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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I Like Waiting

I love to wait.  Arriving early for a flight seems like a time luxury to me.  Sometimes I plan my wait time – and bank on getting something productive completed like a report for work.  More often, I don’t plan my wait time and I just enjoy the forced downtime.  I don’t feel guilty about being still for a little while because I am doing something; I’m waiting for my plane!  This is time I can wander around and look in shops; grab a snack; watch people; and just breathe. 

I don’t mind waiting in line at the grocery store.  I even don’t mind waiting at the DMV.  Those blissful snapshots of forced downtime are little mini gifts in our days.   I can’t choose to be still for 15 minutes without feeling utterly guilty about whatever it is I should be doing instead.  Heck, I just tried it… I watched my dog lounging on the floor next to a block of sunshine from the window and thought, I should just breathe and sit with him for a moment.  That lasted maybe 30 seconds until I felt the urge to right this latest epiphany down.  

Monday, July 3, 2017


Do you remember writing notes about very. important. things. to your friends or crushes in middle school?  I had journals with my best friends that we passed back and forth in high school.  I have boxes of letters from my best friends from elementary onward.  Writing was .... is... the "safe" way of communicating.  It's safe because you don't have to feel the rejection immediately, and it's safe because you get time and space to carefully craft your thoughts without stumbling over words and facing someone's immediate reactions.  Those journals and letters are spackled with crossed out words - and torn edges where the words were just wrong and I threw them away.   Time and space are amazing gifts when it comes to my heart.  

Motivation vs. Protocol

MotivationGuilty... Scrolling through flashy images with succinct nuggets of obvious wisdom on Pinterest has, thus far, not helped me lose any weight and get healthy.  Actually, the opposite is true - as I'm bigger than I've ever been in my entire life.  You don't get "jacked up" on motivation.  Motivation is not what I need right now - I need skills and action.  I think about what I want and come up with an approach in generalities -- but lack the actual clarity of which next step to take.  Lately I've been thinking about all the things I endured went we did IVF.  I took pills; I ordered medicine, I made sure it arrived on time, I scheduled shots, I stuck myself with needles.  I got up super early in the morning to show up at the doctors office for more poking and prodding and bad news.  Over and Over for years.  I kept meticulous records of protocols, results, appointments - and had it all organized in a binder.  It did not work - but I followed the process.  It was a foreign and challenging process.  I had to learn endless acronyms, medicine types, routes of administration, not to mention the financial side of dealing with insurance, loans, and payments.  

So why, if I could train myself to climb that steep learning curve - why have I struggled to do the same thing with mastering my health and my weight?  Is it really so different.  Mustering the courage to stick myself in the ass with a giant needle is so different from mustering the courage to walk into a gym?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tell Me, then Tell Me Again

Image result for repetitionKnow your audience or you risk making them feel stupid.  Or maybe that's just me.  I scroll through LinkedIn or Twitter, sometimes Facebook and come across articles and taglines that just don't make any sense to me.   Either re-reading it a couple of times or skipping it altogether, I scroll on by because I just didn't get it.  I used to think that I was the problem, just not "getting it."  ... and well, that may still be the case sometimes, but more often it's because writers - or social media posters - throw something out there using all the collected and built-in shorthand they automatically translate in their brain.  Your audience may not know the acronyms or slang or shorthand, and when they don't - you lose them very quickly in a sea of information.  In some situations, that may be just fine - if they don't know the jargon then this article or informative tidbit just isn't for them.  Still, you lose a potential contact, audience member, opportunity, or whatnot because they strolled (scrolled) on by.

I'm guilty of this- I know I rush through my writing and thoughts, and especially storytelling.  Most of the time I worry about boring the person with too many details or fear they just aren't that interested.  But now, I think I've just been shortchanging my ideas.  Self-consciously speeding through a point I want to convey limits the potential that my audience will grasp it.
The most powerful pieces of communication state a fact or idea; back it up with a story, rephrase the same idea, toss in some humor; and likely rehash the main idea again.  This is how something sticks!   

Last Sunday my pastor's daughter gave the sermon.  Her topic was Love, simply biblical love is not a feeling but a choice of action.  There, I said it in a single sentence.  She spoke for almost an hour and showed a video clip, but she wasn't repetitive, but rather expansive.  Most importantly - I remember the lesson.  It stuck!

It takes patience to effectively expand on an idea; to extend the explanation of terms and ideas and creatively explain yourself without saying the same thing over and over again.

I read, er well listened to, an entire book on the "5 Second Rule."  This rule can be summed as a countdown trick to propel yourself into action as soon as a thought or cosmic 'nudge' enters your brain - remove overthinking and hesitation by counting down 5-4-3-2-1 and then act upon the thought.  It's rather simple - but application in daily life is varied and challenging.  In her book, Mel Robbins shared anecdotes from her life and others in how they used this rule in their lives.  Mel expanded on how tactically using this rule leads to major life changes and improvements.  She didn't call it the "butterfly effect" but described it as such.  Going into the book, I first thought "how many different ways can she say the same thing?"  But by the end of the book, I'm a believer in this tool to really help one (me!) improve in life and not waste it away with hesitation.   (Ha, hence this essay, actually!)

If either presenter succinctly stated their concept in a single sentence and expected the audience to hear it, understand it, and feel the life affecting impact - they would have been disappointed.  Something familiar to you is colored by experience, history, repetition and usually personal application.  The consumers of your idea, your audience, won't approach your content the same way and can then easily miss your point.  Missing the point could be interpreted by someone as
"I'm stupid for not getting this - speaker Joe said it so simply"
"they don't know what they're talking about, that's too cliche to hold water"
or even
"I don't get it and so I just don't really care."
Either way, you miss your mark and lose the opportunity to make an impact.

Giving too much detail and working in too much repetition could weed out those who aren't super interested in your topic, and that is OK.  Whatever it is, it's not for them.  Those who care to know, will wade through the detail or fall asleep trying.

Did I make my point... did you get it?  I hope so... but... ok, one more example!

This guy laments that music today isn't appreciated.  The crux of his argument is that it's so easily made and then consumed that people do not spend the time listening to a song over and over to appreciate the complexities and understand the lyrics.  We tend to listen to the first few beats of a song then skip to the next. The magic and meaning is lost.
Repetition and ample time for our brains to unpack ideas and lyrics are what give meaning to a concept.  

Tell me, then tell me about it one more time!

Friday, May 12, 2017

An Unexpected Intersection - or - Which Shoulder Should I Listen To?

 Image result for angel and devil shoulder

Two seemingly opposing voices have been dominating my thoughts lately, but this past Sunday they intersected in the most magical way.

I'm a "baby Christian" and by that I mean that I believe in Jesus, that he died for our sins, the Bible is truth, and church is a good thing (but often poorly executed).  I admit that's it, I can't quote verses, and sadly, seeking God isn't always my first reaction.

I'm also a "self-improvement junkie" and by that I mean that I consume content on bettering myself, my work habits and performance, my mind, my fitness, my parenting.  I'm always scrolling and reading and watching for advice to be and do better.  Lately, Gary Vaynerchuk has my attention - he is a positive force on the entrepreneurship stage right now.  He makes mistakes "out loud" meaning that he doesn't read books, or study plans, he takes action - and uses that to learn about what he is good at.

And then to collision came with this statement by Pastor Mike on Sunday:

Doing and serving is how you learn, and how you disciple.  It's not knowledge alone - it's doing.

I'm hearing the same thing - take action instead of studying and working to craft the perfect situation or opportunity - just leap!   Gary V. proclaims strengths over weaknesses and focusing on what you're good at and what you're passionate about - instead of focusing on improving your weakness and remaining stuck or mediocre.  Granted his "theater" is the business world.  Pastor Mike said God wants us to do what we're good at and not criticize ourselves for what we aren't good at - then let other people come along side of you and fill in those gaps.

 So here is where I am stuck... because perfectionism and doubt are my downfalls.   I want to step out and do what I'm being called to do -- yet I have no idea how to hear the Holy Spirit direct me.  Sure, I've got lots of ideas.  How can I know if those ideas come from the devil on my left shoulder or the angel on my right shoulder?

A couple weeks ago Pastor Mike said that God wants us to serve, and go ahead and try things even if we aren't sure.  Then this past Sunday, I heard that we need to be careful to listen to the correct influence (Holy Spirit vs. the world) to know what action to take.  How can I tell the difference between those two voices - Satan and God?  It seems like a ridiculous question, especially when I see it in black and white here.  If it all comes downs to mind games, and confusion... it's difficult to tell.

Monday, May 8, 2017

"Non-Geek Girl Wants to Learn MTG"

This title sounds a bit like a missed connection ad from Craigslist.  In all seriousness, it's about time that "Red" learns how to play the game.  It's going to be a hoot.  Web searching this topic is hilarious... 6 steps - oh that should be good fodder for my write up.  Ha!  Each of those steps is an essay at a minimum.

Through this endeavor of building up Sarge and Red's I've learned a lot about using multiple online platforms to cultivate an online business: eBay, Craigslist, TCGPlayer, and social media.  MTG cards can be watched like the stock market - various influences drive prices up or down and you've got to react and keep your prices in line.  And that buying collections of cards and sundries often means meeting with "characters" in parking lots... which is why Sarge handles that part!

Sarge thinks it's high time I get into the game... and I agree.  Time is going to be tough - I am a mommy and  I have another full-time job.  But, it should make for some entertainment, so I'll share my adventures as I go.

And if anyone knows of a beginner-friendly game in our area - hit us up!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Same dock - before and after a miracle.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.


Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles