Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Art of Patience

Our family has been gifted with the experience of patience during the last eight months while we had our Florida house up for sale.

I thought I'd write a little bit about our experience, because I find patience to be an interesting topic.

I believe there is more than one type of patience -- there is the active kind and the non-active kind -- and it all starts in the mind. For example, while our Florida house was on the market, I never used the words "Waiting for our house to sell." Why? Because the word "waiting" is passive. Instead I chose to say, "While we sell our Florida home" -- a more active tone.

Having patience is hugely important in life, but it does not mean you do nothing.

While our Florida home was on the market, Paul and I adopted the attitude that our Florida home would sell when our Illinois home was ready for us. We trusted the process. We believed in God's plan and we knew he would put us where he wanted us to be.

Even so, this did not mean we would do nothing during the time our home was on the market. We became active participants in the selling process. We kept in touch with our real estate agent with weekly phone calls, we kept up on market conditions and pricing, we constantly brainstormed and tried new ideas to get attention for the home, and we started, updated and marketed a blog about the house. We did not sit around "waiting" for the sale.

The view from the Master Bdrm.
In addition to the work we did marketing our home, we also consciously worked to enjoy life as it was. You can find evidence of that scattered throughout the pages of this blog. The reason for that is because if you sit in life "waiting" for the next thing, you will be missing out on the life going on around you. And you will miss out on the lessons and gifts that come out of every experience in life -- even the difficult or stressful ones.

Having said that, I must admit the biggest test of our patience came during the closing process of the home sale, and it nearly sent us over the edge. We had to work very hard to remind ourselves that everything would work out. Keeping sane was a big job during that time. We are so grateful to our friends and family who helped to remind us ... "This too shall pass!"

... And, yes, it has passed! Our Florida home is now being taken care of by new owners, and we are super excited to move into our new home! I want to say, "I can't wait!" But I know better! :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beyond Frustration

This is our new home that we are excited to move into!
It's been a while since I've written. I've been thinking about what to write, but not sure about what to write. Meanwhile, I've been experiencing some very frustrating and stressful times. So, I thought I'd just write to get it out of my head and share with others in case it is helpful to you somehow.

The closing on our Florida home was scheduled for Jan. 14. About a week before, the bank for our buyers requested a one week extension. Fine. Honestly -- we questioned the Jan. 14th date from the start, but were assured by both our agent and the buyers' agent that it would be fine.

So, the closing was re-scheduled for Jan 21. Our attorney and title company had everything ready to go and were only waiting on the buyers' bank to send the loan packet. The entire day of Jan. 21 went by without any acknowledgement from the bank. Our attorney called. Our agent called. The buyers' agent called. Our attorney emailed. Our agent emailed. The buyers' agent emailed. No response all day long.

Finally, at the end of the day on Friday, we heard back from the bank and they said they were sorry for the inconvenience and that we would close on Monday. That they would reassign the loan to a local Fort Myers-based mortgage person and that we would have the loan packet first thing Monday morning. As frustrated as we were, we decided to give them another chance.

So, first thing Monday morning came ... and went. No loan packet. The loan was not reassigned. Again -- an entire day of calls and emails to the bank with no response until the end of the day. We began to question how long they were going to drag this out. They had 46 days to work on the packet, and it was as if not a single thing had been done yet. Plus, they ignored us all day long -- again. 

At this point, it's Tuesday at 9 a.m. CST. We are still not closed on our house. From what I understand the loan packet did come in during the night and we should be closing later today. I truly hope that is the case.

Part of me is so frustrated that I want to tell you who the bank is. I want the guy who screwed this up to be fired -- and maybe his manager. I wonder if the company that is relocating our buyers to Fort Myers hired the bank for their relocations -- if so, I want to shout to them that they need to fire the bank.

I want to call the bank and give them a piece of my mind. Via email they apologized for the inconvenience -- REALLY?! We are talking about peoples lives and thousands of dollars here. You're sorry for the inconvenience? Are you sorry for ignoring calls and emails? Are you sorry you just flat out did not do your job???

So, how does this story fit in with life coaching? Well, one of the best things you can do to clear frustrations from your mind is to write them out. Check. Next, you write out your intention for the situation -- my intention is to have a successful and peaceful sales transaction for our Florida home in time to close on our Illinois home. Check. Third, you write what you are grateful for -- we are grateful we have time between house closings! Check. Final step, write out your action plan. Our plan is to continue to follow-up with phone calls, remain calm with the other people involved and to see if we can re-list the house if the deal does not go through today. Check.

Wish us luck!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

How our family shifted out of survival mode into fun mode

As many can relate to, having children drastically changes one’s life. After my husband, Paul, and I had children, we unknowingly went into survival mode – a mode where we were just trying to keep our heads above water to keep up with all of our new responsibilities.
Survival mode is a very real thing, and unfortunately, too many of us get stuck there at some point in our lives. When you are stuck in survival mode, it’s difficult to have a positive attitude. You worry about things you can’t control. You spend too much time reliving the past and worrying about the future.
When you are in survival mode, it’s difficult to relax and live in your moments. It’s a state of living in constant stress, and you become burned out. That is most definitely where we were – burned out.
We were so overwhelmed by the job of parenting these two precious souls that we stopped living in other areas of our life. At times I felt as if I couldn’t even think to plan fun things to do, because my brain was so consumed with surviving each day. Thank goodness we had amazing friends and family who planned the fun and invited us along!
I’m not saying we didn’t have any fun at all – we most certainly did, but there was always this subtle, heavy heap of worry and stress that we unknowingly allowed to weigh us down. 
I started working with a life coach about two years ago, and that is what started our climb out of death valley and back into life. Paul also chose to work with a life coach, which really helped get us both on the same page. We learned a lot about living in the moment and being grateful for what we have.
It has been a lot of work, and a lot has happened in the past two years, but once again, we are finally living. In addition to the work Paul and I have done on ourselves and our marriage, our kids are getting older – they are not babies anymore – and they don’t rely on us for every sip of water or snack or even to get dressed. This feels like someone lifted a weight off our shoulders.
Before 2010 began, Paul and I committed to a year of adventure, and what an adventure it was. The biggest adventure was our move to Illinois, of course, but before we moved, we shared many new experiences in Florida, including, sleeping on the floor of a children’s museum with 50 Cub Scouts and their families, camping with the Cub Scouts, and discovering Disney theme parks for the first time!
Once in Illinois, we went to the horse races, started exploring the city of Chicago, visited a real pumpkin patch, raked leaves, shoveled snow, went sledding, cut down our very first real Christmas tree and more!
We are having so much fun and making many wonderful memories – even while we have been working on selling our Florida home. Let me tell you what a huge stress that is – it’s HUGE. But, we have not allowed that stress to stop us from living. We have learned to make the best out of every situation we encounter and to be grateful for what we have.
I am sharing this story to encourage anyone out there who may be experiencing challenging times. We all experience challenges, but it’s how you respond to them that really defines who you are. You know what they say, “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.” If you’d like help embracing this 90/10 principle, contact me!