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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Slow Down

Photo Credit:  clarita from
Let’s start this Sips with a little fun.  Say “toy boat” out loud.  Okay, great.  Now, say “toy boat” out loud really fast three times in a row.  Go ahead.  Try it.  I know you’ve said it several times by now and are possibly wondering why on earth the third “toy boat” you’re saying sounds nothing like the first “toy boat” you said.

My daughter challenged me a few weeks ago with this and I’ve been randomly practicing since then.  Something happens when I try to say those words too fast.  It just comes out all wrong.  I can only say them properly when I slow down.

It’s hard to believe that half of January has zoomed by already.  Most of you have taken down all the Christmas decorations by now…well, most of the décor anyhow.  Some of you might be contemplating leaving up the outdoor lights all year?  It’s your call.  I won’t judge.  We’ll name them New Year lights and we all know that 2016 lasts until next December, so I say go ahead and roll with it.

In reminiscing a bit about the Christmas season, I want to share about an interesting gift we found under our tree.  In my 9-year-old daughter’s letter to Santa, she said she wished for a pair of crutches…real ones.  It’s certainly a unique request, but Santa brought her some child-size crutches, much to her delight. 

I’m still not exactly sure why she wanted crutches.  She does plan to be a doctor one day, so maybe that prompted the desire?  Or, maybe she wanted to jump into someone else’s shoes and see what it felt like to hobble around with limited mobility?  Maybe crutches just sounded cool?  Whatever the reason, the crutches are a big hit.  All three children fight over who gets to use them on a daily basis.  It’s strange really.  But, the one thing that it does make them do is…slow down.  Ahhhh...

When I’m in another room and hear the slow, creaky crutches coming down the hall, I can’t help but think about my grandmother, Omi.  She used a walker for many years, so that sound brings back a flood of memories for me.  Gosh, I miss her.  She died during my first year away at college.  I miss listening to her amazingly captivating stories about Germany.  I miss her delicious food.  I miss counting to twelve in German with her as I held her wrist watch.  I miss her accent. 

Omi listened intently to everything I had to say, as nonsensical as it may have been.  She played “restaurant” and “grocery store” with me a countless number of times.  She let me sell handmade paper snowflakes for a dime in her neighborhood and didn’t tell me what a crazy idea it was.  She supported me in everything I did.  Oh, how I loved her (and still do).  When my children slowed down to use the crutches, that’s when I slowed down to remember…and I’m glad I did.

We’re a pretty fast-paced society, aren’t we?  Okay, let’s be real.  We’re a super-duper-ooper-crazy-fast society.  We are.  If our devices don’t get us the info. we need in a matter of nanoseconds, we panic.  If our drive-through food order takes more than two minutes, we fret.  If the express lane at the grocery store doesn’t live up to its name, we grumble.  In fact, waiting for anything at any time can make our heads spin.  I’m guilty.  Truly.

Why are we rushing?  Where in the world are we going anyway?  Can the stress of hurrying around all the time be healthy for us?  And, are we really that good at multi-tasking?  I found some information that I thought was worthy of sharing.  Some studies show that chronic stress can actually shrink our brains.  What?!  And, it turns out that maybe we aren’t supposed to be doing so much multi-tasking.  One resource said that when our brains try to do two things at one time, it actually does the “divide-and-conquer” trick and only dedicates half of our gray matter to each task.  What?!  Who knows, but I do know that I’m not up for brain shrinkage OR only using half of the brain God gave me.  I vote for slowing down.

Along with slowing down, I found another nifty piece of shareable information while surfing the net.  Did you know that making mistakes can actually make us more likeable?  Yep.  It turns out that people who never (or rarely) make mistakes are perceived as less likeable than those who commit the occasional blunder.  If, uhem, WHEN we mess up, it can make us appear more human and others will be drawn to us.  Studies show that perfection can create distance and an unappealing air of invincibility.  So, flaws win.  Isn’t that great news?  Awesomeness.  If you happened to write down “be perfect” on your list of resolutions this year, you can go ahead and mark it off the list with a big black Sharpie.  Oh, you’re welcome.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the elephant in the room…you know…the 1.4 billion dollar Powerball jackpot.  Honestly, I don’t normally play.  I pass the lottery road sign each and every week and watch the numbers rise and fall and it never phases me.  However, for some reason, I got the fever…the Powerball fever that everyone else seems to have as well.  So, yes, I’m buying a ticket for Wednesday’s drawing.  However, have I slowed down to ponder on how the winnings could be used?  Have you?

It’s fun to dream.  Maybe you’ll buy a jet, a yacht, a bigger house, or a faster car?  Maybe you’ll buy a NBA team or a NFL franchise?  Maybe you’ll make a difference in another country by providing a means of education or clean water?  Maybe you’ll start some sort of Foundation?  Maybe you’ll give it all away?  Maybe you’ll help all the homeless find a home?  Maybe you’ll bury the money or hide it all in your mattress?  Whatever you decide to do, be sure to slow down after you win, thank God, and maybe hire three peeps: an ultra-competent tax pro, an ultra-competent attorney, and an ultra-competent financial advisor so that your billion dollar blessing will stay a blessing and not a curse.

In actuality, if we slow down to notice the people and things that we have surrounding us, we might realize just how wealthy we already are.  Now, I must go.  I need to practice.  Slowly this time…“Toy boat, toy boat, toy boat.”

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

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