Thursday, May 26, 2011

Remember and be Grateful

Memorial Day means different things to different people. For some it is the unofficial beginning of the summer, a shopping trip to find the best sales, a long weekend getaway or a BBQ with the neighbors. However, Memorial Day was meant to be a day to remember and honor our fallen soldiers.
So many have laid down their lives knowing full well the dangers they accepted in performing their duties for our nation. As we go about our busy lives, working late, running kids around, and planning our summer vacations there are thousands of men and women risking their lives for us every day.

With that said, this Memorial Day, I encourage you to:

  • Stop. Even if just for a moment
  • Remember. Mothers, Fathers, Wives, Husbands, Brothers, Sisters, Sons, Daughters and Friends fighting for us around the clock.
  • Be Grateful. For the soldiers past and present that have given their lives in order for us to have our freedom.
Now that I've given you a reminder as what to focus on this Memorial Day, I will leave you with this poem written by Kelly Strong in 1981 as a tribute to his father:

Freedom is not Free

I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze;
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform,
So young, so tall, so proud;
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
He'd stand out in any crowd.

I many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?

How many pilots' planes shot down
How man died at sea
How many fox holes were soldiers' graves
No, Freedom is not Free

I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still;
I listened to the bugler play,
And felt a sudden chill;

I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant "Amen"
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend;

I thought of all the children
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of the fathers, sons and husbands,
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea,
Of the unmarked graves in Arlington,
No. Freedom is not Free!

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Just Say No"

Have you ever found yourself saying yes when you really wanted to say no? You are not alone. Studies have shown that women are significantly less likely to say no then men. More often then we'd like to admit, we agree to do things we'd rather not be a part of.

Family members ask us to lend them money, co-workers ask for favors, stores mess up our order and we feel bad speaking up. Why?
  1. We want to do it all.
  2. We feel guilty.
  3. We want people to like us.
By saying yes when we want (or need) to say no, we create all sorts of problems for ourselves. Mainly stress. It may be a little uncomfortable saying no at first, but it beats the toll it will take on you later.

Saying no helps rather than hurts. Here's how:

  • Others will continue bringing you things to do until you say no. Ever notice that one person that always gets stuck doing most of the work? By saying yes all the time you may end up being dumped on. Try, "I'll get back to you" - giving yourself time to think allows you to decide it this is something you truly want to do.

  • Ever say, "I'll try to be there" when you have no intention of going? By telling someone you will try to do something or be somewhere only to be a no show, you are hurting your reputation as being some dependable. Be direct, "I can't make it" or "I don't enjoy that sort of thing" Excuses aren't necessary

  • Taking on more then you can handle by saying yes can prevent us from showing our true potential. Ever wrap up working on a project quicker then you would like because you have to move on to the next task, only to have your boss tell you the project you presented wasn't all they had hoped for? Saying no allows us to concentrate our abilities better. "I can't commit to that right now" Honesty is still the best policy.

Learning to say no is an important part of keeping balance in your life. Saying no won't be easy if you become accustomed to saying yes all of the time. Like anything else, it gets easier with practice so get out there and start practicing! Have you said no and found it a relief? Leave a comment, let me know how saying no has helped you...