Eve Annunziato

WHO ARE YOUR VIPs? January 19, 2009

I don’t make resolutions, rather I make annual goals. Nothing wrong with New Year’s promises – no judgment here. But, reportedly they have a less than 2% success rate. However, you exponentially increase your chance of success and personal growth by setting  goals. Personally, when I write down my aspirations and visualize my expectations, I’m more likely to achieve them. For 2009, one of my top goals is to live in the present, shelf my ego while maintaining work-life balance by focusing on my VIPs. I want to ensure my relationships with my Very Important People are a priority.  In times of busyness, I have tendencies  to shelf my relationships and focus on VDPs (Very Draining People) and VNPs (Very Negative People).  NOT ANYMORE.  Why put an effort toward folks that suck the life out of you and form only conditional, one-way relationships?

As all of you know, the effect of relationships in our lives simply cannot be overemphasized. When they are in a positive healthy state, tranquility is easy to find. When they go sour, stress, depression and even physical fatigue can result. Because it’s so important to foster our relationships with those with whom we care most about, our VIPs, we should purposely place a higher priority on them.

In The Five Love Languages author Gary Chapman makes a very pivotal point for relationships when he writes, “When your spouse’s emotional needs are met and he or she feels secure in your love, the whole world looks bright and your spouse will move out to reach his or her highest potential in life.” Right then, it hit me: It’s not just enough to think about how much I love my most valuable players in life, I have to make sure and tell them.  It’s a daily decision to put the needs of your spouse, children and best friends before your own. There’s a healthy way to love and be loved and to be intimate.  Quality relationships require patience, consistency and attention. Too many times, because the rest of life wears us out, we just don’t have the energy to put toward the commitment. In reality, you’re likely going to have to rearrange schedules, drop some activities and not commit to so many other things that keep you from putting your full energy into your family and other quality relationships. Studies have shown 85% of our joy is rooted through nourishing relationships.

Ask yourself this after a conversation with your loved one, “Did I make that person feel better or worse about themselves about their life?” After all, people are already besieged by doubt and surrounded by negativity that can incidentally be profoundly sobering. One of my top goals is to make certain that after every VIP conversation, the people I love, admire, and respect feel more confident about their situation – about their life. My husband’s program, the Life Barometer, is a great resource for growing healthy relationships.

Abraham Lincoln said it this way, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” So, let’s start putting some life back in YOUR years and love your VIPs with all of your heart and soul in 2009!

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HAPPY HOLY HUDDLE November 24, 2008

As we head into our season of Thanksgiving I have the obvious attitude of gratitude: A heavenly father who loves me unconditionally in spite of my faults, my cherished family and few close friends who love me unconditionally in spite of my faults, and a lifestyle I don’t deserve yet yearn to appreciate. But this post isn’t about that stuff or my invaluable community of loved ones all of whom are quite lovable. Rather, this challenge is about those I haven’t yet met but whom I aspire to love.

The honest raw truth, I have a horrible habit of remaining in my Happy Holy Huddle. In order to keep a balanced lifestyle, I intentionally singularly invest in and surround my self with those dearest to my heart. I’m often asked, “Eve, when are you going to Twitter, or sign-up on Facebook (or Face-Space as my father often refers to it) in order to stay connected with others?” My answer, “Never!” More connected, are you kidding me?! Please, I’m most joyful and content disconnected from the outside world. I’m most comfortable circled up in my Happy Holy Huddle. But, isn’t that contrary of how we’re actually called to form authentic community?

“The goal of the Christian life is to love well. Jesus was aware that true spirituality included not only loving God, but also the skill of loving others maturely… Growing into an emotionally mature Christian person includes experiencing each individual, including myself as sacred, or as Martin Buber, great Jewish theologian put it, as a ‘Thou’ rather than an ‘It’… According to Buber, ‘We treat people as an It when we use them as means to an end or as objects. We treat people as a Thou when we recognize each person as a separate human being made in God’s image and treat them with dignity and respect.’”
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero

Frankly, I’ve been processing this meaningful devotion since I encountered the truth a few weeks ago during my quiet time. These words pierced my heart with a dagger of conviction. It’s my prayer this holiday season to disassemble my huddle, disconnect from my contented spirit and start loving those I haven’t yet met.

Sure, I’ll still continue to guard my heart from getting more bombarded, busier, noisier, and more indebted to the virtual Cyber World (Not judging anyone who chooses to go this route to build community, including my sweet husband, but just setting a personal boundary not intended for everyone!). I’m striving to reach out more, build deeper relationships, and experience life, with even those outside my convenient circle of familiarity. There are plenty of opportunities we encounter in order to engage and extend a gracious heart. This Happy Thanksgiving, I’m giving thanks for my existing relationships and my prospective interactions whilst far from my Happy Holy Huddle!

On another personal note, congratulations to my loving husband and favorite weatherman! He was just awarded two Television Emmy nominations: an honor he’s most humble and grateful to receive. I’m quite excited for my already two-time Emmy award winner and am thrilled about these recent Emmy nods! Good luck, and I’m so very proud of you, baby!

 

LET IT GO ALREADY! October 16, 2008

Filed under: Just thinking...,relationships — Eve Annunziato @ 1:44 am
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Okay, I’m sitting in bed all covered up and toasty about to dive into a great book while Chuck, my sweet husband is doing bath, book and bed with the kids (God bless that boy!).  Yet, something weighs heavy on my heart – I keep hearing the words, LET IT GO ALREADY!  Did you ever feel like some people around you just need to hear that!  Okay, maybe not just “some people,” perhaps your own spirit, maybe my own soul.

Recently, Charlie and I returned from what we both agreed was one of our best vacations, ever.  I feel somewhat guilty admitting that, since it was just the two of us.  No kids, no family, no other friends.  Don’t get me wrong; I love all of the above  – spending invaluable time with our priceless loved ones.  It’s special, it’s a blast, and I appreciate quality time with friends and family.  However, there’s nothing better than connecting with my best friend in the whole wide world.  And, he loves me  (that’s a miracle in itself!).  We had five blissful days of non-scheduled time filled with indulgences of seafood, hot tubing, shopping and lots more ;-).  We got along swimmingly while enjoying our beautiful condo on the beach overlooking the picturesque Gulf located just above an amazing pool that served drinks with umbrellas!  One night, we decided to go surfing with the dolphins amidst a sunset cruise. I know, I’m a hopeless romantic – I can’t help it, but it sounded breathtaking.  And, it was truly amazing as we marveled over these entertaining dolphins joining us for the journey while riding our wake.  These precious mammals are known for their need for affection, love for attention (no wonder I relate!) coupled with great senses of humor and people-pleasing instincts (again, my esteem for these adorable guys is all making sense now!).

The most memorable part of the cruise was the profound words from our philosophical captain, the point of this post.  As the sun was setting, he encouraged us to hold on to our spouse, enjoy the moment, clear our minds, take a deep breath, appreciate the picture, live in the present and then said these exact words:

“As the sun is setting from the west above the gleaming ocean and as it disappears from our sight remember, this day will never return.  It’s gone forever.  Therefore, forget any negative feelings you harbor in your heart.  Let your fears, anger, bitterness, sadness, disappointments, failures, and regrets disappear with this very sunset.”

“Amen,” I exclaimed from the top deck. Sure, I got some looks, but his words inspired me – enough to journal this exact moment.   After all, like the sunset, all past circumstances are out of our control – evaporated into the night vanished onto the bottom of the ocean floor.   I’ll always view every sunset in this light.  Try it guys  – with every completion to the day, let it go.  A much needed reminder, following the conclusion of today.  Let it go already, and if not for you for the others around you!

 

TRUE MEANING OF LIFE October 6, 2008

Filed under: relationships — Eve Annunziato @ 2:02 am
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Lately, I’ve been asking myself this question: Why do we often times wait until someone dies before we write down how we really feel about their life, their heart and soul, their victories and contributions? After all, I’m learning more and more that at the end of the day, almost everything means absolutely nothing. But, there is one thing that truly means something – relationships.  Love for God, Love for loved ones, and love for those we don’t even know (my most difficult personal challenge).   So, rather than waiting any longer, I decided to write a letter in honor of my mother – a woman who whole-heartedly understands the true meaning of life:

Dear Mom,

I know God doesn’t have favorites; He loves us all the same.  But if He did, you would most certainly be his favorite.  Why?  Many, many reasons.  For one, you don’t have one regret in this life.  Okay, just one – the regret that you’re allergic to chocolate – milky, creamy, heavenly, endorphin-releasing, mouth-watering chocolate.  And, while we’re all sorry for that, unlike most regrets in life, that one is out of your control.  Here are other reasons why God would love you best…

You called me a winner even when I lost.  I remember placing 5th, out of five, in the 100-yard dash.  But, you said I was number one in your eyes.

You taught me how to serve even when I was selfish. I’ll never forget the days we would head out delivering, “Meals on Wheels.” At first, I was a little scared about visiting these “old” people, but it didn’t take long before I was attached to each one of them and looked forward to our weekly visits.

You showed me how to be the hands and feet of Jesus not by making me repeat a memorized prayer, but by spending Saturday afternoons making PB&J and delivering them to the homeless lying in the streets of 69th street.  And, let’s not forget the letters I would help you write to the prison inmates serving life sentences to let them know they were forgiven in the eyes of God.

You told me I was the best even when I sang off key.  I have a vivid memory of a recital, during which I followed the girl who sang Italian Opera with my rendition of an out of tune, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”  Oh, my voice was somewhere out there all right, but you gave me a standing ovation and told me I was an amazing singer.  There are those that would call that lying.  But, in my humble opinion, more parents should tell those types of fibs.

You supported me, believed in me, and encouraged me to follow my dreams when everybody thought my aspirations of being on TV were unrealistic.   You called over 100 news stations to get contact info before the days of the Internet, helped me package, mail and deliver over 70 resume tapes.  I’ll never forget the moments you cried with me after reading the more than 50 rejection letters I received in response.  When I finally did land my first TV reporter gig in North Carolina, you came to visit.  When the News Director showed you a closet full of resume tapes and explained to you how lucky your daughter was to have this job, your sassy reply, “No sir, you’re luck to have my daughter.”  My former boss and I still laugh about that story.

And, following a fight with a mean friend, I’ll never forget you went down to the local Trolley Stop, got down on your hands and knees, pulled tissues from your purse, and wiped off the derogatory chalk graffiti on the sidewalk written about me out of an act of revenge.   You used those tissues more than once; they wiped my snotty nose, wiped my teary eyes, and wiped the dirt and blood off of my little boo-boos.

And, when you finally enter the gates of heaven and meet our Holy Father, this is what I predict he’ll say,  “Well done, good and faithful servant, you are my child, delight of my life, chosen and marked by my love, whom I love and am well pleased.  I don’t have favorites but if I did, you would definitely be it!”  Then, he’ll hand you a big eternal chocolate bar.  To which your reply will be, “Thanks!  My daughter told me you were going to say that.   Oh, and may I please have the one with caramel!”

 

Gifted To Lead PART 2 September 25, 2008

I could talk about this subject all day.  But instead, I’ll just dedicate one final post. As a refresher, we’re exploring the book by Author Nancy Beach called, Gifted to Lead, an inspiring and refreshing journey in which Nancy poignantly explores the art of leading as a woman (Men, don’t stop reading, this will help you manage, teach, lead, and understand the women in your world more). The following will resonate with women and men of influence:


“I believe it is no accident that Jesus was the first rabbi to teach women, to include them in his circles, to give them a level of dignity and opportunity that had been unknown.  We’re told in the eighth chapter of Luke that when Jesus traveled around, he went in a community that included the Twelve, along with women who, in some cases, came from pretty shady backgrounds.  Imagine in that day, a little group of men and women, mostly single, traveling together from town to town. Imagine the rumors and gossip!  Yet Jesus was so committed to creating a new kind of community where it was possible for men and women to relate to each other as brothers and sisters that he was courageously willing to run the risk.  And, so was born a new kind of community, where in Christ there was no longer male and female to stand as a barrier that divided humanity.”
John Ortberg, Forward in Gifted To Lead

Wow!  I love that.  This week a wise man pointed out that at the core of who we are, man and woman, we are the same.  Jesus looked directly into our heart, not our sex.  Leadership is an act of the spirit, an immense responsibility, an earned respect, a presence, a skill not to be taken for granted.  After all, on some level, whether mother, wife, employer, employee, volunteer, homeroom mom, community group facilitator, friend or daughter, we all lead in some capacity.  Embrace it, enjoy it, and accept it.

“I challenge all leaders – women and men – to discover their unique style of leadership and then to live it out with confidence and passion.  The church and our world need all kinds of leaders!  When I see a man lead a team by building strong community, or a woman who displays amazing skills of strategy or vision, I celebrate.  Being true to how God made us makes leadership less of a burden and more of a natural outpouring of how we function best.”  Nancy Beach, Gifted To Lead

I’ll leave you with that.  It will have to be all for now.  I have to sew a flag costume that includes a red, white, and blue wig for my son’s history project this week.  If you know me, I give you permission to laugh aloud.  Alas, it’s time for me to lead this costume making undertaking (Pray for me!).

 

Is Your Relationship A Weakening Mesocylone? August 18, 2008

Filed under: relationships — Eve Annunziato @ 12:39 am
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When I woke up this week and surprisingly found a dozen roses and a note that says, “I’m proud of you and I believe in you,” I thought, “I really like this guy!”  And, it got me thinking about relationships and the different seasons we all experience on a periodic (sometimes daily!) basis.  One of Charlie’s past posts relates weather cycles to our own life cycles in order to help maintain balance in our everyday lives.  I can relate to relationship waves – I am very well aware that in a marriage they go up and down.  I’m quite in tune that we’re all commonly working toward keeping the communication open and the intimacy healthy.  As a result, I’ve made a concerted effort, this year in particular, to spend quality time with my loving spouse in order to make him a top priority.  I’ve also failed in this area at times – big time.  Therefore, I know first hand, that if I begin to lose focus on him and the importance of our relationship I can easily head us directly into the path of a destructive storm.  So, I hope you enjoy this reminder from Charlie as much as I did:

What the heck is a mesocycle, you ask, and what does it have to do with relationships?  Great question!

A mesocyclone is a rotating storm.  Mesocyclones can strengthen into full-bore supercells which in turn can produce tornadoes.  They can be very destructive and are not taken lightly by meteorologists when they show up on a radar screen.   But today, I don’t want to focus the potential danger of mesocyclones; I want to focus on their life cycle for a moment.

Once a mesocyclone has formed and is in the mature stage, it can only continue if the circulation stays strong.  These storms are an amazing interdependent system of wind, pressure and moisture.  The strongest ones can even overcome external forces that work to tear them apart.   But during the weakening stage, the rotation begins to slow, spread out and pull apart until eventually it dissipates.

Relationships can be much the same – they often resist the outside negative influences of the world when they are strong but fall apart when spouses begin to pull apart from one another.  Take the following scenario…  You begin to withdraw emotionally and physically from your spouse because he or she seems to be focused on something else more than you (i.e. career, work, money, hobby, themselves or another person, etc).  Your spouse senses your withdrawal and coldness and responds by spending even less time with you.  In turn, you get more and more frustrated and close your emotional door nearly all the way.  Now, your spouse does the same.  Eventually, you seem to only argue with your spouse during the few times you speak to one another at all.  This is a very dangerous cycle.  Eventually the relationship weakens to the point that it slows and separates just like the dying mesocyclone.  What once was a formidable force that could resist the outside negative influences of the world is now just a whisper in the wind.  Sad.  What’s even more sad is that much of this “pulling apart” of the relationship can likely be avoided, but it takes guts and it takes willingness to swallow some pride.  If you find your natural reaction is to pull away when your spouse seems to be doing the same, one of you HAS to stop and turn around or you’ll both keep going in opposite directions.

I’ve found that those with the most successful marriages don’t get caught in this cycle very often.  Talk about your problems.  Don’t be passive aggressive.  Share your feelings.  Don’t get defensive when your mate voices concerns.  Listen.  This obviously won’t solve all marriages but it sure would help many.  It sure has helped mine.