Tuesday, May 14, 2013
In the Tree House: Be the Best you can be
By: Samantha S. Daviss
My most favorite job in the entire world is being “Mommy” to my three little men. I am who I am today because of these three.
It’s funny, as you all know Mother’s Day was this past Sunday, but on that day I sat there feeling an over abundant amount of gratitude for what I have been given through those three. They have made me a stronger, more independent, more caring, and a lot less selfish person. And I couldn’t help but think that when I was in my early twenties, I swore off ever having children; and now the root of my existence is within those three.
They have each added so much to my life. Each one of their little personalities reminds me what is really important in life. And that is to laugh, love, hug, and just be around those that mean the most to you in this lifetime. My oldest adds a little bit of wit and dry humor to my life; my middle one challenges me daily with his (intelligent) questions; and the little one is my love bug that is always plopping his cute little hiney in my lap unannounced.
So even though I am constantly being tugged, dragged, and chauffeuring in three different directions, I wouldn’t change the dark circles (under my eyes), the sleepless nights, or the constant reminders to get homework finished for all the money in the world.
But with the appreciation for my three little men, came the reminder that I wouldn’t have any of it, or enjoy any of it without my best friend by my side. In addition to my favorite job as Mommy, I love being “wife, friend, and partner” to my husband. He drives me crazy sometimes, as I do him (I am certain); but he has also made me a better person because of it all.
I always tell my boys and show my affection to their Daddy, because they need to know, if he and I (my husband and I) don’t work; then none of this works.
So once again I recruited some advice and comments from friends and family on what they do to keep their marriages functioning, healthy and alive, so that spark never flickers out. Because being a good wife is important, but so is being a good husband.
So here are the top 10 collected bits of advice on how to be a great spouse:
10) Stick to your vows. You took them for a reason.
9) Adultery, Abuse, and Abstinence…are pretty big No-Nos in the world of marriage. Meaning, don’t cheat on your spouse (if you do you’re a fool); don’t hit your spouse (if you do, you’re a monster); and share the love with your spouse (if you don’t, you’re lazy and selfish).
8) Always keep the lines of communication WIDE open.
7) Be yourself and keep your sense of humor. Don’t take things so seriously, and don’t become someone you’re not.
6) Always put each other first.
5) Never let alcohol navigate or monitor a conversation or argument, because the alcohol will always win.
4) Marry your best friend. Because one day you will wake up, the house will be empty, the noise will be gone…and then you’re STUCK with one another.
3) Keep dating. Never stop dating each other. Make time for yourselves. Not so much so you’re neglecting the kids…but find that balance.
2) As an established wife you should know what you’ve gotten yourself into a long time ago. People do change, they grow and they mature; hopefully a couple will do it together. But remember you can’t change a person.
1) My (maternal) grandmother always said this to me, and it’s the best piece of advice ever. Always stay up and fight. Never ever go to be angry, sad, or with hurt feelings. One sleepless night is worth more than a bruised and damaged marriage ever could be. Get everything you have to say off your chest before your head hits that pillow. You may have to agree to disagree, but make sure it’s all out there.
No one ever said marriage was easy. But you sure can make it fun if you make sure that you guys stay connected and make time for one another. You just have to keep reminding yourself, that we are all different, but you knew that when you married one another. So if you love them, love all of them; don’t nit-pick at their flaws.
And the most important thing in a marriage is you have to fight for what you started. And by that I mean don’t give up on your life together so easily. Yes things change, yes they may get more difficult because of outlying factors…but if you’re in it for the long haul then fight for it.
I feel that people don’t stick out marriage for the long haul any more. They let outlying factors persuade them too much, or they just flat give up. Give the life you built together the good fight…it may be tough at times, but like I say “It’s gut check time”…when the tough get going, the going gets tough.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
In the Tree House: What a New Mom (or parent) Should Know
By: Samantha S. Daviss
Now typically I am not one to give advice, because the good Lord knows my way is not the right way or the best way. I just say what I think, and give a little insight on how I manage the daily activities, curve balls, and adventures of life.
But I recently attended a very sweet and well-organized baby shower and one of the requests of the hostesses was for each guest to write down one piece of advice to give the soon-to-be mommy. So that gave me an idea and I recruited some of my friends and family to offer up their favorite pieces of motherly advice; be it how to care for the baby, themselves, or just make it through motherhood ALIVE.
What all moms should know:
10) Sleep when the baby sleeps.
9) If there are toys out all over the house, sit back and enjoy them. Because that means your house is full of love, laughter and activity. The laundry will be there tomorrow, the dishes will soon get cleaned, but the time spent playing with your kiddo is irreplaceable.
8) Listen to the advice given by older women…they’ve lived it and learned from it. Remember advice is free.
7) Stop listening to everyone else’s opinions…go with your gut and do what feels right to you and what fits your lifestyle. You’ll learn that not everyone is right and every child is different.
6) Be patient…with them and yourself.
5) Give yourself a little time out when you feel like you are going to explode.
4) Let your children know how much you love them and how proud you are of them each and every day.
3) Do as much as you can together as a family. You don’t realize it, but one day you will wake up, in the not too distant future, and have numerous empty bedrooms that you are staring into and wondering where the time went. (I even do that today, with mine all still at home…but their social lives keep them busy and away sometimes and I miss them like crazy.)
2) Fill each day with laughter. Don’t let the little things in life bring you down…find the humor in it all.
And finally, to new moms…
1) It’s OKAY….meaning, it’s okay for plans to change. Don’t get so set on one idea that you are completely disappointed when it doesn’t turn out the way you imagined. And this can be anything from your birthing plan (natural or c-section), to how you feed your baby (breast or bottle—sometimes your body just can’t do or produce what is considered the norm in our society), to how a play date or a birthday party goes. Sometimes there are hiccups and things don’t go as smoothly as you would want. So it’s OK, just learn to sit back and roll with the punches. I promise you, those who really love you and care about you, aren’t judging you.
Being a mother is the toughest job in the world. With this “career” comes numerous smaller jobs like being a nurse, a doctor, a teacher, a maid, a cheerleader, a coach, a bank, a chef, a chauffer…but your most important title is that you are their hero!!
Bear in mind, you made these little people, you made the decision to bring them into the world, so it’s your responsibility to devote your entire self to them. You constantly feel like you are failing them, yourself, or society…but just remember it is the toughest job you never get thanked for, your pay is way below minimum wage, and the perks and benefits are gray hair and circles under your eyes…but you wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.
Remember, that the kind of people your grandchildren turn out to be is the best evaluator of how good of a parent you were or are to your own children, because we all lead by example.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
In the Tree House: Cleaner Closet = Cleaner Soul
By: Samantha S. Daviss
This last week was crazy busy for me. Our entire office moved into our beautiful brand new office building. We are all so excited for the fresh smell of a new coat of paint, bigger office space, newer amenities; and just an all around new clean work environment.
I don’t know about you, but every spring I try to do a nice general “spring cleaning”. My rule is if I haven’t worn it, looked at it, or used it in the past year…then it’s time to say “adios amigo”. My girlfriend and I always have a huge annual garage sale in March or April every year (sometimes if we have collected enough stuff, we will have one semi-annually as well). It just feels so good sometimes to cleanse and get of clothes that are worn out, you are tired of seeing or wearing, or just don’t fit right any more.
But I digress, during this move to our new office I took it as a cleansing and organizing opportunity. I wiped every single picture frame down with a Clorox wipe, and I filed every loose piece of paper either in the appropriate file folder or hole punched it and slapped it in its coordinating notebook. It took me three full days of working through lunch to finally reach and obtain this accomplishment, but after the exhaustion wore off I felt fantastic both inside and out.
In addition to my cleaning and organizing spree, I got a little creative with my color palette selection in my office. The colors are based on a beautiful Tuscan sunflower painting that I found, so my walls are a wonderfully cheery and bright Tuscan turquoise and rich mustard-yellow ceiling as an accent. I know it may sound grotesque in your mind, but every time I walk in my new office, I just smile. It makes me feel happy, cheery and bright.
I figure if I have to be stuck in a room for eight or so hours a day, behind my computer, filling out paperwork and away from my kids, so I might as well create a happy environment in which to fulfill all my tasks. But what makes me even happier about my new office is that everything has its place. It is all organized, labeled, and where it belongs to make my life just a little bit tidier.
I know it may sound completely odd, but by insides, my soul, just feels cleaner and more alive knowing that I have personally organized, placed and cleaned every single item in my office just as they should be to make my work environment a well oiled machine.
In addition to organizing and cleaning all of my items as they were put away in my new office, I purged old items that I knew I would never have a use for in the future. I threw out at least three huge boxes of unwanted papers, old files, and just odd office paraphernalia that I knew I didn’t need.
Now there were a few files that I rummaged through that needed to be organized a little better than what they had been, but they were files from “a former life” I once knew, but is just a mere blip on my radar of life now; nonetheless they must be filed and stored for possible future use.
It’s funny what time will do; how it will completely change the perspective on an event that was the axis or the bane of your existence day in and day out, and now they are just old pieces of paper collecting dust on a shelf in your new office.
So whether or not you literally need to cleanse your life, or figuratively, to help you move past something in your life…today is the day. Set your goals, prioritize your list of what needs to be done now and what can maybe be put on the back burner; but remember, just because it’s on the back burner doesn’t mean it is to be ignored.
Start your cleanse today, pick a small area of your home or office and just start sifting through it all. You will be amazed at what you find, what you don’t need, and how much cleaner your soul feels when you are finished.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
In the Tree House: Accomplishment
By: Samantha S. Daviss
Whether you are aware of it or not, every single day of your life holds some sort of fulfilled accomplishment. We all have those days that we feel just drag on; the same monotonous routine day in and day out thinking our lives really aren’t serving a purpose to ourselves or those around us.
We may feel that our simple existence holds no effect on those around us, or just humanity in general. I am not talking about depression or lacking the will to live, I am just talking about the fact that sometimes life can be mundane, and mind-numbing in a word.
But you must realize that every single day of your life is full of accomplishment and achievement for yourself and those around you. Every single choice, decision, and move you make affects all those around you in a positive (or negative) light.
For example, a wife and mother may have completed what seems to be extremely simple tasks for the day which was a quick run to the grocery store, a load of laundry, and possibly preparing dinner for the family. Now to you, that is the same routine you manage every day, but as far as accomplishing something…it is colossal. Because in those three humdrum responsibilities you managed to provide food for your family, offered them clean clothes for the days yet to come, and you’re going to serve up a delicious meal for them full of love and nutrients that they wouldn’t otherwise receive, if it weren’t for your mundane errands.
Even the simplest choices you make offer some sort of accomplishment for yourself and those around you; but you must set those as priorities and follow them as they will determine where your life goes next. I reflect back to the movie “Sliding Doors”, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, in which a simple decision to get on a particular subway train changes the course of her character’s life forever. And that is how I feel about daily life decisions, or as most would call it fate—you must look forward to where you want your life to conclude, and step firmly in that direction.
Our accomplishments are all around us in every move we make…from forgetting something at home and needing to go back to retrieve it, may have resulted in the prevention of a car accident. Or the decision to buy an extra book at the book fair and donating it to the library may have altered a small child’s ability and desire to want to learn how to read.
In those two quick decisions you accomplished two very positive results; the preservation of the loss of a life (or lives); and the expansion of one child’s mind. You must learn to reach into your soul and stop pitying yourself and the repetitiveness of life and find the beauty of what all of your daily accomplishments have to offer the world around you.
Learn to appreciate every moment in life as if it were a gift given to you, not as moments of your life being ripped away from you out of pure torture and boredom. We all have rolls that we must play in this world; some people’s accomplishments are more overt than other—like a researcher finding a cure for cancer; or the president of the
United States; or the person who
brought down the world’s most abhorrent terrorist. But it’s the people that
stand behind those few individuals that got them where they are today.
As an individual on this planet you must realize that no part is to small and the world is our stage; so play the part you were meant to play, and find happiness and joy in every single move you make. You must learn, nay strive to expect the best from each feat that you provide in every moment of every day and as a result of that attitude it will be those accomplishments that bring you to where you are today, and will take you to where you are headed “tomorrow”. Take pride in every single progression and accomplishment you allow yourself to achieve.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
In the Tree House: The “Weirdo” in the Airport
By: Samantha S. Daviss
Another Daviss adventure is under our belts. Our travel experience and airport experience went fairly smoothly considering we were travelling with three boys, four suitcases, a stroller and two car seats. But we did make it through everything unscathed, and returned safely.
However, we did have one minor setback on this trip… I won’t go into detail, but I will mention that our three year old is newly potty trained, we were trapped on the rental car shuttle bus for a bit, and my husband had an empty cup…so again, I won’t paint a picture for you, I will just leave that up to your imagination. So maybe our clan was lacking a little dignity and class for those 45 seconds, but another story for the books, and no wet pants. Chalk it up to a life experience.
Remember the character “Pig Pen” from Charlie Brown? That is how I feel when our group comes through the airport. Organized chaos. I know what we are doing and where we are going; I typically have everything organized, children accounted for, and all the luggage in order; but we come barreling through like a little dust storm or miniature hurricane, sort of like Pig Pen always did. Full force, and unstoppable. In a way it makes travelling so much easier for us, because they see us coming, so everyone just instantly clears a path for us.
And yes we are typically the ones getting stared at, because of our unruly force of nature; but when you have the opportunity to travel; do you ever really take the time to check out your surroundings? Do you ever really look around at the people sitting next to you at the gate waiting for your plane, or the people in line behind you at security?
Well if you don’t…START! There are some really amazing, and interesting people in the world. To me, there is no need to go anywhere to see other folks, just go to the airport or bus station and you can entertain yourself for hours. Or if you are starting to feel down about yourself or out of sorts…just go to one of these places and you will feel so much better about yourself than you have in a long time.
My favorite travelers are those that have the Blue Tooth earpiece in on the opposite from where you are standing in relation to them, and they are carrying on a full blown conversation (what looks to be) with themselves. It always looks to me like they are talking to an imaginary friend.
But the traveler I fear the most is the one that has been living out in the bush, or wherever they decided to “discover” themselves, and then they are headed home to civilization, but decide to return without using the modern conveniences that we offer today, like a shower or deodorant. And then you are stuck next to them for four hours on the next flight. I don’t judge people, but a bar of soap isn’t passing judgment, it’s just reality.
Or how about the weirdo, leaning against the railing, with just a backpack, a sports coat and jeans on, and Tevo sandals (with socks I might add), just watching everyone pass by. Is he getting story ideas for his next novel, is he contemplating what to do on his trip he is about to embark on, or is he just a weirdo standing there watching every body as they walk by?
That is one of my favorite parts of travelling; is observing the people around me. They absolutely fascinate me. In fact my husband and I play a game, and make up stories about those around us…like where they are going, where they have been, are they running from the law, or have they just met their mistress on a secret hideaway vacation (masquerading as a business trip)? And then there is me, who will just start talking to a brick wall…I love to talk to people and get to know them, on a temporary level…it makes for such great stories. Plus you never know what you can gain or learn from a complete stranger. So learn to enjoy your surroundings and those around you…you have no idea how absolutely fascinating people can truly be.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
In the Tree House: Say it Out Loud
By: Samantha S. Daviss
We all have thoughts that run feral through our minds on a daily basis. Some of them make sense, some are about what we have to do that day, some make absolutely no sense, and some are about others (good or bad).
I have discovered that over time saying what you feel, on a good note, has become a non-existent pastime in our various cultures and societies. Why do we find it so difficult to compliment one another? That is kind of a rhetorical question, but I think if we could all actually come up with a tangible reason, we would all realize how wonderful the art of flattery really is.
Do we think that if we pay someone a compliment we deserve one in return, and if we don’t receive that compliment then our feelings get hurt? Or has society just become that self-involved and lazy that we just don’t bother to brighten someone’s day with something nice to say? Or have we all become that bitter that we don’t have anything nice to say, or see the good in someone else in order to pay them the compliment they deserve?
So many unanswered variables…but to me paying a compliment is like Christmas Day. I love nothing more than to give gifts and watch all the smiles and hugs and gratitude come to life when people receive something they wanted or didn’t even expect to receive. That to me is like paying someone a compliment, especially when you completely catch them off-guard; the look on their face is “Seriously, are you talking to me?”
I just love to brighten someone’s day with a simple acknowledgement of their clothes, their hair, their smile, maybe even the fact they got their toes painted that day. It is such an easy, simple, insignificant gesture; to praise someone.
In fact, recently, one of my best friends paid me the best compliment I could have ever received…she told me I was funny. I immediately disagreed with discomfiture, but she persisted with her compliment of humor convincing me that she has always thought I was funny. It really touched me and I loved hearing it from someone who has been my friend for 20 years. But then I thought, “Hmmmm why don’t we all compliment each other more often?” Because even though we have been super close for 20 years, I never knew she thought I was “funny”. Fun to be around, enjoyed my company, added insight to her life, maybe…but never just out right funny.
And not to brag, but just the other day, I received an email from one of my reader’s praising my writing style and my topics of choice. And to be honest that is the best ego booster a writer could receive. I love hearing from my readers…because this is the kind of job that is very one-sided. I send my thoughts and words out into the world of readership, and sometimes I get responses, and sometimes I bump into people who tell me they enjoy it, but for the most part the feedback is minimum just due to the nature of the beast of writing, which is understandable; but any feedback (or compliments) is much appreciated. So you see we all like to hear from each other on some level.
On some level, no matter how self-assured you are or come across to other people, we all love to hear something positive about ourselves; it just makes you feel validated as a person, who you are, your personality, and what you are doing with your life.
Here are a few extraordinary accolades you could shoot a good friend’s way or a complete stranger’s:
1) Tell a mom juggling her kids, the luggage, and the stress of travel that she is doing a great job and you don’t know how she is doing it.
2) Tell someone that is funny…that they are funny. Some times we forget to point out the obvious to those around us.
3) Tell a construction worker they are doing a great job.
4) Tell the person that takes care of your kids while you are at work, thank you and they are doing a superb job— because the fact of the matter is, if your kids are safe and alive when you return home…they are doing a fantastic job!
5) Remind your friend that is suffering through a divorce that they are a wonderful person, and it’s not their fault.
6) Tell a good friend…that they are in fact, a great friend!
7) Remind your kids of their strengths and why you love them so much.
8) If your kids do something good, tell them…they can’t read your mind.
9) Tell your spouse a new reason every day why you married them…leave the nagging at the back door!
10) And if someone looks like they are loosing weight, tell them! Don’t be envious if you aren’t losing weight, use their weight loss as motivation.
But just remember, offering admiring comments is not a hard thing to do—just say your thoughts out loud, remember people can’t read your mind. I promise if you make it your goal to compliment one person a day; not only will they feel better but so will you…and eventually the world will be a happier place to live.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
In the Tree House: The older I get…
By: Samantha S. Daviss
As most of us are aware, the older we become, the more comfortable in our own skin we become. We figure out who we are and what type of people we want to surround ourselves with on a daily basis. As younger people we feel that we can’t or shouldn’t say anything that may hurt someone else’s feelings, or stand up for ourselves for fear they may not like us any longer.
But as time marches on, so does our personal strength. We learn that although we don’t need to say anything mean to each other, we can all learn to live in harmony; however, we begin to understand who we are and who we need in our lives.
This past weekend I celebrated another glorious birthday. And I say glorious, because honestly aging doesn’t bother me at all; in fact just the contrary…because if I weren’t aging, then that means I’m not living, and life is the best gift I could receive. Admittedly so not every day is perfect, I get down in the dumps too, or aggravated by life, but at least I am here to enjoy it while I can.
I love to celebrate and enjoy my birthdays, and this one did not disappoint. I’m not one that has to have a big fuss made about me, but I do like acknowledgement…the way I look at birthdays, is it is the one day that is completely your own, so spend it how you want to spend it. And I did just that. I did a little self-pampering that morning, then I spent the afternoon with my babies blowing out candles and eating cupcakes, and that evening I got to go on a date with my husband. And not to mention all my wonderful friends and family that contacted me to wish me a wonderful day.
A gal couldn’t have asked for a more perfect birthday. I was literally and figuratively surrounded by those who care for me the most in this world. Which leads me back to the beginning of my thought process here…
It has taken me a while, but I have been absolutely overwhelmed and blessed to be surrounded by the people I love the most in this world on a daily basis. Whether you are 10,000 miles from me living in
or just down the street, I know for a fact that those folks in my life have impacted me in a positive manner and made a difference in my life and that of my family’s. Kenya
One of my closest friends sent me a card that said something to the effect of…
“Isn’t it nice to know someone so well that they know everything about your back story and you don’t have to explain yourself or your reasons for doing what you did?”
I just thought that was perfect. Because it is so true, you feel the most secure around those who truly accept you for who you are, and your past. There is no explanation needed, no justification, just a simple “This is why” and that friend loves you regardless. I feel that if you really love or care about someone, there should be no judgment passed on their actions, their past or their future decisions. That is what true devotion really is; is allowing that person to be themselves.
I will never forget I had a girlfriend once, who sadly I lost in a horrific car accident right around our 30th birthdays. When she first came into “our group” of friends, she was very nervous, because she was the new kid on the block and dating one of our guy friends. But to boot she was pregnant (with his baby), but no plans of marriage were on the horizon. I had never met her, but instantly I fell in love with her. She was real, kind, and genuine; someone I knew I would want in my life for a very long time.
Well as the years passed, and we grew closer, she admitted to me that when we first met, she was extremely nervous to meet us all; mainly due to her unexpected pregnancy. But she told me the one thing she loved about me instantly was that I never judged her or made her feel like she was being scrutinized under a microscope. And I simply replied with “Why would I judge you?”
“That baby wasn’t a mistake; it just came a little earlier on your timeline than expected. I got to know you for you; because looking in the mirror I definitely know I’m not perfect.”
And that is how I feel everyone should respond to someone they don’t truly know. Get to know them first then make your own assessment of that person; don’t listen to idle rumors or stories creeping through the grapevine, because you never know… that person may make the biggest most positive impact on your life you could ever imagine.