Wednesday, January 25, 2017

There is a name for that!

The one in the middle is fake!
What is the word for a person who always takes pictures with statues or other inanimate objects? And I mean a word like...hypochondriac (someone who always thinks they are ill) or claustrophobic (doesn't like enclosed places).  I am sure one exists.

However, when you find this word and look it up in the dictionary, I think you fill find a picture of me...with some type of object.  I can't recall when it started, but I know it goes back many years.  Obviously it still continues.  I was scrolling through pictures on my phone the other day and was amazed at how many photos I had just going back six months.  I stopped after that because I just didn't have that kind of time.

A picture is worth a thousand words (or so I have been told).  I remember when I was employed at a utility in Kansas (to remain unnamed), there was a time when Catharine (my trusted assistant) and I took advantage of several photo opportunities to create a story to cheer Marissa up. Do either of you remember?

Business function-boss took pic
Notice the picture I recently came across of my brother dating back to his early twenties.  He obviously had the same "condition".  And now I find myself shamelessly encouraging other family members to join (and enable) me in my affliction.  Where will it all end?

Brother and his pals
While attending business functions (where you would think I could quell the urge) I have asked my co-workers, table mates....heck, even my boss one time, to quickly snap my photo with the object of my desire.

This entire page could be dedicated to various photos of me with (fill in the blank) and that is not a life time achievement....that might cover the past year.  When it comes to still life objects, I know no strangers.

People who know me will tell you that I rely heavily on humor - and I can think of very few exceptions where I would not (or could not) be counted on to behave irreverently.  I like to think in the big picture - it's just part of who I am.

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

One is silver and the other gold

Has become family- friend (going on 45 yrs)
When I was in girl scouts, there was a little song we always sang (join in if you know it); "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold."  I only remember the first verse but that's all I need.

Growing up, it was all black and white - either it was "She's my friend....or she's not my friend."   Friendships come so easy when you are surrounded by peers all the time.  School is a natural habitat to facilitate that growth and exposure.

As adults,  we have commitments to family, our job, etc. that push friends to the back burner.  We also have different categories of friends - work friends, childhood friends, church friends, couples friends..whatever interest and category we socialize in - there is another bucket of friends.

I listened to a podcast the other day and the topic was friendship and best friends.   It caused me to reflect on my many friends and best friends growing up.   I can think back to my first best friend (3rd grade).  Her name was Vivian and until I moved to another school district, we were inseparable.  I rebounded quickly in 5th grade when I met Marsha.  We were total opposites physically.  She was tall, blond and leggy while I was brunette, short and had to walk faster to keep up.  When she moved to Texas, my new best friend was Debbie.  For all of them to this day, I can still remember where they lived, and who was in their family.  Once junior high came along, I became best friends with Arlene.  This lasted until we went to different high schools.   Enter Cindy!

While I have had a best friend, I have also had a circle of friends.  Many of my initial best friends became a part of a larger circle.  Different friends serve different purposes.

It wasn't until I was an adult that I began differentiating acquaintances versus friends.  I also recognized the opportunity of having a more diverse set of friends as an adult.

New Texas fun friends!!
Since we have moved to Texas, we have made some new friends.  They have helped us become a part of a bigger family and provided a real sense of community.  We recognize this as particularly important - as most family members are a considerable distance away.  And since the advent of Facebook, I have "reconnected" with many of my friends from high school.

In reviewing and enjoying some of my high school memories, I was saddened to realize how many of those in my memory have died.  Milly, Gena, Belinda, Vivian, Mark, Tim, Rick..the list goes on.  And will continue to grow.  And then there are those friends who I have lost touch with.  In another sense, they are gone also.

Today I am going to reach out to a couple of friends - just to touch base and say hi. Or maybe share a memory that I thought of while thinking of them.

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Like sands through the hourglass...

How will spend it?
Happy New Year!  We are at that magical "blank slate" time of year - all things are new and the year holds much promise.  It appears as if we have all the time in the world to make good on our resolutions, cross items off the bucket list and make a big dent in our "things to do".

But even as the year begins, minutes are already gone forever.  Each moment in time is worth exactly that - a moment in time.  The value can only increase if we are happy with our choices in how we spend our time.  Because whether we stare out the window or invent a new medicine, that moment will be gone.

I was visiting with some folks I work with the other day about this very topic.  If we look back at 2016, are we where we thought we would be?  Want to be?  Did we accomplish what we set out to at the beginning of the year?  Or did we just let the year unravel, reacting rather than planning?

Lately, I have been focused on choices, followed by accountability.  If you haven't read it yet, please read "The Rhythm of Life" by Matthew Kelly.  I originally ordered this book on my Kindle, after reading a recommendation from someone on LinkedIn.  I enjoyed the book so much, I had to order a paper copy, not only so I could re-read it, but I wanted to highlight key parts and have it for a quick reference.

So after reading (and pondering) what was shared, one of my goals in 2017 is to make accountable choices for how I spend my time.  In the past, I have succumbed to the argument that there is no sense in making plans since we are not in control here.  If we don't die before our plans come to fruition (worst case scenario), there are still multitudes of "life" issues that could have impact.

I am not subscribing to that theory any more.  Now I look at the empty calendar and cross reference it with my list of "things I want to do".  Now, that list isn't full of travel plans and family visits (although both are represented) but other things that one might consider accomplishments.

Even as I plan on spending money, I want to have a plan to earn and save money.  Twice monthly piano lessons, Rosetta Stone Spanish, knitting for charity....all these things have a place on my list. So does sorting through a lifetime of pictures and creating some semblance of order, creating a spreadsheet of all the books I own (and what I want to do with them), the list goes on.

I will not do ANY of the above without a plan.  I need to look at the calendar and allocate time for all of these things.  If I wait for it to happen, or for me to "feel" like it, I will be having this same conversation with you next year around this time.

A couple of years ago, my sister Katy and I planned a "dream" vacation.  We spent an entire year determining what we would want to see and do, how much money should be allotted, etc.  We had the BEST TIME EVER and got to meet several family members for the first time.  It was a little sad when it was over, because we had enjoyed the time planning AND going.

2017 is going to be the year for me to make things happen and get things done.  How about you?  Do you have a plan?

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Do you hear what I hear?

Do you ever find yourself getting so caught up in how something is presented - you fail to hear the presentation?

I know I have talked before about how three different witnesses at any given accident, will see three different things.  They may or may not complement the other's version and that is because we all bring our own personal bias, life lessons and viewpoint to whatever we are looking at.  The same can also be said about how we listen.

No matter what our intent when it comes to listening, if we can't hear, or have difficulty hearing, this will also change the message.  We have a choice to listen but may have physical limitations when it comes to actually hearing.

At my house, I generally repeat things at least twice, sometimes three times, depending on my audience.  When Madison was little, she was having a hearing test - both ears independent of the other and then together.  Madison has no hearing in her right ear.  It was a real learning experience for me to learn how some words could sound so different when you are only hearing with one ear.  I will never forget the time when I was talking with someone (about Madison) and all of a sudden she piped up "I can hear you, mom, I have ear".

This past weekend, as we were leaving church on New Year's Eve (the best way to close out one year and begin anew for the next), we stood in line greet Pastor.  I couldn't help but overhear an older gentleman make a comment to Pastor something like this..."You only used the word Jesus three times in your sermon tonight".  The man looked a bit unhappy and Pastor quickly asked him "an observation or complaint?"  And the man gruffly said "complaint".  It was duly noted.

I chose not to say anything to Pastor after we wished him a Happy New Year but I have thought about the conversation often since.  I wish I would have said "sometimes we get so caught up in listening for a key word or phrase, that we end up missing the whole message".  And I did hear a message that night.  I cannot tell you how many times Pastor said ANY word in his sermon.  I try to attentively listen to the words as a whole and the intent in which it is presented.  But everyone is different.

So, are we really listening or just hearing?  Because if we are just hearing, we are not listening.  And if we can't hear (physically), what do we need to do to effectively listen?  There are so many components of a message; voice tone, speed of delivery, eye contact, body gestures...and oh yeah, the words that make up the message. Then we need to take into account our mood, our receptiveness, etc. etc.  Finally, do all things relate, or in this instance, should they stand alone?

In an intense discussion, do you hear a verdict, or were you just offered a solution?  I guess it depends on what you were listening for.

Until next time,

your pal,

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