Running To Stand Still

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Ditch Some Stress in 10 minutes or Less.


So today I DID something about it.

For months and months, I have been stepping on this pointy plastic piece that was poking through a hole in the rolling matt under my office chair. It hurt to step on it and I managed to do that several times a day.  I would hit it and grumble and move but I never actually fixed it. It was irritating but I lived with it. I can’t express how many times I hurt my foot on it.This afternoon I pulled out my chair, pulled up the matt and pulled the piece out. Total effort?…minimal. Total time?… about 10 seconds. 10 little seconds and it will never ever irritate me again? What the hell took me so long?

This summer my husband finally fixed a piece of rotten wood in our hayloft that had bothered and scared me for over 9 years. It took him 10 minutes to fix it and  I was upset that he had left something that had caused me anxiety for almost a decade that was so easily fixed. This morning made me take a moment and think, “How am I any better? “

It got me thinking that that is probably the way it is with so many things in our life. What are the little things that we just live with, not fixing, not finishing, that are causing us pain, irritation or stress? What can we accomplish if we fix or finish some of those things? Do we even recognize them anymore?

What would life look like with less pain, irritation and stress?  My answer is “Pretty Darn Good.”

So…this week my mission is to get rid of some of those things and see what happens. If I can do that in 10 seconds, can you imagine if I focused a whole hour?

I am starting my list right now. 6 things I can fix or finish in 10 minutes or less.

 How about you? I’ll race you! 🙂


©Jolie Engelbrecht


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Going the Extra Mile

I had the opportunity to spend last week with some pretty unique individuals. One of my good friends is an active and ardent U2 fan and has spent significant effort developing relationships with many people who share her enthusiasm for this amazing band. She was very generous in including me not only in a piece of her 11 show odyssey this summer but also introducing me to some other super fans.
We stayed at a downtown Edmonton hotel and participated in a number of fan get-togethers. We also spent time visiting some of these same people who camped out in the General Admission line for 2 days.
The second day we were in town, we went down to breakfast and had a wonderfully cheery waitress. I always enjoy good customer service and spent some time visiting with her. On the way to the buffet I happened to notice a piece of the Edmonton Journal that had a huge picture of one of the new friends I had made. I excitedly brought it back to our table and my friend was tickled. We knew there would be an article but we had no idea that it would be a page and a half with huge pictures of three people we knew. In addition to that there was a second article that actually mentioned my friend as well.
I called our lovely waitress over and asked her if we might keep the section of the newspaper. She asked about the article and all about the concert. Then she smiled and said maybe she could do even better than letting us just keep that one paper. She went to every spot they had papers in the lobby and restaurant and brought us several copies of the article. In addition, the next morning she greeted us warmly and presented us with 2 additional copies she had located for us. She was Present in her job, saw our interest and Made Our Day by going the extra mile to make sure we could share them with our friends. She personified all of the things I teach every day.

©Jolie Engelbrecht 2011

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Cowtown Antics

I love to be impressed.

Last weekend I went to Calgary, Alberta with a friend and we went to Smithbilt hats where I was amazed with the customer service.

My friend had a hat from a (gasp!) different company that needed the brim trimmed. After a 7 hour drive this was our first stop in Cowtown. We walked in and were heartily greeted and made to feel comfortable immediately. After teasing us about not having one of their brand of hats we were taken right back into the workroom where they make the hats. They very carefully trimmed the brim until it was the perfect look. The gentleman in charge visited with us while this was being done and we learned he was also originally from Saskatchewan. He gave us a tour of the shop and his pride in what they do was evident in every word. This is a man who enjoys his work immensely. When my friend modelled her hat he noticed that it was a little tight and offered to stretch it too. They did a marvelous job and my friend was gloriously happy. She had her wallet out and was all ready to pay and pay a premium since it wasn’t even their brand of hat. He looked at both of us and said…”No charge. Just promise to come and see me when you are ready for a REAL hat. ”

I can tell you he has a customer for life…now…what colour should I get?

©Jolie Engelbrecht

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Making Their Day-Granny Style

My Granny is this amazing women…she just draws people to her with this great mixture of genuine caring and always remembering what people like.

Today at lunch she asked me to take her on an errand. She pulled out this pink bag and fiddled with it when she told me her story. Apparently she was in a thrift store earlier in the week she met this young girl, 6 or 7 years old and her brother.  The little girl was looking worried and Granny knelt down and asked her what was the matter. The girl opened her little fist and showed her a heart locket. She said…’I love it but I don’t know which chain it is from.’ My Granny smiled and matched it with a chain off the rack that was  beside them and said …’There…isn’t it pretty? ‘   The little girl nodded and smiled shyly. Gran said ‘Well honey maybe your Mommy will buy it for you.’ The little girl looked at her sadly and said her Mommy was dead. Granny’s heart just stood still. She said ‘Wait here’ and took the necklace and paid for it. In the meantime the children’s father had wandered over.

Gran being Gran said ‘Oh Good! I wanted to meet you to tell you I bought this for your daughter.’ She also smiled and handed a dollar to the little boy. He didn’t want to take it but she told him it was only fair as his sister had been given a gift too. Then, in her amazing way, after a five minute conversation she had most of the father’s life story. His wife had passed away 5 years before and now he was really cautious about who would be a female figure in the children’s lives.

She leaned toward me and continued with her story. She said…’You know …that little girl LOVED that locket…but when she put it on it was too tight for her.’ She went on to say she kept thinking and thinking about it…and then she opened the little pink bag she had with her at the table.  She had a gift box inside with a longer chain from her own jewelry box as well as another pretty necklace that she thought the little girl would love. In her chat with the father…she had found out where he worked.  She asked if we could make a little stop. I can tell you …she managed to Make that Family’s day not once…but TWICE.

I constantly look for ways to make people’s day but WOW. I have NOTHING on my Granny.

©Jolie Engelbrecht

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No Limit on Happiness

You hold the key to happiness in your hands.

Recently a few tragedies have touched my life in different ways. Seeing friends and family coping with things like losing a child or a terrible health problem really make a person stop and reflect on what you are doing. I watch people go through their lives saying…” I’ll be happy when…”
It is a line that seems really innocent, however it is really misleading. Sometimes we all get so caught up in chasing our ideals we forget the here and now. We forget the beauty of watching the sun rise because we are in a hurry to get out the door to work. We think we will play that card game with our kids in the winter, but it never happens. We will be happy when the garage is cleaned out, or we lose that weight or when the mortgage is paid off. We will work on our relationship once the baby can sleep through the night or once they are out of diapers.
The reality is that there is nothing wrong with those statements as long as we don’t forget that we can be happy NOW as well. There is no limit on the happiness we can have so why don’t we enjoy it right here, right now AND later?
So give your loved ones that extra hug. Tell them you love them. Do a random act of kindness. Take that class you always wanted to. Dance around your living room. Stop and help that little old lady get across the street. Live the life you are meant to and do it now. Later will get here when it does…but imagine…who you could be if you lived your life like the happy person in your daydreams?

©Jolie Engelbrecht