Tag Archives: blonde chick wisdom

America First, International Respect, and Questions

I work with a lot of international people. There’s one lady from Pakistan who has a one-year-old son. Her husband is stuck in another country due to political issues in her village. She works for us during her nighttime so she can take care of her son during the day. Today, she reached out to me to tell me how she thought I worked hard having a baby, going to school and maintaining my work commitments. I was humbled at the thought. For her the time was 4 am. For me, it was just a Monday afternoon getting stuff done. She was the one reaching out to comment on my ability to take on so much. I can’t imagine the challenges she faces on a daily basis.

She and I are so different, yet we are so much alike. We are willing to do what it takes for our families. For her, it’s working through the night so she can be a mommy during the day. She loves her son as I love my daughter. I love that I can help her by providing her opportunities

These types of interactions no matter how small are what binds us all together as humans. Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum we’re all just trying to live the best lives we can for ourselves and our families. The challenge is to realize you weren’t created to only serve yourself and your family. We are created for more. We are created to connect as humans and serve a higher calling.

Just as she and I can connect on our desire to create a better life for our family, we all too can connect on the bigger goals we have for our families, our futures, and country. Instead of focusing on our differences maybe we can change our perspective to focus on how much we are alike. We do not have to think alike, look alike, live alike, talk alike but we can all embrace a different perspective. So, when we say things like ‘America First’ are we also saying ‘Me First’? Are we letting our fear drive a narrow-minded focus to serve ourselves before we open our hearts to others?

I’m not commenting on my stance as it relates to the immigration ban because frankly there are so many ways to think about it. Like the fact that President Clinton had a similar if not harsher laws on immigration or the fact that many of the countries banned are not where many of the 9/11 terrorists derived. White males do the majority of the mass shootings and acts of violence happening in America. Any given fact can change a perspective. Any media headline story can shift a country.

The main point is to say – where does the servant mindset come into play? When will we stop having agendas and simply connect with other humans?  How can we be ‘America First’ as Christians?  How can we serve each other, think less of ourselves and accomplish more as humans?

Do you agree? If not, why?

xoxo,

BlondeChick

Bands that Bond Us

I remember the day we found out something was wrong. I could feel it in my gut before we even did the routine ultrasound. The emotion, the worry, the fear is indescribable. I could not form words to pray.  All I could muster was to tell God I was mad at Him.  It was unfair. It was hard to look at those around me experiencing the joy they had with their pregnancies and babies. Why?

The worst is when you feel like you have it under control then when you go to speak – you break. One particular call was with my Dad; I recall being angry with his reaction to the news. He was unphased. He said, “Rachel it’s obviously something you can handle.”  Our baby was our baby, and she’d be fine. Three months later and he was right.

I allowed myself three days to feel. Then it was time to move on. Accept the unknown.

There she was. Born way too early but right on time. I recall looking at her through the box as she looked right back. Her tiny little face. Her eyes were wide open.  At just two pounds and some change, her personality shown. I saw her legs. I saw the scars the bands left. At this moment, I wanted no different. She was my baby. She was made this way. The bands were no longer evil.

Everything about my pregnancy and the aftermath did not go as envisioned. You don’t expect to be pregnant only six months. You don’t expect to get to know your baby through the lens of a Hospital. The milestones you experience are not the milestones you prepare for. One of the biggest moments was being able to hold her with no wires attached. Going from being allowed to hold her an hour a day to being able to hold whenever we wanted.

Her amniotic bands had bonded us before she was born.  We knew the longer she stayed inside; the more damage would be done. Although my water breaking at 25 weeks has no exact relation to the bands it’s proof that even in anger, God hears.

The journey into parenthood did not come easy. I realize it’s never easy. You’re never ready. When it happens, when life throws you curve balls you just become ready.

Her bands have already taken me to places I never saw coming. I know she will continue to inspire and motivate me into the person she deserves me to be. She’s already the daughter I always wanted.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

Do you lead your life?

Most people don’t lead their life, they accept their life. Most people don’t challenge their thinking. They don’t question the way things are. They don’t reexamine their thought processes.  They don’t ask why they think a certain way. Instead, they accept the answers given. They are okay with no progression no evolvement.

Don’t be most people.

Question yourself. Question others. Inspire curiosity. Don’t accept ‘no’ to your ‘yes’. Don’t tell God your plans ask Him. Then listen. Always seek forward movement and reflection. Constantly ask yourself, why. The answers should inspire more questions and the questions should inspire action.

Go ahead. I dare you. Ask yourself, why.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

post inspired by A More Beautifull Question by Warren Berger.

 

 

Keep on Keepin On

Over the past six weeks, life has changed immensely. From having a baby three months early to navigating the waters of my ever ebbing and flowing career. One thing I have been clear on since leaving my full-time job back in 2015 is that I never want to work a 9 to 5 again. Now, that I have had a baby this is ever more important as I never want to sacrifice my time with her for money. I never want to miss an important event. I never want to sacrifice travel and opportunity due to the parameters inherent with a corporate career. All this to say, I’m proud that I have been able to create a lifestyle business by working with and for like-minded individuals.

The biggest challenge has been time management. When given the opportunity to create your own hours, work on your own terms, autonomy is your worst and best friend. All that to say, I have learned (am still learning) a few things to keep the balance while getting the job done.

  1. Keep yourself accountable. Regardless of whether your ‘boss’ requires you to track your tasks and time spent, do it anyway. It is useful for you to know how you are spending your time. It also allows you to track the results of your efforts in relation to the task required. I have used several programs in the past most recently TeamWorks, Trello, and Myhours. They are simple to use and allow for you to collaborate with your colleagues remotely.  I also use Slack to keep communication channels open without having to use email or texting.
  2. Keep a calendar. I use Google Calendar to keep all my personal and professional commitments. I even use it to schedule my gym time, my ‘home’ time as well as study time. I try to follow it carefully while allowing me the flexibility I crave. In doing so, I set commitments each day for the things that I need to accomplish.
  3. Keep a commitment to your health. As noted above, I put in my calendar time for the gym and home. This way I have pre-scheduled the time needed to take care of my health and hearth. I have also recently joined a group that my sister runs that fosters a community of people striving to stay fit and eat healthy. This creates another layer of accountability beyond the intrinsic drive. (if interested in that, you can email her by clicking here)
  4. Keep learning. Never stop reading, listening to podcasts, meeting new people and engaging with those that think differently than you. I have recently started diving more into podcasts. There is so much free information out there from experts in every industry. A few of my new finds are Side Hustle Nation, Tropical MBA, EOFire, & Growth Hack Your LIfe. If you can’t tell already, they are focused on the digital nomad or entrepreneur, which are obviously in line to the career and life I’m creating. I encourage you to read at least one book a month, subscribe to one podcast, meet with a new person or old contact every 6 weeks and spark new conversations. It sounds like work, but in reality, it will keep you focused and ahead of the curve.
  5. Keep your priorities in check. Constantly re-evaluate your priorities. By looking at your calendar and your activity you can start to see a pattern of how you are spending your time. If you start to see a shift towards one thing or another be sure to make sure that shift is in the direction of your goals. If not, make a shift back. Your priorities should align to your purpose. Make sure you are vigilant in keeping these at the top of your mind.

Any tricks or tips you care to share?

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

5 Ways to Thrive in the NICU [or any challenging environment]

Today marks the tenth day of little Lennon’s arrival. Although being in the NICU is not ideal, it’s been a great opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. There are a few things I’ve picked up on over the past week and a half on how to not just survive this experience but to thrive. If you’ve been in a situation like mine or one similar, what things have you learned to help along the way?

1. Positivity breeds positivity

When dealing with a seemingly negative situation count your blessings. It’s amazing what a positive attitude can do for you, your baby, and those around you. Austin and I won’t allow negativity into the room. So when we’ve been tired and start to get cranky with one another, we pause and focus back on having a positive conversation. We even change the tone of our voice! We want Lennon to be surrounded by positivity. When I was pregnant, I wouldn’t even allow myself to listen to negative music. So when music came on full of strippers and hoes or angst or anger, I changed the station. Even now, I focus on putting good in so that my output is good. 🙂 It’s amazing what our subconscious picks up.

2. Keep deodorant with you

In all seriousness, the NICU is warm. Plus every day I’m carting in my tote bag, our meals for the day, my massive Law book and more! So by the time I get up to see her, I’m already a bit hot! Then after my skin-to-skin care with her, I have to peel myself off the leather chair. It may not be cute, but the sweat is real! I’ve also read that after giving birth, you tend to sweat a  bit more as your body regains balance and eliminates extra fluids. Keep it fresh. Your baby and nurses will thank you.

Another quick tidbit is if you wear contacts be sure to pack some solution. If given the opportunity for a quick nap, you’ll need to refresh your eyes.

3. Be nice

You would be surprised at how rude people can be – well maybe not. In every interaction, we try to focus on being kind to those around us. People around here are under a lot of stress and emotion. It’s easy to judge and be critical of behavior especially when you’re tired and dealing with your emotions. When I find myself slipping into ‘judgment zone’ I try to focus and silently pray that the Lord will bless that person. This sounds soo cheesy! However, it helps me regain focus on what’s important.

4. Go home

It’s hard to leave your baby, Period. It’s important for her health and mine that we go home to recharge and rest. It’s that simple. Go home when you can and be sure to take care of yourself and your relationship with your partner. When your home take care of your to-do’s for instance, make dinner the night before or throw in a load of laundry. Each day choose a small task to conquer. Doing so will help you to avoid building a mountain ‘to do’s’ and allow you to focus when with your baby.

5. Get dressed

It’s so easy to throw on sweats, put on no makeup, and make little effort to look presentable. I’ve found though that by getting up and dressed my mind is better focused and prepared for the day ahead. I’m not in mourning. I’m not depressed. So, why look that way? By getting dressed, I’m setting myself up for a successful day. Again, the power of attitude can make all the difference in how we deal with the daily opportunities.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

Define What Matters

I’m on day 7 of Hospital bed rest. It was going fine (relatively speaking) until last night. Out of nowhere I was completely broken, discouraged, and had a suffocating feeling of being trapped. So like all adults do, I called my mom to come sleep here with me.

As I woke up this morning, from little to no sleep, I continued to struggle. My eyes red from tears that had dropped continuously through the night. I decided to take a shower, clear my head, and watch this weekend’s past service. One of the major take-a-ways for me was the understanding of pain and how the joy of the Lord is what will sustain me over these next few weeks (well, and in life).

In defining what matters, my focus goes from myself and to the mission. Quite literally my mission is to provide a house for our baby and to do what the Dr says. Success in life is not the absence of pain, of heartache, or of bed rest. Success is the leveraging of pain. By focusing on what matters, the goal, the mission, I can embrace the pain knowing I am making progress. Every day I am here our baby is making progress. In defining what matters, I can refocus my attention on the goal.

Although my analogy identifies the pain of having to be on bed rest and the multitude of emotions surrounding this, the fundamentals of this message resonates in all areas of our lives. Often, we focus on the negatives of what we are experiencing. We question God and seek to eliminate any discomfort. The reality is pain like failure is crucial to joy, which is God’s will for us. (John 10:10). There is no gain without pain. There is no opportunity for growth when you are unproductive and tired. Pain allows us to experience change, and this alone is a blessing. I challenge each of us to be clear in defining what matters. In the midst of any trial, focus on the mission and not the moment. In doing so, your pain becomes temporary, and your balance is restored.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

Agreeing to Disagree: The Ugly Truth

Lately, I have found myself in conflict whether it’s due to hormones raging, spring rain, or simply learning to speak the truth. I’ll never know. I have always been one to reply immediately to an email, a text, or a call as I hate having to deal with things later. Instead of avoiding conflict I tend to quickly push for it so that it’s over with. To clarify, when I say conflict I mean conversation and not necessarily passionate argument. Recently, I’ve been using less tact which has caused me to be in some uncomfortable situations.

What have I learned from this?  

That it is totally okay. It’s totally okay to not only disagree with someone but sometimes it’s worth the consequence of living in unsettled conflict. Now, I’m not giving you permission to be a jerk just because you have an opinion. Rather, I’m realizing that it’s okay to say your peace, work through it, and then if you don’t come to an agreement to walk away unsettled.

In the past, I would stop at nothing to create a resolution. Sometimes there is no resolution. Sometimes you have to pray and trust that the actions you take and the words you speak are coming from a good place and let that be that. If it’s coming from a good place there’s no need to be defensive, no need to use hurtful words or actions. You can simply speak your mind. Yet, I urge you to pray that the words you choose come from logic and heartfelt sincerity and not anger, jealousy, or revenge. Before engaging in the inevitable conflict wait to respond, don’t rush into it in order to get over with. This is when you can run into trouble for when we rush to act or speak we can say things that are not necessary and cause unintended harm.

Conflict can either create chaos in your mind or it can provide clarity. I choose to embrace conflict as it allows me to stay true to my beliefs, to stay loyal to those I love, and to grow from new perspectives gained. Embrace the ugly truth that agreeing to disagree is simply a mature way of living in conflict without it impacting your life in a negative way.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

Saying Sorry

I ended a career with a company due to many personal reasons. In the ending months of that business relationship, there were several frustrating things that happened. Unfortunately, I handled the situation emotionally and did not respond in the best way. Instead, I let my frustration control my actions. Lately, it had been weighing on my mind.  I decided to apologize for my behavior. I  wasn’t sure what I expected to happen. Actually, I contemplated blocking the response from my email so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the potential negative reaction.

I don’t like conflict, I hate drama, and I don’t like the idea of leaving a negative impression in someone’s mind. I decided to apologize for my behavior. I  wasn’t sure what I expected to happen. Actually, I contemplated blocking the response from my email so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the potential negative reaction.

I received a very gracious response.  A huge weight lifted off my shoulders. A weight I didn’t realize I had been carrying with me all these months. Saying sorry is powerful regardless of who is right and who is wrong. There’s freedom when you forgive yourself and those who may have harmed you. A freedom I didn’t realize I had kept locked away.

This was a powerful lesson for me. I was so concerned with my feelings and my pride. Instead of focusing on reacting the right way, I let my pride lead. Learning to say sorry is the right way to live. Period.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

The Entitled Traveler

This is the story of a lady named Jane. Jane is an overworked mom traveling with her three kids, her sister, her sister’s kids and her elderly parents. Jane packed the family up with each person handling two large carry-on bags, oversized coats, purses, and personalities. Jane is overworked and tired, she deserves a vacation. She deserves a vacation. Jane waits in line, as we all have to. Yet, to her, a line is merely a suggestion for her sprawling family and their overstuffed bags. As kids are bumping into others and nearly knock down the rope that keeps us peasants at bay, Jane laughs disruptively without a care in the world. After all, she’s going on vacation.

Jane is on my flight. Prior to boarding, Jane lines up causing unnecessary chaos as others have followed her lead. No one has started calling for boarding. The airline has to announce three times that they will be calling by row when the time comes. Hint: take a seat. Finally, Jane realizes that this too includes her and that she must wait her turn. While the line again is forming, Jane allows her entire family to go in and out of line so they can handle some last minute business. i.e. run to the bathroom, grab water (you get the idea). So while the rest of us have planned accordingly are stuck waiting in a line that continues to ebb and flow as more of her family decides to join. One family member has been left behind as the others board the plane. Instead of getting out of the line, as most would have done by now, Jane continues to communicate by yelling across the airport to her relative. Oh yes, she’s holding up the line. Once again, we wait till her family is served. We wait for Jane.

Ah, the landing. Yes! We are finally home. We gather our backpacks, the one bag we packed for our 10-day trip, and wait to get off the plane. (Yes, people it’s possible to not bring 5 pairs of shoes). Typically, you wait your turn to get off the plane as people exit slowly by row gathering their belongings and gain their bearings. You guessed it, not Jane. Jane is seated in the back yet, is one of the first off the plane. I was in row 5. How is this possible? Jane had clearly instructed her family to jump up as soon as the plane landed then stand in the aisle to not let anyone else pass through. Jane was in a hurry. Jane needed a vacation.

As I shrug off my extreme irritability, I remind myself that I’m lucky to be where I am and promise to keep my mouth shut. Who knows maybe I’ll never see Jane again. Unfortunately, I’m wrong and run into Jane again with her large, chaotic brood. This time, it’s at security. Yay!

Instead of following instructions, like waiting your turn and putting your belongings on the tray, she rushes through creating a backup as the bins are now stuck. She yells at the airline worker, who is explaining the rules, that she is in a hurry. Well, obviously. The airline worker sticks to the protocol as Jane paces back and forth setting the tone with her family and creating more obstacles for herself. Her entire family gets through the line, but one member is called to the side for extra security. Do you know what Jane does? She approaches the inspector and tells him they are in a hurry and asks if he can be done. This is it for me. In a time where safety is a top priority, you expect that the worker hurries through his job so that you can get on with your life?

As I reflect on this experience. I realize we are all Jane, the entitled traveler. We are so involved with our needs, our wants, and our preferences that we have become desensitized to the needs of those around us. Can you imagine if the airline worker had said, “you’re right I’ll stop and hope that this person isn’t a security threat.” Yet, this is the mentality we have. We expect people to make exceptions for us. We expect the government to do things for us. We expect people to bend to our will.  After all, we deserve it.

In the light of the attacks that are happening all over the world, the attacks happening online, the attacks that are happening in your own backyards, how can you think you are more entitled to freedom, happiness, and love than others? It astounds me that people can be a racist when all humans come from the same strand of DNA. It astounds me that people hate someone for their religion, especially in America, when it was founded on celebrating this freedom. It astounds me that people are willing to create discord within their own families because they don’t agree with something they do or think. Life is too short to live like this. This is not love. Don’t be Jane.

Think of someone other than yourself and change the world.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick