Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Finding the Gratitude

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the United States. If you are like most of us, you will spend it with a large gathering of friends and/or family. This is a great time to catch up and spend time together.  You will probably be presented with large quantities of food; maybe watch some football.

I hope you take the time to be grateful for the things you have.

The holidays can be hectic. You may find yourself traveling around from family to family, event to event. Perhaps you are the one hosting and you have hours of cooking and cleaning to do. Do not let the stress or hectic pace make you forget to take a few minutes to be grateful for all that's good in your life.

No one's life is perfect. We all have complaints. It is easy to sit around and focus on what is wrong with our lives. This holiday is all about taking the time to be grateful for what you have.

Sit down and think about all the wonderful things in your life. Take a few minutes and be grateful.  Do you have a wonderful spouse? Beautiful children? A roof over your head and food on your table?

If you stop and appreciate what you do have, you will be happier for it. So smile, say thank you for the things in your life and eat up.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"No" is a complete sentence.

We women often have a hard time saying no. We feel guilty about not agreeing to everything we are asked. This is true even if we are running around crazy trying to accomplish the things already on our lists. Yet we still hesitate to say no.

No is not a swear word. It is not an insult. It is also not a negotiation.   Do not let someone try to turn your no into a maybe.  "No" or "No, Thank you" or even "We have other plans" are all you need to say.  Do not try to explain yourself. It just gives people a chance to talk you into doing what they want.

For example,  "Can you come to our picnic?"
 "No I am sorry I can not make it"  
"Why not?"
"Well I have to take Junior to the shop for school clothes."
"You can do that tomorrow after work."
"Well tomorrow I have to work on an important presentation."
"You don't need all day for that."

You get the idea.

This is true of many things.  Learn to say No and stick to it.  Do not let anyone make you feel guilty for not falling in with their plans.  They can not know what your day is like or how you are feeling. Smile, say No or No Thank you and move on.

If someone persists, you must persist as well until they have gotten used to accepting your no. After all, it is a perfectly acceptable answer.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Making Your Password More Secure Yet Easy To Remember

Welcome to the digital age. We have access to an unprecedented level of electronic conveniences. We can bank on our phones and check directions without looking at a map. We also have dozens of different sites asking us to come up with passwords.

If you use the same password for everything, you can remember it but it's not secure. All someone has to do is figure out your password for that seemingly unimportant site. Suddenly they can access all your sites. If you use different passwords for everything, you have to remember them all. You can't write them down because someone could find it.

I want to pass on some great advice I got on how to come up with a more secure password.  First, never use one of the most common passwords. These include God, password, password1, 123456, iloveyou, and welcome.

Second, you should have a password of at least eight characters. You should also include one capital letter, one lower case letter, one number and one special character.  You should have a unique password for every site you go on. I know this sounds complicated but we are going to simplify it.

First pick two words you can easily remember that go well together and are at least eight letters total.  For this example, we are going to use "hot coffee".  Take your base phrase and add a capital letter. Do not make it the first letter.  For example, "hot coffee" becomes "hoTcoffee".

Now replace one of the letters with a symbol of your choice.  So "hoTcoffee" becomes "h@Tcoffee".  Now replace one digit with a number of your choice. Now "h@Tcoffee" becomes "h@Tcoff3e".   This becomes your base password for everything. This is the only thing you need to remember; just "h@Tcoff3e".

We are not quite done yet. 

Next we are going to make it unique for every website.  You decide that for every website you go on, you will always look at the second and third digit (or first and fourth etc you decide).  For this example, we will use second and third letters of  That would be "m" and "a".  Stick those two letters right in between your two word phrase. "h@Tcoff3e" becomes  "h@Tmacoff3e".  Now you go to visit and your password becomes "h@Tincoff3e" because the second and third letters of the website name are "i" and "n".

Set up your basic rule and stick to it.  If you run into a website that won't let you use a special character then just plug whatever letter the word originally called for, right back in.  Soon you will find yourself automatically entering the password just by glancing up at the website address. No password is perfect but this is a big step up from "password1".  And all from hot coffee.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Proof They Love You

As women, we often look at our significant others and try to convince ourselves, "They don't love me anymore."   The excitement and romance of those first few months or years has worn off and it's just not the same.  Before you break your own heart, take another look.

It's normal for things to cool off when you have been together awhile. The heart and mind can not exist in a perpetual state of heightened excitement. You find yourselves falling into patterns.

A pattern is not the same as a rut.

By all means, shake things up a little now and then by trying something new. You can have a date night, go for a spontaneous ride, try a new recipe together; just don't assume the romance is over.

Some people are good about saying, "I love you."  Others are not. Some times we look at the lack of grand romantic gestures and the lack of declarations of love as proof that they don't love as anymore.

Not so fast. Let's just try something before you make any decisions.

Instead of looking for proof that they don't love you--"They never say it anymore." or "They never notice when I dress up."--look for proof that they do.

My husband always puts an extra blanket on me if he gets up before I do in the morning. He does this because he knows I am always cold and because he loves me.  As I was working on this post, he brought me a water because he knows I like to drink at least eight glasses of a day and because he loves me.

Does yours kill spiders for you? Do they change the oil or clean the snow off your car? Do they rub your back when you have trouble sleeping or take the kids outside when you have a headache?  It is because they love you. Before you make any decisions or tell yourself any stories, look for the little things they do just because they love you. You might just be surprised by what you see.