Charlotte A. Stout

If you missed an ealier post, this page has my previous April 2018 Reflection postings.
If you want to read some earlier Reflections, click on the links below for the month you are interested in:

March 2018Feb 2018Jan 2018Dec 2017Nov 2017Oct 2017Sept 2017

April 27th: Smile from the Heart

During my last volunteer gig at the Free Restaurant for Women and Children I encountered a very unhappy client. The clients who frequent this establishment are of a certain income level. We, the volunteers, do not know the clients’ backstory nor should we. They come to us seeking a calm, friendly, and welcoming place to have a nutritious meal, which is what our charge is.

On this specific evening when I asked this woman what she would like to drink she responded in a very belligerent and confrontational tone saying, “well, you don’t have what I want anyway so, why ask?”

I believe a warm smile from the heart can have a positive effect on anger, frustration, mistrust, or any other contrary feeling. So, I smiled kindly asking, “what is it you want?”

“Iced tea; and you don’t have it do you?” Her tone was quite abrupt.

“You’re right, we don’t have iced tea today but we do have…” and I listed what the drink options were. She wanted none of the alternatives.

As dinner went on I took extra time at her table to ensure her water glass was filled, her food was delivered hot and offered her seconds.

While I attempt to provide top level service to all of our clients, one can tell when a client may need a little more attention during a meal service. When I see that need on their face or in their attitude I make an extra effort to kick it up a notch. I do it with a genuine interest and concern for their well-being. I want them to leave the restaurant with a full tummy and with a heart that is lighter than upon entering.

We volunteers have no idea what these women and children face on any given day. I don’t assume to know how they feel, what they have seen or what their life is like. Assuming to know them and their background is arrogant and inconsiderate.

By the end of dinner the women referred to above was smiling and told me she had to leave to get to her bed in a shelter. I am sorry we didn’t have iced tea for her but I was so happy to see her leave with a smile on her face.

One genuine smile costs nothing to give and may significantly change a person’s attitude, day or life. So, if someone is being nasty or snarky, take the high road, dig deep and give them a warm smile from your heart. It may lighten their load and it is guaranteed to lift your spirits and create positive energy around you.

March 20th: Turn that Ugh! Into AHH!

Is there something in your everyday life that you do not like doing? It can be laundry, cleaning, driving, taking the garbage out, working out or a whole host of other tasks we complete every day without much thought. Many of these tasks we do because they need to get done but do we find any joy in performing them? I am going to suggest that we start looking for the good in everything we do.

Feeling and being clean is important to me. To realize this I must shower or bathe which includes washing my hair, shaving, applying makeup every single day. I also love having a clean house. This means I must vacuum, dust mop, scrub bathrooms, dust, polish and scour every week. Yes, I do this with the help of my husband every single week. I have used house cleaners in the past to avoid having to take the time to clean but I was always dissatisfied with their thoroughness so, I do this.

Do I love taking time out of my day to shower or spend hours each week cleaning house, especially when I am feeling lazy? Not particularly. However, I have chosen to view these otherwise pesky routines as opportunities turning what used to be UGH when thinking about or performing these chores into a feeling of AHH and a sense of accomplishment.

While showering I send thanks out into the universe that I am able to stand upright and perform the bathing functions without assistance. While cleaning the house I put my headphones on and literally sing and dance my way through what could otherwise be tedious tasks. Listening to music as I clean brings a feeling of joy to the process. When I am done I feel happy and I look around the house and say, “job well done and wasn’t that fun.”

Take a moment to think about and find a way to turn those UGH tasks of yours into AHH moments! Sing, dance, and give thanks you have the ability to do these things. Find what transforms the UGH at the thought of having to perform the task at hand into an AHH and a sense of fulfillment.

April 13th: 1440 Minutes

“There are 1440 minutes in a day, make every second count. Keep a happy, positive attitude and never lose your peace. Life is beautiful. You’re alive. Anything is possible.”
Sonya Goins

My husband sent me this quote he found on Sonya Goins’ Twitter feed because he thought it would resonate with me. I love this! I believe it and I live it – most of the time.

Recently I was playing Pickleball with a partner I did not know very well. In Pickleball, often a person is paired with someone they don’t know well. I look at it as an opportunity to learn how to play with a wide variety of partners at all levels of experience and accomplishment. I take everything that happens in stride and if I lose, so be it. I know I did my best and am gracious, clap paddles and move on. It’s a game for goodness sake.

My partner on this particular day mentioned above I did remember from last year (I hadn’t played at this venue for over six months). I take the game of Pickleball seriously but it is a game and we should always have fun when playing a ‘game’. My partner was not into the ‘fun’ part of the game. Our opponents were slammers and extremely good. Even with good effort we lost the game. I went to the net, as is custom, to clap paddles and my partner was nowhere to be found. I looked around for her and saw her walking away from the court. This is rude by any measure. One always claps paddles at the conclusion of the game. It is good manners and sportsmanship.

I called out her name. She turned and looked at the three of us standing at the net, raised her paddle and said, “I’m going over to play with other people. This is no fun for me when we lose.” The three of us at the net were dumb-founded. “What?”

We let her go. It was later that day that I received Sonya Goins’ quote from my husband. I wish I could have said to my partner, “1440 minutes in a day. How are you going to choose to live those 1440 minutes? With negative thoughts, fear, disappointment, which all leads to a pretty awful day? Or, are you going to find your peace stay positive and have a very enjoyable day no matter whether you win or lose at a silly game.”

What about you? There are 1440 minutes in a day. How are you going to choose to live those minutes?

April 6th: Facebook – Love It or Leave It?

I have been on Facebook for a long time. It has been a fun way to reconnect with people I lost contact with but wish I hadn’t. I was able to find out about their families, careers, activities and their personal growth over the years. This is the upside to Facebook.

During the presidential election of 2016 the discord I found on Facebook between my own family members and the candidates’ platforms left me feeling sad and concerned. I have since seen such vitriolic commentary and exchanges between friends and people I don’t even know that I believe the “face” of Facebook has changed.

Facebook, for those of us wishing to share poignant stories and events taking place in our life, was a venue that reached our friends and family far and wide. Today more and more frequently, Facebook is a platform for people to harass others with beliefs that differ from their own. It is a place I find to be less positive in the messaging and more political in substance.

I firmly believe each person is allowed to believe what they want, worship in their own way, love whomever they wish, and live in peace and harmony with all around them. Yes, I know this sounds like I am out of touch with reality but it is what I feel and believe deep within my heart and soul. I accept you for who you are, just don’t attempt to change me to suit you.

I have become fed up with the spiteful posts; requests for friendship from people I have never heard of from all over the world; concern over the potential sharing of my information intentionally or unintentionally through hacking; and what seems to have become a competition to see who is living the happiest and most-fulfilled life through their adventures.

I have chosen to delete my Facebook account for the above reasons and because I choose to focus on the quality of my life. I want to spend the hour or two a day I would otherwise spend on Facebook reading a good book, climbing a mountain, running, working out or chatting with a friend face-to-face over tea. For those who choose to stay on Facebook, that is fine. If you want to reach me you will need to reach out by phone, text, or old fashioned mail. Love ya!