Friday, August 24, 2012

How to Keep Your Composure (Attracting Bees with Honey)

I have a life motto.

I think everyone should have one- and most of you probably do without even really realizing it. A mantra you say to yourself, a Bible verse you strive to live by, a quote you've heard somewhere along your path. I bring mine up often, because although I can be somewhat of a pushover- Some people or experiences will want to drive a gal to drink!

My life motto:
You attract more bees with honey than vinegar. 

As it infers, people respond much better and more graciously to someone who treats them kindly and with respect, over someone who might gripe, yell, and use choice words to get what they want. It has been my experience that I ALWAYS get further being nice to the people I am working with (without becoming a doormat) than getting testy. 

Today, however- my patience was tested. I was dealing with either incompetence, laziness, power trips- or perhaps a combination of all of the above! I kept my composure- as a true lady always does- but with the completely unnecessary wrenches I was being thrown- it was taking every ounce of Southern Charm in me to keep a smile on my freckled, flushed face. (Irritating people have a way of doing that to you!)  

With that being said, here is my list of how to deal with irritating people and get what you want, all while keeping a grasp on your dignity and grace. 

1. Just keep smiling. Don't ever let someone know they've gotten to you.

2. Keep an even, but stern voice. You can smile and still let people know you mean business!

3. Stand up straight and head-on. The perfect "you don't scare me" stance.

4. Visualize your perfect outcome. What is it that you want from them? Visualize it, and don't back down until you have it. 

5. Decide if you are willing to settle for an alternative. Is what you need or want set in stone? Decide in your head what alternative you would be okay with, if any, and be gracious when it comes up. 

6. "Put your heads together." If you can construct your request to be conceived as teamwork, and even as the other person's idea- you're so close to success. 

7.  Imagine your confrontation role model. Identify someone in your life that handles confrontation gracefully and always gets what she wants. For me, it's my mother. That woman is so convincing, she could sell underwear to a nudist!  

8. Shut up. I learned this fabulously successful tip when I worked in sales for a local newspaper. You present your demand or your bottom line, and then you shut your mouth. That's it! Don't keep talking, trying to feel out your opponent- state your claim and stare. You might make them just uncomfortable enough to give you what you need. It works because people are so used to noise that silence slaps them in the face.

9. Walk away if you need to. Sometimes, the outcome you hope for just isn't going to happen. And sometimes, people think they can get more out of you because you are young/female/nice/whatever. Walking away will not only show that you mean business, but that you respect yourself too much to deal with unnecessary bologna.

10. Recap and Learn. Whether your situation was successful or not, there is a lesson in there somewhere. Play it back through your head, jot things down if you need to, and grasp what elements worked, what didn't, and how you will approach things next time.

And throughout all these steps: remain gracious. It's hard, I know (Oh, how I know!) but trust me: it really will get you far in life. Everyone likes gracious people, no one likes someone who is acting like a pill!

So go out there and attract some bees with all your new-found honey, honey!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An Award and A Milestone

This has been an exciting 24 hours for me as a humble new blogger! 2 fun things have happened:

     1. I was nominated for an award by another sweet blogger, Sunni.
     2. I reached 1,000 page views!

These may not seem like much bragging rights to some, but for me- I am excited and honored! It just goes to show that when you do what you love, it always pays off. When I was trying to start this blog, I contemplated a lot of things- what would I write about, who did I want my audience to be, etc. etc. I finally just sat down at my computer and thought, "I am just going to write for me. This is what I love, and that's what is going to draw people in."

So, thank you to my readers- albeit a small group, you mean a lot to me.

 The Liebster Blog Award is given to up-and-coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a German word meaning "pleasant" or "valued." The rules for this award ask me to answer 11 questions by the person who nominated me. So without further ado...

1. What is your greatest achievement so far and why? 

Ooh, that's a tough one. I am still young and have a lot more achieving to do before I die! I would say my relationships, my decision to move to a new city after college and start a life I can be proud of, and my recent promise to do things just for me: this blog included.

2. How do you spend your free time?

I have some of that!? Kidding (sort of). I love to play with our dogs, Sadie and Simon (see below!). I like to shop, read, and hang out with good friends. Lately, Shane and I have spent a lot of time at Lowe's and Home Depot for improvements to his new house- but I wouldn't exactly say that's how I wish to spend my free time. (kidding) ...I'd much rather be decorating with my finds from TJ Maxx!

3. What is your favorite season, and why? 

I'm going to be partially selfish- my birthday is in October, so naturally I love Autumn. But I think it would be my favorite regardless. Autumn or Spring- I don't like extremities.

4. If you could live anywhere besides where you do now, places today or times back in history, where would it be?

I often say that I don't belong to this era. I loved the movie Midnight in Paris because he was able to visit Paris in the 1920's. Actually, come to think of it- I think the 1920's and 1930's are my favorite! Have you ever seen Mrs. Pettigrew Lives For a Day?? Such a good movie!

5. To date, what has been your worst disappointment in life?

Not believing in myself enough to go after certain goals. On occasion, I have let certain people and certain shortcomings come between me and the things I wanted. I know I have made it to where I am for a reason, and I am so grateful for the journey and continuous destination, but I wish I had more guts sometimes.

6. How did you get interested in writing? 

I can't remember a time I didn't love to write. It has always been a great escape and sense of growth for me. I think I would have to attribute a lot of my love for writing to my 3rd and 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Stinnett, though. She really poured into me and encouraged my creativity. We would write daily in a journal to her, and in it, she always said that she knew one day I would write a book, and she hoped I would dedicate it to her. I plan to keep that promise.

7. What advice would you give to a new writer?

The best advice for anyone who wants to write is to WRITE! We all get in valleys and ruts, but pick up a pen (or a keyboard) and just keep writing. Write about something you see, a conversation you had, a funny observation you've made, but just keep writing. You can only get better if you keep at it.

8. If you could start all over in life, would you change anything? 

Absolutely not. Thankfully, (for now) I have the great advantage of being young and still being able to affect my path and my destinations. I won't always have such a luxury, so my only regret would be to not utilize that to its fullest potential.

9. What is the most exciting thing you've ever done? 

I spent an exciting season as a live-in nanny for a family with 2 sweet little boys. That was certainly exciting! (Thankfully, I'm an early riser.) My decision to pick up and move to Pensacola was liberating and exciting. I'm not too much of a daredevil, and because of this question- I am not thinking I need to do more exciting things!

10. Are you scared of anything, or do you conquer your fears and do it anyway? 

There are things that scare me- but I know that the reward of conquering those fears will usually be worth it. I'm not scared of heights, not scared of cockroaches (that doesn't mean I like them, though!), I have a tendency to be afraid of being alone or people not caring about me as much as I would hope, but I try my best to talk myself out of that one!

11. What are the 5 words that would best describe you?

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'll Have the PDA, Please, With a Side of Canoodling

Shane's wonderful parents (and new dog, Rio) have been visiting from Massachusetts, and I have loved having them here! They always have great stories to tell, and Mrs. Reilly and I can carry on 16 different conversations... at once. Somehow, we always manage to keep it going!

 (I wish I had a picture from this week, but one has yet to be taken! This slightly-cheesy [and horrible of me] picture is from Thanksgiving at the Reilly Abode in Mass.)

On Saturday night, before we watched the Blue Wahoo's baseball game in Pensacola, we stopped at Shane's parents favorite restaurant down here: McGuire's. McGuire's is a must for out-of-towners. It has been featured on the Today Show, Food Network, and more. They have truly Irish fare, a green drink called an Irish Wake (limit 3 per person- you'd know why if you had one!), and great Irish music. It is a fun experience, and we always love going there.

(Shane and me at the Blue Wahoos game on Saturday night after dinner at McGuire's)

On this particular night, in order to make it to our baseball game, we had an early dinner about 4:30. We sat down, excited about our favorite appetizers, great company, and delicious meals.

Until... a distraction was seated just a table away from us. This particular distraction demands attention; you don't want to look- but you must. It interrupts your quality family time and begs you to stare.

It is known only as: THAT couple. Ahh, yes, you know the ones (and if you don't, you may want to check yourself!). The couple that caresses, oodles, kisses, and canoodles- as if they just can't wait to get home. Well, let me tell you something- WE couldn't wait for them to get home!

They were a young couple, early- to mid- twenties. And in this dimly-lit dining room, Mr. Love insisted on taking a few dozen photos (with a bright flash, mind you) of his Mrs. Love (Ms. Love?).They ooohed and ahhed at each other, nibbled one another's ear, kissed and purred... and then, to my horror, as if we thought we had seen it all...

"The bra strap fall." This move was strategically planned, I tell you. Ms. Love played it off and if to say, "Oh, my Jergans lotion has left my skin so silky, touchably soft that this strap just can't stay in its rightful place! Oh dear, Mr. Love, would you care to brush your manly fingers across my arm and fix it for my poor, helpless self?"

We weren't fooled. Oh no, we certainly were not. In our disgust, we watched that bra strap dangle around her bicep, toying with the hormones of Mr. Love. She knew what she was doing- we just wished she was doing it in the privacy of her bedroom. Or at least in a dark corner, for crying out loud. They were in the middle of a busy dining room of a popular Pensacola restaurant, the crowds of diners rapidly filling the seats around us, servers bustling from the kitchen with trays full of a cornucopious amount of deliciousness, and here we were- about to lose our appetite.

Shane and I have lots of little games we play amongst ourselves when we're out in public. One of which is a Where's Waldo-type game, only, we set out to spot the "Same Siders." Much like this couple in McGuire's, "Same Siders" are the couple who insist on sitting on the same side of the booth so they can canoodle all evening, feed each other bites of their rabbit food, and slurp spaghetti in true Lady and the Tramp Style. I have had my fair share of jobs in the restaurant industry, and from a serving standpoint alone, "Same Siders" are just plain AWKWARD! Imagine a stranger coming into your bedroom as you and your lover are intertwined together, basking in your romantic bubble, and that stranger eh hem-ing at you to take your order, refill your water glass, or deliver your bill. That is the prediciment you put people in when you decide to become a "Same Sider." So, don't say you weren't warned.

Towards the end of the evening, as if Mr. and Ms. Love hadn't taken enough flashy self-portraits, they stopped our waiter to request he play photographer for a moment. We toyed with the idea of asking them to do the same for us, just for kicks and giggles- but refrained.

I wonder how our poses would have looked? Do you think they would have caught on, or dubbed us just as ridiculous as we did them? 

The world may never know.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I Don't Know What I Am Talking About

I had someone present a very funny statement to me recently (not in the har-har sort of way), although it was quite confirming of how I often feel around certain people.

"well Libby, I remember you saying that but I just wrote it off thinking you didn't know what you were talking about!"

This specific conversation was about a certain piece of health advice I had given to a friend who scarcely felt under the weather. Now, I'm no expert, but between my very threatening 6 month bout of mono (and all the after effects of that I still deal with almost a decade later), my long list of food and environment allergies, kidney stones... I have managed to pick up a tidbit or two of knowledge.

Of course, though, as it so often plays out, nobody listened to me. And of course, as it often (not always) plays out, I ended up being right.

Now, before you dub me as a self-centered girl with an "always right" complex- let me explain.

I am knowledgable in a handful of things, expert in hardly any. But I work very hard to not speak unless I am sure I know what I am talking about.

It's difficult, and a constant battle. I'm mostly an extrovert, I enjoy a good conversation, I love to soak up the knowledge of others. But I hope I never speak just to hear myself, and I would hope, like the courtesy I strive to share with others, that people would at least consider the things other people have taken the time to say.

I am not always an expert in holding my tongue, sometimes I get such an exciting thought that is just bursting out of my lips. But what I want to say is no more important that what the other person is in the middle of saying- and I think that could be a lesson for everyone to learn and relearn. And relearn again.

I have a close friend who often finds herself in conversation with a woman who, during an hour-long conversation, somehow manages to never ask a single question, let alone take a breath for any kind of 2-way banter. In the rare occasion she does ask a question, she cuts off your answer to keep talking about herself. You know the type.

"I just don't understand how one person can have so many words!"

I have heard her say this on more than one occasion. Conversation with that certain woman are usually dreaded, and how sad is that!? I'm quite sure at least part of what she says carries meaning, interest, and importance. If all of that is muddled by the mundane, self-centered fluff, however- it goes by unheard.

I want to make my words count. I don't want to be that girl that people walk away from a conversation with and think, "I didn't get a word in edge-wise!"  or worse, "she surely doesn't know what she is talking about!"

I want my carefully- thought words be heard. I don't want to be written off, as I am sure you don't want to either.

What are some conversations you can think of that relate? Has someone written you off, or didn't hear what you had to say?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The New Addition

I could decide to write today on current events (God knows there are plenty of hot-button issues out there right now). I could write about Chik-Fil-A, the Olympics, the Russian Roulette tragedy that happened in that Pennsylvania small town I spoke so fondly about in a previous entry.

I could talk about a number of things today, but I am only going to discuss one: Caralyn Grace Morris.

That's right, this girl has a brand new niece and I couldn't be more in love!

Gracie was born yesterday morning, 7/31/12, and weighed in at 7 pounds 4 ounces, 19.5 inches long. She is perfect.

She was born to my brother, Caleb and Sister-in-Law, Kyndal in our hometown of Lakeland, Florida. Unfortunately, Aunt Libby couldn't be there for the birth, but is making the trek to Lakeland this weekend to meet this sweet little bundle of love.

As you may have seen in my Favorite Things post, I love nothing more than a new person, and it is the greatest joy to be "Aunt Libby." My niece, Kaybree came into our lives when she was four and my brother began dating the woman he now calls his wife. Although Kaybree isn't ours by blood, she is no less a Morris by love.

To now know that love MULTIPLIED is sugar, spice, everything nice, and a big ol' bag of potato chips.

I can not wait to hold that brand-new little girl in a few days, to whisper and sing to her, change her stinky diaper, and sit with my family as we marvel over this tiny miracle. I haven't met her yet, but my heart is bursting with love with her just the same.