Find Your Happy Place

In the therapy business, we all work with people every day. We are all parts of teams who must pull together to accomplish one common goal of “Making a Difference in the Lives we Touch.” We are fortunate to work in an industry where we see the daily progress of those around us and that can be extremely rewarding. Along with that though, requires perseverance and patience. When I first met Dan 18 years ago, I recognized quickly that he was a very patient man. He not only was building a business brick-by-brick, but he was also parenting three young children. Each day, Dan came into the office or walked into a facility, with a smile on his face. Patience and a positive attitude are qualities that I admire above almost all others. You can instantly change the feeling of a room when you walk in with an optimistic outlook and genuine smile on your face. I once asked Dan, “How can you always be so happy?” His answer, “I’m in my happy place. This is Dan-Land and its happy here all the time!” While this made me laugh hysterically, I took away an important lesson, find your own happy place. Once you’ve found it, follow these simple steps:
1) Don’t let others interfere with or limit your joy (Say No to Debbie Downers).
2) You must be very patient among chaos and revert to your happy place as often as needed.
3) When you feel overwhelmed with the demands of others, go to your happy place and smile until people start to go away.
4) Find joy in knowing that you are loved and someone out there is less fortunate than you.
5) Your happy place is a tranquil place where no negativity may enter (Think No Whining Zone).
6) Check your goals to ensure that you are pursuing objectives that bring happiness for you.
7) Put down your electronics and read a book, watch the sunset, or kiss a fat baby.
My happy place is a sunny beach with a cool breeze rolling in off the ocean, a great novel and a frozen drink with an umbrella. What’s your happy place?

A Mother’s Day Dedication…

For more than a decade, I have been blessed to know a man who tells the most hysterical stories, that I know can’t be 100% true, but still leave me doubling over in giggles. We were first united as colleagues, but are bound as family. We have laughed a million laughs together and we have occasionally cried together. Though parted by many miles, we have shared the journey of our children’s lives together and of our own personal achievements and setbacks. We have climbed many mountains and looked at the valley below…with pride. I love my friend who signs off on every card, email and phone call with “the best is yet to come.” Allow me to introduce you to my friend Steve….

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. A MOTHER’S DAY DEDICATION

by Steve Bauer

It was just another day in paradise. The television blared alerts declaring that the Midwest was a kaleidoscope of snow, ice and wind that was wreaking havoc with telephone poles, trees and overflowing rivers. Here in Florida, I was watching the palm trees swaying, and tried to find a cloud in the powder blue canvas above. There was not a one to find.

She sat in her chair with a blank stare. I sat across from her trying to read what thoughts, feelings or information hid in the deep recesses of her mind. I could read nothing for I was looking at a blank slate. The once perfectly coiffed hair was replaced by long stringy strands of haylike bristles that framed the hollow eyes, the sunken cheeks and the lopsided lip stick. She looked as though a five year old was let loose and drew circles around her mouth.

How many times had she straightened my tie, slicked down my numerous cowlicks, or tucked in my shirt? Now she blankly stared at my spiked hair and I wondered if she wanted to slick it down? Did she care that my hair was a gelled forest of cowlicks? How many times did she stir the oatmeal and pretend that the spoon was an airplane and my mouth the airplane hangar? Now the loud sounds of jets overhead did not even cause her to blink. Does she hear it? Does she care?

The stained blouse mirrored a splattered finger painting. This formerly impeccably dressed, stiffly starched, fashion plate was a crumpled mass of cotton. Who mismatched this blouse and shorts? Who chose not to change her stained blouse? Who mixed stripes with plaid? Who could let this happen? I dove into the closet and pulled out a clean white tee shirt to replace what she wore. I wandered back to a time when she gave me some sage advice…white and diamonds match everything. Now the diamonds are replaced with glass, but she still loves to look at them sparkle.

She grabbed my hand, and unlike decades ago, I now led her and supported her so she would not topple. How many times had she done the very same thing for me? I grew and learned to do it myself…she would just need my hand for support more and more. When did the roles change? When did I become the parent to the person who parented me?

There was a time, not too many decades ago that our loved ones did not survive long enough to completely go around the circle of life. Their lives did not last long enough for roles to change. I work in the business of taking care of those who have taken care of us. To all of the residents in the facilities that we see each and every day, the mothers of someone, the matriarch of a tribe…I send a note of “Happy Mother’s Day.” And to my own mom, who may understand this or not,“Thank you for a lifetime of unconditional love. It is my pleasure to return the favor.”

Steve Bauer, SLP, Senior RVP @ Functional Pathways

Pictured with his beautiful parents, along with Dan & Angel Knorr

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I HAVE A ROCK GARDEN. I WATER IT EVERY DAY.

 

 

RADIANT ROCK

 

I have a rock who is radiant. She is so stunning that she needs no paint, sparkle or glitter. She wakes up every morning and looks like a beautiful princess rock with no lip gloss, hair extensions, fake nails or padded bras. She is sweet and salty, sassy and savvy, smart and driven. Some say rocks this pretty only show beauty on the outside, but not this time. Saint Augustine said, “Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.” This rock is a young, old beautiful soul. This rock thinks she can grow wings and fly. Everyday she wakes up, puts on her wings and tries to take flight. But each day, she finds herself back in the rock garden, where she belongs. Because as you know, a rock can’t fly.

 

BABY ROCK

 

I have a baby rock. She is solid, grounded, cool and dependable. She is the most beautiful china doll baby rock you will ever know, and I’m not just saying that because she is my baby rock. Everyone else says it too. She is the Baileys in my morning coffee. She is my partner, in creativity and ingenuity, everyday. I share more laughs and crude humor in a 30 something hour work week with this rock than I deserve, but no one else really knows that (well, except for you). Baby rock is stoic because, as she told me once, she was born without emotions. But I know better. This rock truly never waivers, stresses, weakens or bails. She is my reliable, loyal rock, and she is my baby rock. And I am her MOMMY ROCK. Someday soon, she will have little baby rocks, and they will be my little grandbaby rocks.

 

 

baby pet rocks

 

HAT ROCK

 

I have a rock who likes to wear hats. She is an athlete, soccer mom, uncompensated maid, sexy wife, hedge trimmer, businesswoman, tennis mom, seamstress…the list goes on and on. The interesting thing about this rock is that she ROCKS all of her hats. You would think she would be exhausted wearing so many hats, but no. My rock sends me the first text in the morning everyday and my last text at night…when she thinks I may be lonely. She is my pizza and wine after a Tuesday night of Soccer. She is the show up early to my party and last one to leave, because she won’t let me handle the cooking & dishes on my own. If you pick this rock out of my garden and look on the bottom, it says ON because this rock has no OFF button. She goes full tilt 24/7 as we all try to keep up. I have raised hell in restaurants and bars in 5 countries and more than 25 cities with this rock. I have taken an oath not to disclose situations involving this rock. I hope everyone has a rock like this one, because she is the shizat.

 

BLING BLING ROCK

 

I have a wise bling bling rock. She was the first rock in my garden. My rock is a DIVA; lover of all things that shine, with the knowledge of YODA. This rock is powerful, insightful, discerning and fashionable. I go to my Diva rock for all things great and small. She is my counsel on topics from Relationships to Parenting to Reality TV to Spanx. She is fabulous and fantastic, and so much more. She is comfort. She is home. She is love and loyalty. She is the always answers my phone call. She overstimulates and spoils baby rocks. I know it’s not fair to pick a favorite, but because this is my story…I get to make the rules. This one is my pet rock.

 

MY ROCK GARDEN

 

I have been blessed to have a gorgeous garden of loyal, fun and loving rocks. I can’t name them all in this story. But I truly love all of my rocks, boys and girls. I try to water my rocks every day, but I know I could do better. Because a rock garden without nourishment and care is just a rock garden. Carl Perkins once said, “If it weren’t for the rocks in it’s bed, the stream would have no song.”

 

 

THIS ROCK SONG IS FOR YOU.

 

 

2010-rock-garden

 

Load up the Trailer! It’s Pipelining Time!!

I went to five schools when I was in the second grade. My dad was/is a pipeliner, my grandfather was a pipeliner, my step-dad was/is a pipeliner and now my brother is a pipeliner too. The life of a pipelining family is unsettling. My dad would work all day at the local sawmill then come home and sit by the phone on the wall, willing the call to come in for that next big job. He would spend hours on the phone on Sundays calling everyone he knew, trying to find out what jobs were coming up and did they need a dozer operator, a foreman, a laborer, anything at all. When the call finally came, it was load up the trailer, truck and car, and be in Wyoming in three days ready to work. No matter where my dad went, we went too. So, what that meant for me and my brother is leaving our home town school and starting over and over, year after year. Some jobs were only a couple of months and some were a year.

Second grade was a particularly hard year on me. At five towns spread out through Texas, the teacher would smile on Monday mornings and say “Class, please welcome our new student Angel. She is from Tennessee.” Kids were no different than they are today. The bullying wasn’t what it is now, but the cliques and social rankings were in place wherever I went from Kindergarten on. I don’t have a lot of memories of each of those schools that year, because I didn’t have very many friends. I kept to myself and had lunch with my older brother if he was at the same school that time. I do specifically remember one sweet girl from India who asked me to be her friend. Just like that…”would you like to be my friend?” Her dad ran an old motel outside of town and my mom would drop me off on Saturdays and we had a blast cleaning rooms with her mom. I have no idea to this day why I thought that was fun, but it was.

In another town, when I was about 12, I was invited to a pool party by a super duper cute and peppy cheerleader. I was in that really awkward, crooked teeth, hair parted down the middle with barrettes on each side, stone washed jeans too short, stage. Google dork or goober and you’ll get the picture. Anyways, I was beside myself with excitement. I BEGGED my mom to PLEASE take me and drop me off for the day. Because she didn’t know the parents and we were new in town, we settled on two hours. When I arrived, I was thrilled to see a sea of tan, long legged blondes in two piece bikinis sipping on Sunkist and Dr Pepper. I briefly second guessed my one piece, but that wasn’t going to ruin my big day. All the girls were introducing themselves and “Ooooh, welcome Angel,” blah, blah and “tell us ALL about Tennessee” and so on. About 20 mins into it, the girl who was hosting the party walks up to me and says, “You do realize that the only reason we invited you was to make fun of your accent.” Honestly, I laughed at first because I thought she was just joking, but then it dawned on me that they invited me just to make an ass out of me. These were the days of no cell phones. So here I sit and wait in the corner another hour and a half for my mom to come get me. I’m not trying to be pathetic here, but it was a long wait.

So, what is the point of all this? You could assume that I am making a point that kids are cruel to each other, or geez your parents were assholes to drag you kids all over the country, or why on earth does everyone in your entire family work in that god-awful business? The point though is, you are who you are in life and you end up as an adult, exactly where you were meant to be. I am exactly where I was meant to be in life because of the choices and experiences that have shaped me along the way. Good or bad, my personality and qualities have been shaped by living life on the run. A childhood built on meeting new people all over the country has resulted in my being very open and welcoming to new friends, eager to travel all over the world without fear of the unknown, and to NOT COMPLAIN about my life today. Trust me, I do not want to go back to living in a trailer. There are so many people I meet who I refer to as “Double Debbie Downers.” You know who these people are. They come in to work on Monday whining and crying about their weekend, their spouse, their kids, their gout. If you hear me whine and cry, at any time, please punch me in the face because I deserve it.

I have a friend and colleague who tells her employees and peers all the time to “put on your big girl panties.” She says this to both guys and girls actually. I know you have heard this phrase before, but I have literally heard her say this over and over for about 8 years. And, she is absolutely right. Put on your big girl panties. If you don’t like the cards you have been dealt, then change them.

What Curse Word Starts with a B & Rhymes with China?

The company I work for, Functional Pathways, started in 1995. Since that time, Dan Knorr has never had an Assistant. His administrative & travel needs have always just been split up between me and a few other kind hearted people at the office willing to help out. So about a month ago, WE ALL decided that it was time for him to hire an Executive Assistant. We interviewed a handful of experienced candidates in a panel style format. One particular lady came in to interview and was highly recommended due to about 10 years of office experience. The interview was going really well. She was super friendly and smart and funny too. She looked a lot like Melissa McCarthy actually. So, I asked “Melissa” about her knowledge of Microsoft Word & Excel. She says, “I am very proficient in all of Microsoft Office. I actually have a really funny story about that. When I took this job with my current company about 7 years ago, they asked me the very same question and I said oh yes, I know all about those programs. I actually had never worked on a computer, other than emailing! They hired me anyways and I just figured it out! Ha Ha!” Melissa was just laughing away and so were we until Dan said, “So you lied during your last interview to get the job?” She said, “Yes! I guess I did! I really needed the job. HaHa!” So then he said, “Well, have you lied to us today during this interview?” She said, “No!! Not Yet!” I mean you have to admire the fact that she was open and honest during an interview. Taking responsibility is one of the most important qualities in a person’s business and in their personal life. BUT, seriously, her timing was really off. I’m all for owning up to the mistakes you have made and how you have learned from them, but some things are better left unsaid.

Our Company Values are the foundation for how our employees carry out their daily responsibilities at work, and we hope these values also carry over to their home life. This week, our value to focus on is RESPONSIBILITY. I preach the importance of taking responsibility to our kids every day. From being responsible for your backpack, to cleaning your room, to admitting when you made a mistake, to being honest and humble. I also preach it to my team at Functional Pathways. I tell my “girls”…you are a human being and you will make mistakes. You will say the wrong thing to someone on the phone and they will get pissed. You will show up late for work because you were out late and overslept. You will come unprepared to a huge corporate meeting because you forgot to type up your agenda (this one is me). Whatever the case may be, you have to OWN UP TO IT. The worst predicaments my team has ever gotten into is when someone tried to cover something up or passed off the mistake onto someone else. I tell my team that we can overcome and repair any issue, but only if we are working as a team and we are all on the same side.

When our kids were a lot younger, the oldest came to me one day to tell me that his sister, who was about 6, had been saying bad words on the bus. He said it made him feel really sad and he thought I should know. I told him thank you for sharing that and I would speak to his Dad about it. I asked if he would mind telling me what his sister had been saying. He said it was a really bad word and started with a B. Well, as you can imagine, all kinds of B curse words were running through my mind, so I decided to try and narrow it down a bit. I first asked him if he could give me a hint about the type of word it was and he told me it was a woman’s body part. That helped. So, I threw out a couple of the more obvious, but I was wrong over and over. It must have been a Friday afternoon, because I wasn’t on my game. I finally said “Well, what does it rhyme with?” He was like, “Oh ok, well it rhymes with china.” I wasn’t expecting that. I’m thinking, what word starts with a B and rhymes with China and is a woman’s body part? I finally said “Wait, has she been saying BAGINA?” He’s like, “YES, that’s it.” I was trying not to laugh, but that was like the funniest thing ever. So, then I asked how she was using the word on the bus exactly and he said “If you don’t shut up I’m going to punch you in your Bagina” and “Kate wants to kiss Jeffrey in his Bagina.” WHAT THE??

Dan & I enjoyed a glass of wine over this story that evening then he went to confront the culprit. TWO HOURS of grueling questioning and interrogation, but that child would not own up to saying Bagina. She did, however, incriminate herself further by admitting words like Stupid, Dummy, Butt and a few other winners. He did finally wear her down though and she threw herself on her bed with a wailing cry and said “I been saying the word BAGINA!!” So, the punishment was worse that it should have been if she wouldn’t have wasted two hours of her Dad’s time lying and also admitting all the other things she had been doing wrong. If she would have just taken responsibility and owned up to it straight away, the evening would have gone a lot smoother. But that’s a tough pill to swallow for a 6 year old.

That stubborn 6 yr old is my step-daughter Erica and she is 21 now and in college. One thing that I have always taken responsibility for is the fact that I haven’t been the Tennis skirt wearing, Betty Crocker cookie baking, field trip chaperone that I could have been. My kids know they can always round up lots of food in this house and they will always have clean laundry and a place to call home filled with love. But, I’m not the go to Mom for homemade cake pops, Pinterest inspired custom Valentine cards, and scrap books comprised of family camping trips (this girl doesn’t camp). While I take full responsibility of the fact that my days, M-F, are consumed by my job and evenings/wknds devoted to my kids, along with that comes doubt and regret. I will admit that leaving my 1 yr old at daycare was a very hard thing to do. It was the right thing, but it was hard. I want to share with you an excerpt from a letter my spunky step-daughter wrote to me a month ago. Not a text or email, but a real legit letter.

“If it weren’t for you, who knows where I would be right now. You are the reason that I am able to do the things I love. I probably wouldn’t have anyone to support me with my Sorority or take me shopping for my proms dresses. I definitely would have failed all of my English classes. You are one of the strongest women I know and my biggest role model. I hope by the time I’m forty I have raised four amazing kids, be running half-marathons, and still manage a full-time job. I know that I don’t call you Mom, but I think of you as one.”

I want you as the reader to know, I didn’t post this letter excerpt for me, I posted it for you. This story is not about me, it’s about you. If you want to be the best parent, friend, spouse, co-worker, boss, mentor….that you can be, JUST BE. Give yourself a break already. Be who you are and take responsibility for the things that you can control and strive every day to be a positive influence on someone else.  I love this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die.
And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”

 

Angel Knorr

It’s hard to face the problem when the problem is your face.

The Face in the Mirror

The Face in the Mirror (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not trying to say that you don’t have a lovely face. I’m sure you have a stunning smile, a nice straight  jawline and a full head of hair (unless you are my friend Marcus Miller). But your face is one thing and what’s behind that gorgeous face is a whole other thing. When you get out of bed in the morning, and if you are me, crawl your way over to the bathroom and mercifully beg for it to be Sunday, what do you really see behind those eyes? Who is that person looking back at you? AND, do you like LIKE her, really LIKE her? (not in the Facebook LIKE sense.) For me, when I look in the mirror, I see A LOT of things that need some attention. I don’t really want to go into the issues regarding age spots, cellulite and gravity. But I seriously have a whole laundry list of things that I need to work on.

In the not too distant past, 16 months ago to be exact, I had a very minor mid-life crisis. My husband will tell you it was a major crisis and this whole household brought me Chardonnay & Dove Chocolates as peace offerings. Regardless, I started to question myself day and night if I had done everything that I set out to do in this life. I HAD DREAMS BEFORE THESE KIDS came along and wore me down!! I love my kids by the way. But my everyday routine and schedules really had gotten in the way of the big plans I had made for my adult life. So, I started to crawl over to the mirror each morning and look at my face to ask, when I leave this world, what am I leaving behind? What legacy have I left behind for my children to tell their children? Did I leave a big mark on this planet or small? I really struggled with this, every day. Don’t get me wrong, I really love my day job. And I really love my family. You will not find a more passionate person about the company that I have given my life to for the last 15 years. But at the end of the day, the answer stared back at me in the mirror. Functional Pathways is my husband’s legacy. It is his baby. He has grown and nurtured this child for almost two decades and he is a proud Papa, or Big Papa as he calls himself. Dan Knorr lives and breathes this company every day of his life. His love for this company is infectious and his PASSION is contagious. I too have many aha! moments where I bust out with some amazing morsel of genius, which always takes my peers by surprise. But Functional Pathways is not my legacy. This is not what I set out to do. It is what I get up and do every day and I pour my heart and soul into my job. But it is not my legacy and I can’t take someone else’s dream and make it mine. I finally looked in the mirror one day and made peace with my face. I realized now is the time to do what I set out to do.

Dr. Suess is a really cool guy. I mean seriously, some of the most profound things ever written were said by that man. I could quote him all day. But, on this particular day, I am embracing his words, “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way.”

So, I got on my way. And here I am. This is what I set out to do. I set out to tell my story. I thought my story would come in the way of a novel that would be praised by the Huffington Post and receive 4 out of 4 stars in my weekly People magazine. But my story is my Blog. I hope to share stories that might motivate, inspire or entertain you. If that didn’t happen today, please don’t abandon my blog and give me another chance! Seriously, don’t abandon my blog.

So, today my question for you is, what did you set out to do? What is your legacy? Because you HAVE TO have a legacy. No matter what. You  have to leave your mark on this world. Please share your story with all of us.