Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

The Blame Game

We live in a world where people are often quick to point out errors, and slow to hand out praise. Placing blame squarely where it belongs in our opinion is the knee jerk reaction many people have when faced with any problem. Car won’t start? Blame the last guy who fixed it or drove it. Computer down? Blame the internet, a virus, the kid at the Apple store, a meteor. Late for work? Blame the cat, your spouse, your kids, your alarm clock. Still suffering from the flu? Blame the doctor, the lab who created the vaccine, the kid who sneezed on you, your coworker who came to work sick.

No one likes admitting fault even when it is ours to own. In all my years in the workforce, I have learned to always be the first to admit when I have made a mistake. I probably take this too far and apologize for things that are completely out of my control as well, but that is an issue for another post or another therapy session.

But what do you do when there truly is no one to blame for an issue? Do you punch a wall, rant at the skies, or just curl up in a fetal position and wait for the fallout?

Recently, I was faced with a situation where everyone did everything they possibly could, and still, it didn’t work out like expected. Everyone was frustrated and trying to resolve the situation. And yet, there is always someone whose initial response was let’s figure out who could be at fault and make them miserable. Why do people do this? It serves no purpose other than wasting time and energy focusing on blame instead of finding a solution.

Next time you are in a situation where the outcome did not meet your expectations, please focus on the solution and not in finding fault. This can be applied to work, home, and personal life. There is enough blame in the world. If you are ever in doubt, sit back and watch anyone posting on social media about politics.

How to Move Past the Blame Game and Start Fixing Your Problems

Stop the Blame Game

Don’t Look for Someone to Blame from Lessons in Lifemanship


Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

Whispering in Your Ear

Some days, you just have to remind yourself to be nice… to yourself!

The Words You Whisper


This was posted on Facebook by Higher Self Network, a page I follow for the inspirational quotes they share daily. This particular one has stuck with me since I saw it.

Have you ever noticed how we can be so kind to those around us, but so mean to ourselves?

I don’t know when it starts, if there is something in the water in grade schools across the country, or if there are subliminal messages broadcast on TV and radio programs that plant the seeds, but somewhere along the path toward adulthood millions of people learn how to mentally bash themselves.

“I am such an idiot.”

“I really hate my thighs.”

“I am terrible at sports.”

“I suck at math.”

“I can’t get anywhere on time no matter how hard I try.”

The list of potential areas for finding fault is endless. Everything from hair color, BMI, fitness level, smarts, fashion sense, artistic ability, musical talent, decisions, and so on – nothing is sacred and nothing is safe.

Yet, our words become the house we live in.

Yikes. I would think that the words we speak to ourselves would be especially important to building our house. And yet, we can’t say a kind word about ourselves if we try! If we are not talking down to ourselves out loud, we are whispering insults silently to the mirror. If we are not speaking with barbs directly pointed at ourselves, we are tossing out these comments in a more boom-a-rang approach which hits their mark just as well.

This is evident in how we accept compliments with qualifying remarks- “I love you hair!” is met with “Oh, gosh, it’s such a mess today.” “I like that shirt” is answered with “Really? I think it makes me look fat.” I have caught myself doing this on more than one occasion. Why is it so hard to just say thank you and accept that someone likes some small part about us? Where do we learn this sometimes subtle, sometimes aggressive self-loathing?

The importance of positive self-talk really struck home for me when I was in class the other night. I am almost a quarter of the way through my first certification class for my job. It is a very small class so there is a lot of interaction amongst the students and teacher. One person in the class seems to really be struggling with the material. Every week she says she can’t get anything right; she will never understand this; she is not going to be able to pass the board exam.

I realized that she is probably right. She won’t do well if she keeps saying those things. She is setting herself up to fail – a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I have never been a huge proponent for affirmations. I always thought that books and motivational speakers who would have you post sticky notes around the house spouting uplifting and positive statements were a joke. As I get older, I realize that you get what you put out there. I believe the universe has a weird cosmic balancing system of matching the vibes you give off. And nothing speaks louder than your words.

I have been very careful to not speak negatively when it comes to my studies and my ability to pass this certification. Call it not wanting to jinx myself if you want to, but I don’t think it hurts to think and speak positivity. If nothing else it is bolstering my mental energy to tackle all the material. 🙂

Now if I can only practice speaking kindness to myself in other areas of my life as well.

What words have you been building your house with lately?

What words will you change?

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

This one is long, but I could watch them all day!


Call Your Mom

That’s right. Pick up the phone right now and call her. Call your dad, too. Tell them you love them.

In the last three weeks, four of my friends have lost a parent. Four moms or dads gone. And even for those whose parent suffered for months or years leading up to that final moment, the moment comes fast. And you are no way prepared for it.

I find myself thinking about where my family was last year at this time. Still struggling with my mom’s ongoing illness and issues following an elective surgery.

Mom had elective back surgery. The actual surgery went very well. However, she did not come around like they would have liked. 24 hours after her surgery, they were afraid she may have been having a reaction to the pain meds. So they reversed the narcotics and she proceeded to heal from back surgery, without the benefit of pain meds. The next morning, the physical therapist was there when I arrived and helped her to the recliner. She fed herself breakfast and while she was in pain, she was present. She was reactive and could carry on a conversation.

By the end of the day, she started to regress. She stopped responding. It was excruciating to watch and we were helpless to do anything. Each day she drifted farther and farther away from us. She went from mumbling the rosary on day 3 to moaning on day 4 to silence on day 5. Her oxygen levels dropped; her kidneys started to have problems. She was non-responsive. They tested her for stroke, hypoxia and every infection they could think of – all negative.

Through all this, I would arrive at her room by 7 am and spend two hours trying to connect with her and talk to her doctors before going to work. I remember sitting in the parking ramp bawling like a baby on more than one occasion, begging God to bring her back. Begging Him to allow us to keep her in whatever state we could. My sister and I spent hours googling her symptoms and looking for answers.

After a full week of this, she slowly started to focus on us again – just for brief moments, but it felt like such a victory every time. It took her a week to be able to respond to us and then she couldn’t find the words. They tested her again for stroke – negative. Yet, cognitively and verbally she continued to struggle. She was transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation facility three weeks after her surgery. She was there for another three weeks. This was followed by a couple of months of in-home physical, speech and occupational therapy. Every time she has met a new nurse or therapist or physician, we made it clear that this was not her. This was a woman who drove herself to the mall two days before surgery to buy some cute outfits for rehab. This was an independent woman who talked… a lot. 🙂

Now a little over a year later, she has come a long way. Physically, she got stronger, but only to a point. She has balance issues and often uses a walker. She struggles to stand and sit. She walks at a new snail’s pace. She no longer can drive. Her speech and cognition have come so far in the last year but she still struggles to find words sometimes. Reading and writing are now difficult for her. Some days she seems to be very alert and following conversations. Other days not so much. She can keep it together for brief conversations and doctors’ appointments, but she is depressed and struggling. This breaks my heart. I wish with all my heart that there was a way to help her back to who she was before this happened.

Surprisingly, I no longer care why this happened to her. For the first three months or so, we focused on why this happened. What drug or procedure may have caused this? I have come to realize that this doesn’t matter any more.

I am so very thankful to have my mom still. There was about a week there when we didn’t really know if she would come through it. And then there were some very long months when we wondered if the new normal was mom trying to have an entire conversation using only the words to the Hail Mary. I know she has been frustrated with her progress and her limitations. But she being alive is something to celebrate.

Now there will be times when the world feels like it is rushing around me, and I feel myself slowing down. I find myself catching snowflakes on my tongue instead of complaining about the slush and the cold. I find I am savoring that last bite of pie and not worrying so much about the extra calories. I am enjoying the laughter of those around me instead of watching the clock and checking items off my to-do list. I am allowing myself to wallow in my spare moments instead of fretting about everything that needs to get done. It will either get done, or it won’t. And either way it is okay.

The last year and half has been a time of major changes for my family, and I have found myself grasping for something to anchor me. I think of my friends, going through this incredible loss of a parent, and I feel an indescribable fear well up within me. That is the one thing that truly terrifies me about growing older. That profound loss. Love of family and friends is the only thing that truly matters in the end.

So call mom and dad. Now.

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

Baby Steps, Dear Heart

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is for us, as adults, to be beginners? We would much rather sit on the sidelines than try something new and look foolish. We would much rather stay in a situation that is no longer ideal than have to begin again, than to start at the bottom.

Earlier this week, I substitute taught a medical coding class for a friend of mine who was down with the flu. I met a group of great women who are all embarking on something new. I asked them to tell me where they are now and why they are taking the certification course. One by one, they told me where they worked and why they had signed up for this year long challenge.

A couple of the students are already working in the medical field and wanted to get into coding. One was hoping to be able to work from home and provide for her young daughter. The rest of them were in other unrelated fields and long for something new, something different.

They come to the class every week (and a couple Saturdays) for four hours at a time for an entire year. They come, in most cases, after already putting in a full 8 hour day, or in the middle of a 40+ hour week. They come knowing that they will have three times the amount of time in homework and studying. And yet, they come.

It is good to have dreams.

Dreams make the long hours and struggle worth it.

Dreams allow us to try new things and learn new things and not worry so much about how we look while doing it.

A few people in my life started new jobs this month. 🙂 They are beginners again -new to a position, new to a company, new to the individual tasks. There is always a learning curve.

It is hard to go from being in charge to not being in charge but there is a benefit there too. The reduction in stress alone is worth it. Sometimes you need to do the menial tasks in an effort to learn the big picture. It is especially difficult to ask a lot of questions instead of being the one with the answers. But that is part of the process.

May you all learn the process of letting go of who you thought you were supposed to be, and find who you are right now. May you all dream big. And may you remember that there is always something positive in every new experience.


Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

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