Keeping your peace…in traffic

You wake up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, read, meditate, and get your mind in the perfect calm state. Then it seems within seconds of encountering other humans (traffic), your calm feels threatened. These moments can either derail your peace, or you can be intentional and maintain your peace in spite of these bumps in the road.

Morning commute was the time of day that tried me the most. In the morning, you have places to be, people to see, and time is of the essence. I could come unglued if I got behind a slow driver, afraid they would make me late.

Tailgaters wouldn’t make me late, but they would make me so anxious! I was in a hurry too, but was it really necessary to invade my personal space?

Worst of all was getting caught in stop and go traffic. Driving in large cities and on major highways made my heart race and my hands sweat. In school zones, if the crossing guard was in position, I was at their mercy. I would arrive at work a frazzled mess, and full of blame directed at whoever happened to cross my path and slow me down. Surely they were to blame.

Then one day, I heard a podcast that changed my thinking. It had never occurred to me that it was entirely my fault, EVERY time I’m late. Every time. How was it my fault? Simple. “If you think some other person is making you late, you need to leave your house way, way earlier,” the speaker said. This resonated with me and humbled me. It may sound obvious to some reading this, but that one statement was life changing.

Over time, I’ve trained myself to keep my peace by changing my perspective. These days, I make sure to leave for work pretty early, so I’m never worried about running late and therefore never in a hurry. Now when I get behind a slow driver, I go around them if I can, but if I can’t I choose to see it as an extra time to listen to my podcast or favorite songs.

Now, if there’s an alternate route I can take that has less traffic, I will choose it every time. When I’m in larger cities I always select the “avoid highways” option and take backroads instead of interstates and highways. These routes are longer, but usually save me time and stress.

And that tailgater? I just pull over to the side of the road and let them go ahead of me. It’s a win win. They get to drive faster and I get to keep my peace.

And I’m learning everything in life is like driving. Moments in life can send us into blame and knock us out of our peaceful state. But there is no blame. It’s all on us – we do it to ourselves. By taking responsibility and making simple changes in how we respond to the things that once frustrated us, we can see them all as good. Things are always working out for us.


  • Leave earlier. Give yourself more than enough time so you’re not in a hurry.
  • Take an alternate route with less traffic.
  • Pull over and let tailgaters pass you.
  • Take responsibility. There is no blame.
  • Enjoy your drive. See it as a peaceful time.
parenting · Uncategorized

5 Dilemmas Faced by the “Bad Cop” Parent

Let’s get real. Nobody WANTS to be the bad guy. Everyone wants to be liked, and no parent wants to always be the “bad cop” in the family.

Between my husband and myself, I am definitely more of a bad cop than he is, but my children are fortunate because he will put his foot down and can be the bad cop when necessary. In fact, because he isn’t a bad cop as often, I think at times when he does play the bad cop role, it can make more of an impact on them.

Most days, he’s the good guy (and also a great dad). But sometimes I want to be the fun one. I want to let my hair down and be wild. And sometimes I actually do – I give myself permission to have fun and let my children see that side of me. But more on that later.

First of all, here are 5 dilemmas I see as a “bad cop” parent, being the one who sees themselves as the voice of reason, who wants to teach responsibility, who knows kids need boundaries and that discipline is a form of caring:

  1. It’s tiring. Always being the one who has to settle the arguments, squash the complaining, get everyone to clean up and do their part, get the homework done, guide better choices, encourage better eating habits – while you know it’s the right thing, man are you exhausted.
  2. You’re the bearer of bad news.big part of the “bad cop” parent’s role is to say NO. The good cop parent typically gets to be the good guy and almost always says YES. But children can’t be allowed to do as they please 24/7. That would result in an entitled brat of a child. (Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory comes to mind.) So you enter the room and set the record straight that “no, you can’t have some more junk food or you won’t be able to sleep tonight,” and “no you can’t binge watch YouTube videos for hours on end.”
  3. Parenting is so much harder when a good cop is in the room. I can take my girls somewhere or be at home with them alone, and have NO issues. They know where I stand on just about everything and know not to test. But if we are in a situation where a good cop is in proximity – sometimes it can be their dad but it’s often another family member – they will test! My youngest especially. She will do things that she would NEVER EVER do if it were just she and I. She becomes bold and spunky and defiant and sometimes it breaks my heart. We can be in public and I will ask her to leave something alone that belongs something else and she will keep messing with it and just look at me. The other family member will say it’s ok, that she is fine, she is “not hurting anything.” One night this week she was lying on our set of bleachers and kicking the bleachers, shaking everyone in our section. I asked her to stop and the other family member said it was ok. At that point I just need to leave the room! It leaves me feeling disrespected by my child and the family member.
  4. The right thing and the easy thing are rarely the same. It’s easier to let kids play on their tablet for two hours straight, and easier to let them eat whatever they want. Currently I’m exercising bad cop mode on both of these issues. As I type this, my girls are not allowed to have any screen time for the next two hours, AND I’ve turned down their request for cookies and chips. I told them they could grab some cut fruit from the fridge if they’re really hungry, and they are working on rainbow loom bracelets at the moment. What’s nice though, is despite the moaning and complaining that may ensued at first, they are enjoying making their bracelets and love apple slices. It’s that initial moving past not getting their way in the moment where the tension strikes, the protesting happens, and where I could see the good cop caving in. 
  5. We do it to ourselves. I really think so. My husband and I are so like-minded on how children should be raised, I often wonder if I would just keep my mouth closed, if he would chime in, say NO, and take care of the issue. Bad cop parents (or at least it is true for me) are quick to squash the dilemma that it could be the other parent doesn’t have an opportunity to address it. I am a quick reactor and decision maker, and have a lower tolerance for discord and misbehavior than he does. So I naturally nip it in the bud so we can get on with things and the issue doesn’t gain momentum. For this reason, things won’t likely change, and if my control freak tendencies get the better of me, like they have I the past, I suspect “bad cop” will continue to be the dominant role I play in our family.

The good news is, I think our children are going to turn out great. They have my husband’s calm and laid back demeanor modeled for them on a daily basis. They see the ease at which he goes about everything. They also will for sure know the difference between right and wrong, They will who know how to behave in public, eat healthy, resolve conflicts and grow up to be responsible, well-mannered, resilient adults.

Our girls will hopefully look back and see that there were times when their mom and their dad played each of these roles: bad cop and good cop. Playing the bad cop isn’t easy, and somebody has to do it, but it doesn’t always have to be one person.


Uncategorized · wisdom

Stop Using Shame and Guilt to Influence Behavior

Most of us have been on the giving and receiving end of guilt and shame. But is it effective? Does it get us anywhere when we dish it out or when we are forced to take it?

Have you ever shamed someone or tried making them feel guilty to get them to behave in a certain way? I think we all probably have in some form or fashion.

It could have been trying to make your spouse or significant other feel bad about some incident where you felt wronged. You want to make extra sure they NEVER do that again.

Or maybe it was shaming your child over a bad choice they made; you want to be certain they realize how terrible their decision was so they will make the right choice next time.

It could be that you wanted a co-worker or employee know that you are not pleased with their actions and felt like it was time that SOMEBODY let them know. After all, if you don’t tell them, they can’t change, right?

No matter what the circumstance, any time you try using guilt or shame to influence someone’s behavior, one thing is for sure, you’re not endearing the other person to you. Here is a news flash: shame never inspires or motivates better behavior. It only perpetuates low self-esteem and withdrawal.

Can you think of a time when you were shamed or made to feel guilty? Most likely, especially if you already had issues with self-worth, it sent you on a downward spiral of negative thoughts. Any and every incident where someone shamed you similarly may have come to mind. We are our own worst critics, and life is hard enough already. When someone has taken it upon themselves to point out your shortcomings, down, down we go. Whether done to your face or behind your back, it stings.

People may be well-meaning when they feel the need to shame or impose guilt, believing no one else has never addressed a person’s issues and so they need to be that someone who finally comes along and puts the person in their place. “Let me tell you how terrible you are and what you did. Someone should.”

What is missing from this is the big picture of what may feel like healthy venting to the one shaming, but in reality the repercussions of the harmful words sends the victim (YES, VICTIM) into an even weaker emotional state than they were previously.

I remember a co-worker having this awesome quote in the signature block of her emails and it is perfectly placed here: You will inspire someone much more by lighting a fire inside them than lighting a fire under them.

Isn’t that what we really want? To inspire? Uplift? Encourage? Oh my goodness, that language feels so much better!

Here’s what to consider instead. Consider catching people when they’re good. Consider making a list of positive aspects of what the person is doing right. Everyone does some things right. EVERYONE.

Your spouse or significant other? Consider letting them know when you are pleased with them. That issue that feel you need to shame them with or make them feel guilty? Instead, concentrate on what you want them to become instead. Believe in them, that they will become that vision of the person you want them to become.

When your child makes a poor choice, instead of raking them over the coals, think about the opposite end of the stick. The child you know they can be. Put an incentive in place for them to reach that positive goal.

When you have a co-worker or employee and you feel like it’s your role to let them know their shortcomings, INSTEAD, look at the flip side of the coin: encourage them and inspire them when you see them doing what’s right. Assume positive intentions. Let them know you believe in them. Typically, when someone is performing below their potential, what they REALLY NEED is encouragement. A positive word. They more than likely already are aware of any negative qualities you may feel the need to point out. We are all our own worst critics. If you really want to make an impact, SPEAK LIFE into them. Let them know positive ways you envision them in the future. BELIEVE IN THEM!

I hope this has challenged your thought process on how to influence change in those around you. Light a fire within them, not a fire under them!


Memory Resolution Technique

Have you ever had a painful memory that kept haunting you? You couldn’t seem to get it out of your mind? The power of oils and scent is amazing!

I was skeptical at first, but I read the memory resolution chapter of this book, Aroma Freedom Technique, and followed the steps to a tee. I used the oils pictured exactly as it specified, and I have to say I am amazed how much relief I feel related to my memory. I went from obsessive thoughts of it to feeling it was very petty and old news by the end of the process.

You can find the book here. In addition to Lavender, Frankincense and Stress Away, you will also want Inner Child and Believe essential oil blends to complete this entire technique.

Do you have a memory resolution or aroma freedom technique success story? I would love to know in the comments!

law of attraction · wisdom

Vision Boards: Your Best Bet for New Year’s Goal Setting

You can count on hearing lots of talk about goal setting and resolutions on New Year’s Day. You’re probably doing it yourself in some form or fashion.

Did you also know that most people fall off the bandwagon in the first thirty days of setting their goal(s) for the New Year?

What might make a difference for you and keep you from becoming another statistic is creating a vision board.

What is a vision board? A vision board is a board filled with images that represent each of your goals for the coming year.

The idea is that you keep these images in front of you, placing the board in a prominent location where you will see it every day.

Seeing those images that represent your dreams on a daily basis help keep them on the forefront of your mind, and consequently make them more likely to manifest simply based on the fact you are giving more of your mental attention to them.

It can be cut and paste from magazines, or a collage of images created on your computer. It doesn’t need to take very much of your time.

Tips for creating your vision board:

  • Before you begin, make a list of goals or resolutions you would like to set for the coming year.
  • Goals are best if they are realistic while also a challenge. Somewhere within that range is ideal. You want some to be basic and very attainable to help you feel successful but some out of reach to keep you excited, eager and planful.
  • Gather magazines if you plan on cutting out pictures and gluing. I personally prefer digital images and finding these online. It opens up many more possibilities and makes quicker work of creating the board I really want.
  • When in groups of folks who were creating vision boards, I have noticed many were turning it into a board of inspiring quotes and words. This is fine, but then it isn’t really a vision board. I keep a book of words and quotes that inspire me separately. I try to keep my vision board focused on what it is: a collage of images that represent the goals I wish to attain.
  • It’s your vision board. You can make it what you want. It’s not really for anyone but you, so there are no rules. Anything I’ve mentioned above is just giving my own feedback from 10+ years of creating vision boards.

Here is my 2019 vision board, and just as always, so many of these have manifested or are about to. I will add my 2020 board once it’s completed!

You may also be interested in making vision boards with your children. Check out my post Making Vision Boards with Kids.