t be any disputes, rolling of the eyes, disagreements, or expressions that beg an answer to, “What is with this person????”
Things would be peaceful, but they’d get boring fast.
Carly with two of her babies, Bo and Adam
In the second picture, you’ll notice that Carly is pictured (with attitude intact) with two of her three babies, Bo and Adam. Like Carly, Bo will play a role in this post.
Over the years, I have had far (far, far, far, far) too many cats to even begin to count. However, Carly and Bo stand out from the rest for completely opposite reasons. Their temperaments are also perfect for taking a closer look at our family members and close friends – the individuals who, ultimately, have a large say in how happy we are.
Most humans will fall somewhere in between Carly and Bo – but, make no mistake about it, they’ll probably lean heavily in one direction or the other.
The Carlys of the World
Carly was born into our family over ten years ago. Her mother, Bree, was a very small, dainty, sweet-natured cat. From the start, it was obvious that Carly would not carry on Bree’s sweet tradition. From the time she was able to be handled, right up to the day (years later) when she disappeared, we always kept band-aids and first aid ointment on hand.
Heck, we usually just kept it on the counter – as we knew it’d be needed at some point.
I had it in my mind that the more I handled Carly, the sweeter she’d become and the less apt she’d be to scratch arms, hands, and fingers.
For a span of 6 years, I had ever-present scratches on my arms and hands.
You could be in the middle of pouring food on her plate and SWASH, you’d feel a scratch on your hand. She would purr the entire time – that’s what always amazed me. My little beauty enjoyed tormenting her humans.
Carly’s attitude was even obvious on her face – even from a kitten. She didn’t sit and stare at her surroundings like most animals… she sat and glared. The picture above (with two of her kittens) displays this expression perfectly. Ears pulled back, cheekbones tight, mouth pursed… that was my girl.
Carly would often “bop” other cats on the head for absolutely no reason. I’d watch her as she’d quietly position herself higher than her victim, then gasp as she lowered the boom. The claws were never out when she did her patented head bopping – but the message was always received. The “bopped” was to remove himself/herself from the “bopper’s” presence. They never failed to do so.
When, a few years back, Grumpy Cat became an internet sensation, I thought, “Big deal. I knew the original.” In fact, Carly made Grumpy Cat look like pushover. A ridiculously high-on-life pushover.
Some people are kind of like Carly was. Their “resting” facial expression is a snarl and if they ever have anything pleasant to say about anyone, you all but faint.
Once, an especially bad storm was coming and my daughters and I rounded up Carly and her babies to bring inside until it passed (hoping our inside cat, Prissy, would look the other way for a few hours). I volunteered to hold Carly and thought I just might require a blood transfusion.
They’re what would be referred to as “difficult” people. Those that aren’t always easy to get along with and aren’t ever easy to understand. They may not (I certainly hope not, anyway) bop other people on the head with their hands – but they will try to “emotionally” bop them with jabs, insults, rudeness, snarliness. The end game is pretty much the same: I want to be left alone.
The sad thing for human Carlys is this, one day they probably will be left alone. All alone.
Carly wasn’t always a little grouch, mind you. She had moments when she’d purr without scratching. She’d allow me to hold her as we walked around the yard or even sit in my lap occasionally while watching birds.
She filled my days with so much amusement – I gotta admit, I found her cranky disposition funny. Even the head bops.
(Continued beneath the handsome picture…)
The Bos of the World
Bo. The name should be synonymous with sweetness. This cat was one in a billion. Sure, I’ve had ridiculously sweet cats over the years – including the ones who currently grace our family. But there was just something different about Bo. Something that was decidedly UN-catlike. For one thing, most cats aren’t that wild about being held. Bo would stand up against your leg, requesting to be picked up and held. If he was put back down before he was ready for it, he’d simply request another trip up.
Our youngest daughter would wrap him up in a blanket (like a baby) and hold him and he would purr with delight. She’d lay down with him bundled up and they’d both sleep for hours.
I’ve never known a cat so intent on cuddling and “lovey dovey” as Bo was.
Where Carly’s attitude was decidedly, “What can you do for me to make me happy??,” Bo’s attitude seemed to be, “What can I do that’ll make you happy… because that’s what makes me happy?!”
Something else that separated him from most cats was his VERY laid-back disposition. Storms freaked Carly out as they do most cats. In fact, every cat I’ve ever had hated storms.
Except Bo. He’d just go right on about his business. He’d open his eyes when it thundered and even twitch his whiskers when lightning struck – but I always got the impression he was more amused by storms than annoyed by them.
Some humans are like Bo – uncommonly dialed into a Zen channel. Not only do they not cause drama, they do all they can to avoid it. All they’re after is a world filled with laughter.
And hugs. Lots of hugs.
If you have a room full of Bos, there will be NO drama until… you guessed it… a Carly arrives on the scene.
Here’s the funny thing, though, and something we’d all do well to think about: I loved Carly with all my heart, just as I loved Bo with all my heart. They disappeared (as outside cats in the country often do) years ago – several years apart.
For months, I watched out the window for each them. At any point then.. or now… I’d have given a million dollars to see either one stroll up the yard.
Either one. I loved them equally and, if I had one million dollars to spend on the return of one… I’d never be able to pick one. That seems kind of strange, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t you think I’d go for the one that came with blankets instead of Band-Aids?!
But there you have it. They were each members of the family – warts and all.
We all have to remember that about each member of our human family. There may be things about their disposition or temperament that we don’t identify with. They may come across as snarly at times and downright rude other times.
But they’re our “Carlys” and we’d be completely lost without them.
Tips for Dealing with Carlys
- Say, “I’m not going to be able to change this person.” Now say it again. In fact, say it until you accept it! A person’s basic disposition, temperament, and personality are what makes them THEM. You can’t change who they are… and, can we be honest for a minute? You shouldn’t want to. Accept them as they are and avoid the head bops whenever you can.
- Improve your People Reading skills. When a “Carly” is in a bad mood, it usually shows on their face. Maybe I’m extra perceptive, but I can even tell from the “energy” a person puts off whether they’re in a good way or not. When they’re in a bad way – I simply stay clear until it’s safe. You get fewer bops that way.
- Don’t push it. Imagine that Carly had been in a particularly cranky mood one day. Imagine that, just that morning, she’d scratched both of my arms and hissed at every cat in the county. How many shades of stupid would I have to be to walk out, scoop her up, and plant one right between her eyes. It would have meant a trip to the ER. If someone is in a dark mood, don’t try to “pull” or “push” them out – UNLESS their personal temperament responds to this approach Most do not, however, respond at all to the taffy approach. It just makes things worse.
In the end, it comes down to acceptance and amusement. Accept who they are and how they are and, when possible, try to see the amusement in the situation. Above all, do not… do not take their temperament or disposition personally. Carly loved me more than anyone, and yet, guess who wore Band-Aids more than she wore socks for years?! I knew it wasn’t ME… it was HER. Taking it personally would have a waste of time and energy.
I’d have been a real sap.
Remind yourself that families are made up of all kinds of people. Love them and enjoy them as they are. Any time spent trying to change them or wishing they were different is simply time wasted.
EDIT: It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway – The Carlys I’m referring to are not physically, emotionally, or mentally abusive. People like that aren’t
Carlys, they’re jackasses. What’s more, they aren’t to be tolerated. Period.