Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When to Put Yourself In Time Out

Stress is an unbelievable thing when it bears down on us all. It can come in the form of work overload, home life financial issues, emotional scars and get opened up, or just plain exhaustion from all of life's challenges. Pressures from many different angles can bring the worst out in all of us, but there are healthy ways to deal with it and go on with life. We don't have to take this stress out on other people (easier said than done, I know).

Ev and I have a fun way of dealing with this. We put ourselves in a time out and take some time to reflect on why we're upset. We don't each go to our respect corners and put our noses in them, but we do remove ourselves from the room and just take a bit of downtime, then meet back up after we've calmed down. This seems to help both of our "bull headed" approaches that we sometimes take. If we take the time to think about where the other is coming from and how we can better deal with the other, it usually gets resolved in a peaceful manner.

As we get to know each other (this can apply to friends, partners, lovers, husband/wife,etc.), we understand why the other one gets upset as well and that usually makes each party more patient with specific situations. If you know what their anger triggers are and you consciously avoid them, it helps tremendously. How do you deal with anger and stress with your partner, friends, family members? I'd love to hear other angles.

On this similar topic, I read a great article entitled "How to Travel the World Together Without Killing Each Other" . I found this article very uplifting and inspiring. The reality of relationships is that no one is perfect and no relationship is perfect. It takes unwavering patience and love to keep it going. It can be done and all it takes is willingness and fortitude to keep it going.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Taking on Challenges

This is a fun topic...right?

Sometimes in our lives, we hate challenges and just want to norm to come back. I know I sometimes feel that way. But the norm gets boring and we all like a bit of a road block to steer around from time to time, or a nice incline to get up so we can see the road ahead (a lot of alliteration, I know). Challenges keep us happy and healthy and make us grow. They force us to reconsider the mundane and trivial things in our life, and even the big picture as well.

My challenge right now is trying to balance a work life that I've enjoyed for a long time, with a company that I'm frustrated with. I've found that some of the ideals and morals that I believe in, aren't exactly the same within my corporation that I work for. This can be common when we're subjected to corporate America, but it gets very tiring when the company you work for puts themselves and their interest (monetarily and otherwise) above all of their most important asset: their employees. I see this time and time again with large corporations like Walmart, and other banks or large conglomerates, but haven't had to deal with it as much until now. My previous employer (prior to being bought out) was not as blatant about being in it for number one.

So, what I've done to vent and deal with my frustration is focus solely on my music. I've been composing and playing like crazy. I love it and am glad that it's become a huge focus again. I've never stopped playing music, it's just that sometimes I don't feel inspired to write and compose, but right now I do. I'll take it while it's here.

My challenge has been to grow as a musician and to deal with the challenges at work the best I can. I'm doing my part in the way I feel is right and that's all I can do. If I get to a point where I feel that I don't belong, I will leave. It's that simple. I'm not there yet, thankfully. I'm hoping that it's just temporary and will pass.

What are your challenges and how have you overcome them? How do you grow from them?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Planting Your Seeds

Hey all,

Another snow day today here in central Indiana. We've gotten a crazy amount of snow in the last month and today we got 3 more inches. Plenty of precipitation!

Evelyn has been planting her seeds for the vegetable garden already and the little seedlings are starting to sprout in the trays that she has designated for this. It's pretty cool and it's also cool to see her so excited about it. We're doing everything 100% organic this year and I love how enthusiastic she is about it all. She's really the gardener in the house any more. I love to garden but don't take the necessary time to do so. I usually get side tracked by music, running, kayaking, cycling, or something else.

This whole seed planting activity is a bit symbolic at the same time. When Evelyn starts doing all this in preparation for spring, it plants the enthusiasm and the energy that she needs to get through the season. She gets extremely excited and this creates momentum to get her through to the harvest of the vegetables. It's a great thing.

This whole concept can be looked at in a parallel way in many aspects or degrees of life. Essentially, any network that you create is done so by planting a seed with a person (s). This can be a simple as helping someone out, doing a good job at work, joining an organization, just making a new friend, socializing at a community event, etc. You "plant a seed" when you build that connection. This helps you out in so many ways that you maybe don't realize too. I'm sure there are many times in your life that people pull through that you would never have expected to need. People and relationships are great for that.

Here's to Spring and the hope that all the seeds in your garden or life will sprout and grow like crazy.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Do What Works (If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It Edition)

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope this post finds you well. My Monday was great and I've ended with a wonderful band practice.

So, I got to thinking today about how people can over think decisions like doing their taxes, and keeping their "books" in general. There is a lot of advice out there with regards to this stuff right now. It can be confusing and overwhelming quite frankly. The truth is that it's all up to you and what your comfort zone entails. I happen to like going to H and R Block to the tax guy that I've gone to for a few years because he knows my situation and the whole mess that is "my taxes." I have rental properties, self employed income, W2'd income, income from playing music, etc. It all gets convoluted and interesting, but having someone that has done this stuff for years makes it much easier and much less stressful for me.

What I'm getting at here is that do what works for you. Find your comfort zone with this stuff. If you have easy returns, just do them yourself if you know how. If you're not comfortable with that, do like I do and have someone do them for what you think is worth the price. For me, the $300-400 that I pay some to do my taxes is worth it because I usually get the money back in some kind of write off or depreciation that I would have never thought of.

This applies to all aspects of your book keeping too. If you have a system for balancing your checkbook that's outside of using the ledger in your checkbook, keep doing it. I find that an excel spreadsheet works for me and then I just balance it up with my online statements and online balances. That's what works for me. What works for you for your book keeping? I think of it this way: If it's too tedious and I'll never get back to doing the task, then it's not for me. The excel spreadsheet is laid out very simply and it works for me because it's easy. If it was time intensive and difficult, I frankly would not do it.

Good luck with this tax time and I wish you all the best!