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Archive for category: self help

My Red Bluff Bucket List

23 Apr
April 23, 2013

As seen in the April 23, 2013 edition of the Red Bluff Daily News

I had a wonderful experience this weekend.

I was an official judge for the rodeo parade.

Being a judge was on my bucket list of things to do in Tehama County before I move.

You see, my son is a Sophomore and after he graduates, I plan to open myself up to the possibility of living somewhere new.

Having lived in Red Bluff nearly all of my life, I have taken for granted many of the traditions we enjoy.

When you live in one place for a long time, you can easily forget that some of the activities, places and interesting attractions are unique to this area and can’t be experienced just anywhere.

I decided this year that I am going to try to find a way to participate in as many activities as I can at an interactive level and create a memory attached to the fun.

I started with the rodeo parade and I know I want to be at the author’s table this year for the Dairyville Orchard Festival and the list just seems to be growing. If you know of an event or activity to participate in, drop me an email and let me know the details.

Being a parade judge is much more work than you would believe.

We began before anyone even lined up their float, in the bar at the Elk’s Lodge.

The pancake breakfast was at full speed by the time we left to do the pre-judging. During pre-judging, participants get points for being on time and ready to show the judges what their entry is all about.

This years theme was Women of the West and some participants were great at embracing the theme.

After walking what seemed to be ten miles between 8-10 a.m. I grabbed an iced tea from Java Detour and climbed up onto the judges platform.

I was literally feeling like a kid up there.

When ever one of the participants I was responsible for judging came by, I was to stand and watch them do whatever it is that they do to make themselves stand out.

Some really made an impression. The Hart Family float and the Charro’s with the band and dancing horses were my absolute favorites, but I loved seeing people I knew go by one after another.

Being a judge at the rodeo parade was pure enjoyment. Being a part of something so Red Bluff was a great feeling of belonging.

What’s more, understanding how much work goes into something that is geared to give our town something wholesome and fun to do, makes me swell with pride.

The sheer amount of volunteers it takes to pull of fthe community events is mind boggling.

The character of the men and women who plan and execute events so others can have a great experience gives me a whole new crop of You Matter material.

My bucket list of activities to participate in is important to me.

I love having reasons to be grateful. I love challenging myself to grow, stretch and put myself out there. Being on the fringe is no way to live. Getting involved and doing things is where you see the good in others, the potential in yourself and God in other people.

I encourage you to create a bucket list of activities, actions, or goals that will enrich your life. Be, do and have things that will make you a better person and thereby make you a better life.

In a way, this column was one of my first bucket list items.

It has opened many doors for me that I never dreamed of when I started.

I can’t wait to participate in as many activities I can in the next two years.

Bully Proof Your Family

09 Apr
April 9, 2013

As seen in the April 9, 2013 edition of the Red Bluff Daily News 

It seems last week I struck a nerve with many of you about bullying. I even encountered a wonderful woman at a local restaurant who began crying while sharing her experience. No matter who you are or what age, you can relate to bullying. Most of the statistics on line are geared towards school-aged children and they are staggering. 160,000 students skip school every day because of bullying and one in four teachers sees nothing wrong with forms of bullying and will only intervene four percent of the time.
The fact is, the bullies who began in schools grow up and if they didn’t mature out of their socially deviant behavior, they carry it through to adult hood. Sometimes kids who were bullied turn into bullies. The old saying hurting people hurt other people certainly applies here.
After I posted my video, I was drawn to the other videos that seemed to attach themselves to mine because of a central theme. I started watching them. Video after video of people hurt by others, people on video actually defending their bullying and videos of people who had committed suicide because of being bullied.
It struck me that the theme in these videos is shame. What seems to happen in the bullying process is the bully wants the target to feel so ashamed of themselves that they hate themselves. The bully wants the target to look at themselves in the mirror and feel such disgust that they devalue their human life. Especially anonymous bullies. Anonymous bullies are the worst because they know deep down that what they are doing is cowardly and wrong and that if they signed their name to what they were doing, they would never actually say things with such hateful magnitude. These are the bullies who may be to the right of left of you at a soccer game and you never would guess it was them.
When I saw the parallel between rates of suicide, homicide and shame I realized that the thing that could help these people is simply to tell someone. Most of the videos I saw were after someone had hurt themselves. Chances are that the bullying became intense enough for that person that they simply turned the hate inward and felt that the only way out was to die. I found out something they didn’t know and I want to share it with you. I never planned to make that video. Something just came over me and I wanted to speak to the anonymous person who keeps targeting me. It seemed like this video might reach them.
The secondary and more important gain was the outpouring of love that came back. People I never would have interacted with otherwise. Because I spoke about what happened, I was healed by literally fifty times more positive people than the one negative person. If I had not spoken about being bullied, I would have never heard such positive words. How many of you being bullied don’t tell anyone? How many of your kids don’t tell you they are bullied? What if you knew? Have you asked? What if you knew that by listening to someone about being made fun of you could change their life. Maybe you could save their life? Is there anyone you can imagine who isn’t worth saving?
Parents, ask your child if they are made fun of at school or otherwise. Adults, check in with your adult family and friends and see if they are hiding any shame. Talk to them about their worth, remind them that bullies are all bark and no bite and that you are there to make it stop. Stand behind those words, be proactive. Be your child’s hero if they need a champion.
I made another video on Youtube called Bully Proof Yourself. You can see me one week after I got the letter. I look brighter, happier and healed. What a difference holding on made. Imagine if I had just kept things to myself and let the bully win. There were many hero’s who came to my rescue since I received that letter. I appreciate you all.

Bully Proof yourself

04 Apr
April 4, 2013

Here is the video series I posted about being bullied and how I reacted. See what I learned about bully’s, what they want to do to harm you and what you can do to stop them from hurting you.

Being Bullied at 43

02 Apr
April 2, 2013

As seen in the April 2, 2013 edition of the Red Bluff Daily News

I am sitting here writing next weeks column on Thursday March 27th. On Tuesday a remarkable thing happened to me. I was bullied. It is not the first time, in fact, the same person has been sending hateful mail, emails and unwarranted hate to not only myself but people I am associated with, my place of business and even my friends, for about three years now. Before the Daily News changed their policies about anonymity on the web, they often posed as multiple people placing negative comments on my columns calling me out and trying to engage in a hate fest. I actually stopped writing for a while out of fear. The monomaniacal message is I am a scam, a pathetic loser who uses my column as a platform to pontificate my brand of crap and if you all only knew how sick I was, you would stone me on the corner of Main and Walnut under the clock tower.
On Tuesday, I received an anonymous three page hate letter spelling out for me in the most sarcastic of ways how fat I am and that I wear spandex, that I can’t spell, that my family is a disgrace, that I am trying to get rich and famous by convincing people I am something I am not and a few other not so fluffy descriptions of my character, my personality and my past. On the same day, I got a thank you text from a community member for a letter of recommendation I had written telling me how positive I am and that I make a difference. I was in a unique position to decide what I was going to believe.
There was a time in my life, maybe not that long ago where I would have died inside at the hate that I got. I know this, because I have been bullied by this person for a long time. It used to consume me in self pity and a sense of why is this happening to me? The fact is that every column I have written, every experience I have had becoming a better me and every letter, email and hello in the grocery store telling me how much my column matters has changed me. I am not insecure, I am not self conscious and I am not willing to allow hate to define me.
Bullying is a real problem, we sometimes think it is only between children who haven’t developed the conscience or social skills sets to realize what they are doing. Well, I am 43 and I am being bullied. I am me, doing what I do, whether you like me or not and I am being harassed, hurt and demeaned by an adult. Someone who goes to work every day and interacts with the community, parents their children and is loved by other people is targeting me at my home, my work and among my friends. Somehow they believe that they have the right to come at me bro’ and I have to take it. All done anonymously to boot. They feel they are entitled to try to get me fired, lose my friends and perhaps make me feel so hopeless I would end my life and never let me know who they are.
So, after I received the letter, I did something I have never done. I responded. Usually, I wouldn’t. Usually I would just keep it between me and my family. I made a video where I expected to say what I had to say and be over it, but apparently I struck a cord. You can see my response if you search Being Bullied at 43 on Youtube.
We will not eradicate bullying, but we can find ways to infuse love and acceptance into others so when the bullying happens, people are impervious to it. It is because I know who I am in God, what I mean to my family and my acceptance of my own wonderful nature and flaws combined that the bully has no power. I am stable at my core and therefor when the attacks come, I can bear the blow.
Love one another wholly and completely and when someone attacks, they will have the inner strength to not believe the lies and hate. Tell your child they are accepted for who they are and they may be resilient enough to not be affected by bullies. Tell your spouse, your sister and your brother to embrace their brand of weirdness so the pain of someone’s hate bounces off of them.
They tell me my video went viral. I never expected that to happen. My purpose was to talk to the anonymous person and that was the only way I could think of. Our town has dealt with a lot of pain this past few months. We can overcome if we all refuse to hate.

Rhonda Meadows Searcy, You Matter

26 Mar
March 26, 2013

As seen in the March 26, 2013 edition of the Red Bluff Daily News

I am willing to bet that more people know who Rhonda is more than any other You Matter that has been written. I am willing to bet that what I have to say about her will be echoed, applauded and Amen’d throughout the community, because when you think of Rhonda, you think community.
Last fall I had the pleasure to attend Rhonda’s wedding. If you went, you know exactly what I mean when I say love was in the air. Rhonda’s (oh, and Larry was there too) wedding was overflowing with the feel of love. It was oozing from every corner of the environment. The wedding was seeping with genuine authentic love. It was inspiring and gooey and warm, just the way you want a great wedding to be. Well, that and windy.
Rhonda has been in this community for a long time. I have known her nearly all of my life and we have a working relationship that has brought us closer together than ever. I like Rhonda, that isn’t hard to do- but more importantly, I respect her. Rhonda knows who she is. She knows what she stands for and she is about others before herself. She is a quintessential community member. If there were a community award, I’d vote for her.
Rhonda works for a commission that helps children and families build better lives, she helps out the Chamber of Commerce, she is a Kiwanian, she is a mom, a wife and part of a huge close-knit family that makes the best macaroni salad dish I have ever tasted. She is a loyal and engaging friend and she genuinely cares about what happens to people. She is earthy and mothering and helpful and kind. She is introspective and her wisdom allows others to be who they are without them affecting who she is.
I don’t know many things, but I do know some things for certain. There will be multitudes of people who echo the things I am saying about Rhonda and many will have things to add to what I have said. Rhonda is the real deal. She is genuine and reliable. She is the type of employee every business wants to have, the type of friend every person wants to have and we are blessed that she is driven to give of her talents in this community.
If you are one of the few people who doesn’t know Rhonda, I am willing to bet you this- you probably know her work. You see, Rhonda is the last person I know who would ever ask for attention for what she does. She is the person who makes the whole thing happen, yet never asks for credit. She is the person who takes personal pride in something well executed and requires none of the windfall. She isn’t attention seeking, she is benefit seeking. She isn’t looking to do something for her gain, but for the gain of the whole.
Be like Rhonda, be kind and gentle and solution focused. Be helpful. Be inspiring. Be willing to help someone else shine and thereby shine yourself.

 

Calculated Acts of Gratitude

19 Mar
March 19, 2013

As seen in the March 19, 2013 edition of the Red Bluff Daily News

Random acts of kindness can’t be beat. Being the benefactor of the person in front of you buying your coffee or paying your toll brings a smile to your face and a sense that the human race, isn’t, in fact, all that bad. Having someone do something for you reminds you that people are generally kind and you have value to others. When someone does something nice for other people, it says a lot about them. Being grateful says a lot about you.
I used to be a very negative person. My brain developed a sense of negative self worth as a child. Though I know I was born with the capability of knowing my self worth, my environment repeatedly reinforced the opposite. My self worth came from what I did, not who I was. My sense of acceptance came from “being good.” I was never clearly shown what qualified being good, so I pinged along like a pin ball in a machine acting and reacting to the feedback I got at home, at school and from peers. Living in a house with dysfunctional rules, I never got the same reaction from my actions. One day I would be rewarded for an action that the next day could get me into trouble. I had no ability to predict my outcomes, so I lived day to day trying to be this elusive thing called “good.”
As a young adult, I spent most of my time trying to control everything about my environment. My misguided thoughts about my value meant that I engaged with everyone the same way. I tried to read what you wanted from me and give it to you so you would like me. My gratitude came from believing I had been of value to you and therefore I would be valuable. Again, what I did, not who I was. If I were to create a gratitude list back then, it would have read something like this- I am grateful that so-and-so was happy because I (fill in the blank).
Back in those days, a random act of kindness given to me would have been wasted. It would not have reinforced my belief system from childhood that value came from activities, but it wouldn’t be wasted today. Today, I see random acts of kindness as reassurance that who I am, without doing anything, is worthy of kindness.
If you are one of the people who has a negative self image like I used to have. The first thing I want to tell you is that you have been lied to. You have been deceived and whoever acted in a manner that made your worth conditional on doing something is flawed, not you. They probably didn’t even know what they were doing to you. They may have been treated poorly as a child too. It doesn’t excuse what they did. You can still love them and recognize that you didn’t do anything wrong. So many of the people I work with now, honestly believe they were bad and that is why their flawed, dysfunctional parents treated them poorly. That’s a lie. We are all good, we just don’t always have people in our lives teaching us what the good looks like. It’s not fair, but it’s true. You have the power to teach yourself or find people who can teach you what love is.
The fastest way I know to turn around your negative thoughts is to decide to find the positive. That will go against everything your brain has been taught, but it works. Make calculated acts of gratitude part of your day. When something bad happens, and it will, force yourself to think of something that is positive in spite of the negative.
There are a lot of things that collectively turn a negative person into a productive and healthy individual. Get started by choosing the thoughts of gratitude.

Calculated Acts of Gratitude

19 Mar
March 19, 2013

As seen in the March 19, 2013 edition of the Red Bluff Daily News

Random acts of kindness can’t be beat. Being the benefactor of the person in front of you buying your coffee or paying your toll brings a smile to your face and a sense that the human race, isn’t, in fact, all that bad. Having someone do something for you reminds you that people are generally kind and you have value to others. When someone does something nice for other people, it says a lot about them. Being grateful says a lot about you.
I used to be a very negative person. My brain developed a sense of negative self worth as a child. Though I know I was born with the capability of knowing my self worth, my environment repeatedly reinforced the opposite. My self worth came from what I did, not who I was. My sense of acceptance came from “being good.” I was never clearly shown what qualified being good, so I pinged along like a pin ball in a machine acting and reacting to the feedback I got at home, at school and from peers. Living in a house with dysfunctional rules, I never got the same reaction from my actions. One day I would be rewarded for an action that the next day could get me into trouble. I had no ability to predict my outcomes, so I lived day to day trying to be this elusive thing called “good.”
As a young adult, I spent most of my time trying to control everything about my environment. My misguided thoughts about my value meant that I engaged with everyone the same way. I tried to read what you wanted from me and give it to you so you would like me. My gratitude came from believing I had been of value to you and therefore I would be valuable. Again, what I did, not who I was. If I were to create a gratitude list back then, it would have read something like this- I am grateful that so-and-so was happy because I (fill in the blank).
Back in those days, a random act of kindness given to me would have been wasted. It would not have reinforced my belief system from childhood that value came from activities, but it wouldn’t be wasted today. Today, I see random acts of kindness as reassurance that who I am, without doing anything, is worthy of kindness.
If you are one of the people who has a negative self image like I used to have. The first thing I want to tell you is that you have been lied to. You have been deceived and whoever acted in a manner that made your worth conditional on doing something is flawed, not you. They probably didn’t even know what they were doing to you. They may have been treated poorly as a child too. It doesn’t excuse what they did. You can still love them and recognize that you didn’t do anything wrong. So many of the people I work with now, honestly believe they were bad and that is why their flawed, dysfunctional parents treated them poorly. That’s a lie. We are all good, we just don’t always have people in our lives teaching us what the good looks like. It’s not fair, but it’s true. You have the power to teach yourself or find people who can teach you what love is.
The fastest way I know to turn around your negative thoughts is to decide to find the positive. That will go against everything your brain has been taught, but it works. Make calculated acts of gratitude part of your day. When something bad happens, and it will, force yourself to think of something that is positive in spite of the negative.
There are a lot of things that collectively turn a negative person into a productive and healthy individual. Get started by choosing the thoughts of gratitude.

Crusty Sponge Syndrome

12 Mar
March 12, 2013

As seen in today’s edition of the Red Bluff Daily News

One of the interesting things I have noticed about the east coast is people do not ordinarily have fencing around their homes. It is quite common for a neighborhood to have vast open space between houses. You can clearly see into anyone’s yard, even when they have a pool.

Coming from California, this seems virtually unthinkable. We live in a state where privacy is only secondary to preventing a lawsuit. We would never think of having our back yards exposed to everyone’s eye’s or, at a minimum, to everyone’s animals who have no sense of boundaries.

Read more →

Are You Talking To Me?

05 Mar
March 5, 2013
 As seen in the March 5th edition of the Red Bluff Daily News
When I write provocative or challenging columns, inevitably, someone sends me an email, a Face Book message or comments to me directly telling me that they thought I had them in mind when I wrote that column. The truth is, the only columns that are about someone specifically are the You Matter columns.
Most of the time, I choose a topic for my column from something I have witnessed, experienced, read or seen. I never know what is going to resonate with me and give me pause, and later, spill over onto the key board. Sometimes I write my column, moments before it is due to the newspaper and sometimes I write two or three at a time, when I am inspired or influenced.

Are You Talking To Me?

05 Mar
March 5, 2013
 As seen in the March 5th edition of the Red Bluff Daily News
When I write provocative or challenging columns, inevitably, someone sends me an email, a Face Book message or comments to me directly telling me that they thought I had them in mind when I wrote that column. The truth is, the only columns that are about someone specifically are the You Matter columns.
Most of the time, I choose a topic for my column from something I have witnessed, experienced, read or seen. I never know what is going to resonate with me and give me pause, and later, spill over onto the key board. Sometimes I write my column, moments before it is due to the newspaper and sometimes I write two or three at a time, when I am inspired or influenced.
I have been accused over the last nearly six years of writing, of taking jabs at my ex, airing dirty laundry about friends and using my personal experiences as fuel to my writing fire. I admit, in the earliest of days when I was new to writing my column and reshaping my thinking, that was the case, from time to time. It wasn’t a conscious Taylor Swift sort penning of my angst, but a way of sharing my point of view. I also admit, that my writing has matured over time, just as I have.
I have a passion to teach. I have a passion to heal my inner child that never actually had a child hood. I realize now that my early years forced an unreasonable sense of responsibility on me. As an adult and as a mother who broke the chain of abuse and neglect, I see that I spent my whole life trying to make sure everyone around me was propped up to avoid personal pain. In my warped thinking, I had surmised that if I could keep you happy, I could avoid your anger, which in turn, meant I could be happy.
I write for many people. I write for people who may feel stuck, people who live in fear and regret. I write for victims and victimizers; for the bitter and the better. I write to inspire and to challenge your mind. I want to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. I want to help you face your truth, by showing you mine. Like you, I am afraid of the unknown, but perhaps unlike you, I have been given the strength to step out into the unknown with a faith that everything’s going to be all right.
I face weekly challenges in my column. I am not the best at grammar and punctuation and sometimes I cringe when I see the typo’s that missed my edit. I have had help with editing and I have gone at it alone. Depending on your level of critiquing, my written missteps may or may not affect my credibility. It doesn’t deter me from my passion.
When someone asks me directly or indirectly if I am writing about them, here’s what I think- If what I say resonates with you or causes a light bulb to go off in your head, then yes, I am talking about you. If what I say inspires you, confronts your behavior or sets you conscience on fire, yes, I am talking to you. If my words collide with your passions, your weaknesses or your fears, I am talking to you.
Nothing makes me happier than writing a You Matter column. Nothing brings me greater pleasure than to publicly speak truth about someone in this community who is a gift, simply for existing. My gesture and ministry to make every day people aware of their awesome presence on this Earth is who I am at the core. So, if you see yourself in one of my ordinary columns, be assured that the resemblance is coincidence at best. Nonetheless, I spent many years reading works from authors I cherish and seeing myself in their writing. Recognizing my flaws, my gifts and hearing that still small voice in my head whispering that I can change. You can change. Perhaps I am talking to you after all.

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