It’s another Pink Collar Savvy & Chicon Purpose day and yesterday I spent precious time with two of The Lattes discussing leadership, loss and love.
Service on Purpose/Smart at Work (Professional Life)
Four of us –– three African America and one Caucasian, coffee with a little milk –– became close when we worked together as Leadership Coaches. Though we missed what our Milk brings to the mix, coming together made it a sweet Sweetest Day. Five years ago, I left the agency with the goal of maximizing the Masters in Leadership and Coaching I’d soon earn. After a few almost but not quite right roles, this week will mark a year as Women’s Center Director – my perfect service on purpose fit! Terri soon earned a coveted spot as the agency’s first minority Team Leader and Delorise recently came up through the ranks to claim the same title! So much leadership among us and reason to celebrate…
Serene at Home (Personal Life)
Still, our rejoicing was tempered by a D –– or challenge women face –– the unexpected death of Terri’s beloved husband of nearly 30 years on Labor Day. Heartbreaking. But hopeful. With a family history rife with Ds –– in the form of divorce and dysfunctional relationships –– for me their marriage serves a beacon of hope. Their kind of love is rare but does exist! As Terri deals with her incredible loss, she can often be heard to say, “I go to gratitude”. Having been loved so well, she knows she’s among the blessed and highly favored. And of course, because we were at my Petite Retreat, talk turned to decorating and Shabby Chic style. Terri even laughed about being able to finally put her floral comforter on the bed now!
Being with my lovely, smart, strong Swan Sisters made me go to gratitude, too. Though I no longer see them on the daily, our hearts are connected and the time brought healing. The Lattes are leaders at work and in their families. In fact, Delorise adopted a toddler four years ago when his mother died of cancer though her two girls were in their preteens and teens… They have capacity for great love and to grieve losses graciously and find reasons to laugh. They are SO Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose. I’m blessed to have spent time with them because they truly demonstrate how to deal effectively with the Ds to minimize barriers and to maximize beauty and their best lives. I just pray our Milk, appropriately named Joy, can join us next time for an even more perfect blend of The Lattes!
It’s Day 23 of being back to blogging, and in preparing to celebrate Valentines Day with my hubby, I’m reminded it’s little gifts given with great love that are often the biggest blessing. Back when I was newly in love with my preppy husband, I went on an elaborate shopping spree and purchased several updated classic argyle sweaters for him. At the time, his reaction –– appreciation for the thought but NOT the gift –– surprised and hurt me. But that was before I understood he didn’t wan’t his classic clothing and or any other aspect of his appearance updated. Over time I learned he doesn’t wear cologne, hates jewelry and doesn’t enjoy my taste in art, books or music. What he does value is quality time spent, heartfelt messages and favorite fat free foods! Armed with this knowledge, I skipped Zumba for an early date night (so we could beat tomorrow’s crowds), added a hand written note and symbol of our love story to a faith based card, and gifted him with fat free Fig Newtons. Sounds pretty simple but he was blessed by these little gifts given with great love.
It isn’t necessary to break the bank to make Valentines Day special. Instead, with a little effort, thought and time, the holiday can be one that reflects the things that are meaningful to your relationship. When this happens, there’s a magical opportunity to create a lasting romantic memory –– which I consider priceless. Based on our sweet time together this evening, I believe my hubby agrees. Though there were no extravagant gifts or grand gestures, there was lots of laughter and lobster dinner! We enjoyed these little gifts given with love. Another thing there’s lots of.
It’s Day 299 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’m finding that it’s sometimes easier to preach/coach on positive sentiment override than it is to practice it. I was first introduced to this principle when another couple gave my hubby and me the book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman, PhD, when we embarked on our marriage to each other after very difficult divorces from our ex-spouses. In describing positive sentiment override at work in a marriage Gottman states “This means their positive thoughts about each other and their marriage are so pervasive that they tend to supersede negative feelings. It takes a much more significant conflict for them to lose their equilibrium as a couple than it would otherwise. Their positivity causes them to fell optimistic about each other and their marriage, to assume positive things about their lives together, and to give each other the benefit of the doubt.” (pg.20-21). Heading toward our 12th anniversary as a couple, we’ve both done a fairly good job at adhering to this excellent advice, but to be completely honest, sometimes we fall short. Especially considering we both brought a lot of baggage from those previous relationships into the marriage. Coaching others is easy; putting it into practice myself – not so much.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose blogger, I feel like Julie (played by Rachel Adams) in Julie and Julia, the 2009 film about Julie, an aspiring author who starts a blog about cooking her way through every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child (played by Meryl Streep). Julie and her husband have a massive fight and his last words as he leaves their apartment for the night are, “Do NOT blog about this!” She starts to but doesn’t…That movie inspired me to blog and NOT to when I shouldn’t. So I won’t share what has my hubby and I at odds other than it’s a D – or a challenge we Pink Collar Swans face – a disagreement…I will say that he has so many wonderful qualities and that God really did bless the broken road that led us to one another. That being the case, I’ll just request prayers as I try to practice the positive sentiment override that I preach – I mean coach – on with my coaching clients.
How are you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about using positive sentiment override in your marriage or relationship? How can this principle be applied to other relationships on the home-front or in the workplace?
It’s Day 283 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and after a productive work day, I spent this evening “Playing a Round with Love”. There’s a short story with this title by one of my all-time favorite authors, Rosamunde Pilcher, and though I read it the first time twenty years ago, its lesson is one I still apply today. In the story, a new young bride sits sulking at a resort because her groom has left her alone to play a round of golf. An older woman joins her and ends up sharing some sage wisdom about the benefits of couples having their own individual interests and pursuits. Then she demonstrates how she’s lived a long, healthy marriage doing just that when she lovingly greets her husband – who’s accompanied by the groom – when they come off the green. You see, he’d left her to go play as well – and she’d occupied herself with other things she enjoyed – as they’d been been doing their entire marriage. The couple had learned that their time apart made coming together that much sweeter. Tonight, I followed this example by going to the bookstore then heading over to join my hubby and company at an indoor virtual golf course. As much as I enjoyed the time alone, reuniting with him was even better. I’m grateful that Ms. Pilcher taught me about playing a round with love.
One of my husband’s friends, who does practically everything with his wife, once asked him how the two of us get along so well. My husband was and still is a consummate athlete, and I don’t enjoy sports at all. While he participates in and spectates at nearly every one, you’ll seldom find me doing either. The difference between that couple and us is that we’re more than O.K. not spending every waking hour together. When we are, we talk at a deep level and really connect, and we’re secure in each other’s love – whether we’re in the same space or not. I’m not being critical of the other couple – in fact I’m happy that they’re so symbiotic. I’m also happy that we don’t have to be. We’d both suffocate!
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose wife and stepmom, I do believe it’s important for my husband and my stepsons to see that while golf, baseball, basketball, bowling, etc., etc. are not my thing, they are. Though it may not always be apparent, I love them fiercely…All of these men in my life say I’m as “fru fru” as it gets, so it’s fun to surprise them every once in a while by showing up in one of their “man” settings unexpectedly. And as much as the boys – especially the oldest – razzes me, he’s also the first to ask if his dad and I are alright if he senses we’re not. It’s good for them to see how much I adore him with a sacrificial love that makes me spend my night on a simulated golf course instead of curled up on the sofa with my new book. After all, thanks to all my reading, I may not be any good at golfing, but I’m pretty adept at “Playing a Round with Love”.
Are you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose with your relationships – valuing time spent together and apart?
Day 218 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project has been an unusual Sunday for me in that I spent the entire day working on professional tasks, however, because I’d taken pictures earlier in the week that depict how it’s beginning to look a lot like a Savvy & Chic Christmas in the master bedroom, I’m happy to be able to post. I’m still like a child myself when it comes to Christmas, and my tall, handsome, sweet hubby reminds me of the cutest little boy. Our room is a beautiful, romantic space and serves as a sanctuary from the world. Filling it with little touches that remind us it’s Christmas makes it an even more inviting retreat. Between all of my pink Shabby Chic and vintage inspired touches and his traditional red and green (not visible in my photo of course!), it really does look a lot like a Savvy & Chic Christmas in our bedroom.
Still, the day itself really has been unusual. No church. No Joel Osteen sermon. Just getting work I’d normally do on a weekday done today so I can spend the bulk of tomorrow with a soul sister for her birthday. But something that wasn’t unusual is the tender love and care my husband showed me today. Every day he does something that reminds me how blessed I am. When I went through my rock bottom stage, my prayer was that God would give me a godly husband. Boy did He deliver! If you’re familiar with the Bible story of Ruth and Boaz, you know, like me, she’d lost everything. But then Boaz, who was a man of means and also a distant relative, let her glean from his fields. Essentially, he told his workers to leave extra wheat on the ground for her to pick up when they were done. Eventually they married. Ruth referred to him as her kinsman-redeemer, which is a picture of Christ.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose wife, I too, feel as though I was grafted into my husband’s family. He’s more than my hubby. He’s kin. And he’s redeemed me in so many ways…Not only am I happy to be in love with my best friend, I’m happy that it’s beginnning to look a lot like a Savvy & Chic Christmas in our master bedroom.
Whether you’re married or single, I hope you’re inspired to bring your own Savvy & Chic Christmas style into your bedroom too. Sweet sugarplum dreams…
I can honestly say Day 210 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project has been one of my all-time favorites because not only is it beginning to look a lot like a Savvy & Chic Christmas in the living room with the tree trimmed – my hubby and I did it together! We’ve been married for seven years and each prior holiday season has had us disagreeing on how to decorate the house overall with the tree being one of the biggest bones of contention. Not so this year. I suspect it has a little to do with the fact that our twenty-five, twenty-two, twenty, fourteen and twelve-year-olds have either grown up and/or are growing away. As bittersweet as that is, it has brought my husband and I closer together. Last night, at our tree trimming gathering, no one but four-year-old Izzy (daughter of my oldest step-son) showed much interest in hanging ornaments. So, this morning, for the first time, we worked side by side, listening to Christmas carols, and did it in tandem. It really does look a lot like Christmas in the living room now that the tree is trimmed and it’s beyond beautiful, not just because of the way it looks but because of the heavenly time we spent in harmony.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose cygnet (a baby swan), I have to admit, the children aren’t the only ones who are growing up. Anyone who has had to listen to me lament the conflict over the years knows it not being an issue this year is HUGE. It’s nothing short of a miracle. If you’re a regular reader, you know Joel Osteen’s message often lines up with my life. Today, it was about all of us having two sides and how the positive one can be prevalent most of the time, but how every once in a while, the negative one can rear it’s ugly head. That has certainly been true for me regarding Christmas decorating. But this morning, after I read my devotion, I prayed and decided I wasn’t going to let the ugly me rule the day. And I’m so thankful that I surrendered to Him and for how it turned out. Joyous, peaceful and romantic too. The Lord heard me and honored me BIG time. He never ceases to amaze me! I never would have imagined instead of it beginning to look a lot like a Savvy & Chic Christmas in the living room and tree trimming being a heartache He would turn it into a a holiday miracle.
How about you? Is there something or someone at the holidays that causes you heartache? In your personal life? Professionally? Be Savvy & Chic by surrendering your attitude about it to God. I’m proof that He can surprise you when you do…
Yesterday was Day 105 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and though I technically didn’t miss blogging, because I apparently wasn’t fully signed on to our hotel internet, I lost what I’d written and was too zonked after midnight for a rewrite. That was the bad news. The good news is that the rehearsal dinner hosted by the parents of the groom (my sister and brother-in-law), last night was a spectacular, special time. In the background, a slide show of the bride and groom, from birth through their dating years up to this point, along with both of their families, played in the background. As it did, those two families came together to celebrate the couple. Youth and young love were on vibrant display.
I was proud of my hubby, who’d been asked to pray, when he shared how they should remember that their heavenly Father loves each of them, so they should love each other accordingly. Likewise, the bride’s sister and maid of honor, shared how they’ll need to look back on this season of being young and in love when the they’re older and remember the love they had for one another when they were just starting out.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Coach who understands the value of Positive Sentiment Override, it reminded me that I need to do the same with my husband. This mindset is one in which the positive things about the other person that made a you fall in love with them in the first place far outweigh any of the negatives. Marriage, dating, and relationships in general are often full of joy and grace when we’re young and “in love”. But what about when the mirror tells us we’re older and the shiny newness has worn off? At times we’re all guilty of showing little grace and no mercy. But this is when we need to recall how deeply we cared about, how easily we overlooked, how quick we were to forgive, how thankful we were that the Lord had given us the one our heart desired…
And that’s my prayer for this young couple. That they’ll remember that God loves their spouse and they should treat them as the same priceless treasure. That they’ll let the positives they felt when they were young and in love outshine any negatives that try to overshadow their love for one another. Not only when they’re older, but after the wedding – when the actual marriage begins.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Chick, how can you use Positive Sentiment Override to value your relationships with others, be it a spouse, significant other, or any loved one?