Thursday, June 30, 2011

Messy Hair: #Trust30, Day 30

Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The writing prompt today was not a writing prompt, really, but an action prompt. Problem is I don’t believe it captured the essence of this quote from Emerson at all.

The prompt was to mess up your hair, were funny mismatched clothes and think about who you are trying to impress when you dress and look normal.  My hair is normally messy.  That's just the way I roll.  

I go to the gym every day to do water exercises.  I usually take a shower and "fix" my hair. There was this beautiful gray-haired lady who had her hair looking like it just came out of the beauty parlor.  I asked her what she used on it and it was normal hair spray, which I can't stand.  Hence my "look".  I'm guessing for me, the prompt would be to put every hair in place and spray it down.  Not happening.

From what I can tell, though, not one of the men mentioned by Emerson were into looking weird or different. But all of them were different by the standards of their own society. However, it was what was within them rather than how they looked that set them apart. Actually, it was what made them great.

All of them are credited with discoveries or theories or belief systems, such as heliocentric theory, Pythagorean Theorum, Socratic Method, Galilian telescope, the laws of motion, modern physical science, Protestantism and Christianity.

Every man mentioned did not set out to discover, invent, create or become founder of anything.  All were being who they were in the course of their normal life doing what they knew to do and being curious about something, investigating it and sharing it with others.

All of them received hostile criticism, most from the church that was in charge of society at the time.  They were laughed at, made fun of, doubted, totally misunderstood.  Some were put to death. Only One rose from the dead. It was not until after these men died that they were credited with being great. Jesus, of course, was finally seen as Savior of the World and God Incarnate.

I am not a god nor do I want to be.  My postulation, though, is that in order for me to be great, I must in the ordinary course of my day be interested enough to think differently from the established authority. I must be willing to challenge those in power with what I know to be true.

What I know to be true may go against the grain of my church or government, but I must do it if I am to be achieve what God has called me to be in my time here on his earth.

Herein lies the rub.  Do I really desire to be great?  To do so means I must fully be myself.  It is in being 100% who I am that any original thought, idea or plan is discovered and written. 

If nothing else, these 30 days have taught me that it is necessary for me to be myself.  I do not need to wear two different socks or mismatched clothes. That is not who I am.  But I do need to be my ordinary, extraordinary self. The best me I can be, messy hair and all.

This I will endeavor, with God's help, to do.

What about you?  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Life After Good News Journal: #Trust30, Day 29

Writing Prompt:
Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Imagine your future self, ie, you 10 years from now. If he/she were to send you a tweet or text message, 1) what would it say and 2) how would that transform your life or change something you’re doing, thinking, believing or saying today?  (Author: Tia Singh)
My Response:
I can’t help it.  In thinking of myself 10 years from now, my mind automatically goes to the literal, what I was like 10 years ago and what the now me would say to the past me.
Ten years ago, I was editing a Christian newspaper I helped begin.  I was also editing my own parenting magazine. I had two children and a foster son in school.  I was 200 lbs heavier than I am now. My life was extremely  hectic. 
It was this year that because of a major downturn in advertising revenue, we decided to cease publishing the Christian newspaper. To understand the impact this had on me you have to know that the one thing I believe God had shown me when I was in high school and getting ready to go to college was that one day I would write and edit a Christian newspaper totally funded by advertising revenue. 
This was a pretty original concept with me. Therefore, I know it was a God idea.  In the early 70s there were not Christian newspapers except for those funded by denominational support. I wanted the paper to be without denominational ties so that news could be printed that was relevant to all people.
Without going into the whole story, Good News Journal came together and was literally dropped in my lap and that of a new friend.  We had to decide to turn it around and keep it going or give it up.  We went for it.
Ten years ago, though, in 2001, it died.
I grieved. There is no other way to say it.  I also thought God was finished with me.  The one thing He showed me had been done.
Now, looking back at the last 10 years, I know I wasted time feeling sorry for myself and trying to figure out what next, instead of just jumping in head first and saying, “Ok, God, let’s do the work.”   
The adventures and turns my life has taken over the last 10 years have shown me it is best to go with the flow of the Spirit. Just because God shows you one thing, it does not mean you are done when that has been accomplished. I believe He showed that to me as a starting place and expected me to go great guns from there.
I now have a business that is sustaining our family in a way I had never imagined.  I have lost over 200 lbs.  I was able to publish a parenting magazine that had a Christian bend to it and was well received.
My regret is that I have not done the work that I should be doing. I have been wanting to write, wishing I could write something meaningful but not really writing because I felt it had to be perfect.  So, now I am doing the work. I am writing.  Ideas are flowing freely.
Long way around to my future self tweeting back to me now. It would be simple.  “ You are not done yet. Do the work.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Overcoming Uncertainty: #Trust30, Day 28

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Write down a major life goal you have yet to achieve or even begin to take action on. For each goal, write down three uncertainties (read: fears) you have relating to each goal. Break it down further, and write down three reasons for each uncertainty. When you have three reasons for your fear, you’ll be able to start processing the change because you know where the fear stems from. Now you’ll be able to make a smaller changes that push you towards your larger goal. So begins the process of “trusting yourself.”  (Author: Sean Ogle)
Writing devotionals.
I think I can do this and it flits through my mind often. Probably some of the things I have written are devotionals but I don’t really know the format, etc. 
1.    I can’t do it right, perfectly.  In the right format.
2.    No one will read them and they wont make a difference to anyone.
3.    I won’t have affected lives so once again, I am nothing. I am incomplete which is my major life fear.  Interesting how it all comes back to that.
Steps toward the goal
1.   Research format and markets.  Don’t worry if your devotional does not resemble every other devotional. It can be yours, unique, hard-hitting. This is what will make it worth reading.
2.   Write a devotional each day for 30 days after the writing prompt is over.
3.   Publish it on my blog and send it to other markets.
Now, Blog Readers, what is your goal that you haven't done much on, if anything?  What are the fears that are holding you back?

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Simple Clay Pot

The Denver Art Museum is a work of art in itself. It resembles a large inverted triangle. The beauty is amazing to say the least.  I love the creativity just in the building alone, not to mention inside.
Inside are a myriad of paintings and exhibits, seven floors in all.  We were deciding where to start when I noticed right a glassed-in area to the left of the front door. It was a pottery studio. Inside many different people, children and adults, were making coil pots. Several were throwing pots on the wheel. 
My first thought was this was a class of some sort but upon reading the sign on the door, I realized it was a hands-on experience open to anyone.  Opening the door and I was immediately hit with the smell of moist earth, almost like the smell of a garden after it has been watered.
The tender creation of a simple, clay pot.
Clay-covered aprons adorned those inside. We weren’t acknowledged as everyone was busy creating or helping others create.
It was quiet with the hum of activity, productivity, enjoyment.
At the wheel, we watched for awhile before finding someone who seemed to work there.
“What do we need to do to throw a pot?”
“Put on an apron,” a young man replied, “And let Carol know you want to take a turn. There’s probably a waiting list.”
My daughter and I did as he suggested. Carol said we’d be next.
There were about five places at the wheel and soon two spots came available. I sat down in anticipation.  In all my 57 years, I had never sat down at a potter’s wheel.  I can’t explain the desire to do this, but it’s always been there.
Carol got the wheel started at the right speed and put the lump of clay in the middle.  A formless lump.  She made a small indention in the top.  Then instructed me get my hands wet, press down in the middle until the indention was about two inches from the bottom and then pull back to begin making the wall of the pot.
The clay was wet and soft, as it slipped seamlessly through my hands. There is a calm feelings associated with working on the potter’s wheel.
Then Carol showed me how to set my hands just right to begin to build the walls of the bowl or cup that this particular piece would become. The pot seemed to take on a life of its own as if it always knew what it would become.
Sometimes my hands are not as steady as I’d like so I did not know if I could do this. But I did.  Others were finding it difficult to keep the pot from becoming lopsided.  It does take patience to the pot between your hands while applying pressure to the walls to keep them even.  My pot seemed to be crying out to become a vase. 
In that moment, I felt it. The pure satisfaction of working with the earth, dirt, water, with the fire of creativity burning in my gut.  I was hooked. All too soon we were done and it was time for the next person. 
As I washed my hands in the deep metal sink and felt the clay, basically just mud, slip away down the drain.  It was a moment of sadness actually. 
It was only a few moments out of our trip to Colorado where we went up the Cog Railway to the top of Pike’s Peak, went indoor skydiving, saw beautiful mountaintops and mountain creeks, experienced my nephew’s sunrise wedding service in an open-air chapel on the mountainside at the top of Estes Park.  But this was my moment. 
That moment I was creator.  I wonder, did God feel a little like this when he took a handful of dirt and formed mankind? Well, maybe I’m going a little too far.  Being alive for me, though, has something to do with creating whether it is a story, a publication, a brochure, a painting, an aha moment for another person. It can come in lots of forms.
I believe that spark of the Creator exists in all of us in one way or another.  I found it in a simple, clay pot.

The Prompt:  Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. If we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

When did you feel most alive recently? Where were you? What did you smell? What sights and sounds did you experience? Capture that moment on paper and recall that feeling. Then, when it’s time to create something, read your own words to reclaim a sense of being to motivate you to complete a task at hand.  (Author: Sam Davidson)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nightmare: #Trust30, Day 27


Her breath was coming in short puffs as she lumbered from her Mercedes up the few steps to her massive mahogany front door.  The back of her cream silk blouse was wet and sweat poured from her forehead.  She barely made it into the front door before collapsing in the softness of her favorite chair. 
The Macy’s bags thudded to the floor along with her Coach bag. Elizabeth Arden anti-aging serum, night cream, day moisurizer, face serum and Cartier Parfum rolled under the coffee table on the wood floor.  She sat with her eyes closed sucking in air as if it were German chocolate cake.  But the air her lungs so desperately needed cut like a knife.  Pain shot up her arm and into her chest.  She was dying. She knew it.

Her life flashed before her eyes.  Would there be even one person who would care if she died.  Her obituary would appear in the paper and talk about how she made millions from her advertising and marketing firm, the one that promoted well-known fast food chains that contributed to obesity and heart attacks.  Funny?  Not from where she was sitting in her specially-made, reinforced, extra-wide recliner.  Not really.  Not now.
She was worth millions.  Her business was honed so fine that she didn’t even have to go into the office if she wanted. Each second she made more money that she could ever hope to spend. She could have and purchase anything she wanted.  It was what she had lived her life to accomplish. Always more.  More houses. More cars. More furniture. More diamonds. More time? Not even her money could buy her that. 
In the last 10 years, since her business had landed some of the top fast food chains, she had let herself go. Her weight had spiraled out of control.  She had eaten whatever she wanted that was decadent and sweet and fattening.  It had kept her from making any real friends.  Food and money were her best friends.  Always available.  Not expecting anything. Always making sure she never had to feel…anything.
She wasn’t sure she even had feelings any more. There was always more food to mask any emotion. More money to purchase the next new thing.  No, feelings weren’t in the mix any more.  She was numb.   
Now in the end, she wondered, "If I had it to do over again, what would I do differently?"

Personal Recipe Against Nightmare
1.    Realize I am worth spending time and effort on.
2.    Make being healthy one of my foremost concerns.  Eat right. Exercise.  I cannot help others unless I am healthy myself.
3.    Be concerned about others.  Really listen to others. Hear their hearts.  Share my heart.
4.    Love deeply, no matter what another does or does not do.
5.    Value my family and friends.  Connect with their hearts.
6.    Follow the dream that God has placed in my heart whether money is there or not.  Money is not my god.
7.    Above all, love and value my relationship with God. Spend time basking in His presence, in stillness, in light, in nature, with music.
Writing Prompt:
I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady. I wish it to be sound and sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Think about the type of person you’d NEVER want to be 5 years from now. Write out your own personal recipe to prevent this from happening and commit to following it. “Thought is the seed of action. (Author: Harley Schreiber)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Live, Love, Laugh: #Trust30, Day 26

The secret of fortune is joy in our hands. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
What if today, right now, no jokes at all, you were actually in charge, the boss, the Head Honcho. Write the “call to arms” note you’re sending to everyone (staff, customers, suppliers, Board) charting the path ahead for the next 12 months and the next 5 years. Now take this manifesto, print it out somewhere you can see, preferably in big letters you can read from your chair.
You’re just written your own job description. You know what you have to do. Go!
(bonus: send it to the CEO with the title “The things we absolutely have to get right – nothing else matters.”)
(Author: Sasha Dichter)


June 25, 2011

Clients, staff and family enjoy a day at HaHaTonka Park.

It has come to my attention that we should have a plan to take us through the next 12 months and the years ahead.


The goal of this business and related services shall be to encourage all employees, clients and interested parties to enjoy a full and meaningful life, abundant life. 

In light of this, our mission will be three-fold: Live, Love and Laugh. 

This will be accomplished by implementing the following:
(Henceforth the word person(s) shall mean clients, employees and all interested individuals.


•  Provide for basic needs including everything necessary to be healthy in body, mind and spirit.  Survival is a given. Thriving and Living is the goal.

•  Encourage each person to be their best self.

•  Promote an always better quality of life for all concerned. This will be accomplished by truly caring for each and seeing each person as a uniquely wonderful and equal being created by God.


•  Treat each person the way you would want to be treated.

•  Find reasons to praise, compliment, encourage and provide positive support for each person.

•  Value relationships those of others as well as your own.

•  Encourage each person to find hobbies and activities that bring him/her joy.

•  Find reasons to have joy in the midst of the day.

•  Be positive. Even when difficult times come; see the silver lining in the clouds.

Five Year Plan

To be cognizant of changes in persons, their needs and their development.

To be open to the potential for assisting and helping others find the same quality of life presented here.

To take advantage of opportunities to expand as they are presented and God gives opportunity.  Do not automatically write them off as undoable.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Noises. They are everywhere.  They come from inside and outside.  One thing I need a dislike button for is noise when I want to be quiet and hear that inner voice.   Some people can’t work unless there is music playing.  I was always amazed that my children needed music or sound of some sort when doing homework. 

For me there are four main “voices” and, no, I do not have multiple personality disorder.  Let me explain each: self, others, accuser, God.

Self  is always talking to me. It is always going, evaluating everything, what I do, how I think, what I think about, what I should do next.  I can rationalize myself out of or into most anything.  For some reason, I woke up at about 3:30 am yesterday.  On my mind was a project I had promised to do.  It took me about three hours of blissful quiet morning time to get it done.  This was work I needed to do, wanted to do, enjoyed doing but hadn’t had time to do. 

Once done, my rational voice said, “OK, you can go back to bed now.  You need your sleep.”  But I knew the agreement I had made with myself was to exercise every day possible. That meant getting dressed and going to the ARC for water exercises. So,  I did what was against the rational mind chattering away in my head and went to exercise.  It takes effort to outsmart yourself, override that voice that for some reason does not want me to want what is best.

Others scream at me when self can’t get through to deter me from what I need to do.  Others usually takes on a negative voice. Many times it is a snippet I remember that someone has said in a teasing way, however it is an old tape that constantly replays.  It says, you are not pretty. You are not talented. You are not smart. You have been dumped on all your life. You are worthless. And the core voice says, you are incomplete. Period.  It doesn’t take much for Others to start talking, only a tendency toward that way of thinking and they start.

Accuser doesn’t really have to speak that often.  He uses self and others most of the time.  I remember hearing that old saying: The devil made me do it.  As I’ve grown older, I’m realizing the devil is like a master manipulator and administrator. He works on the hearts and minds of people who do his bidding and uses suggestions and nudgings that I take as all of the above voices. He even works on my mind to encourage me to side against myself.  He is subtle.  He cloaks himself as an angel of light. He doesn’t show his true colors very often.

I do want to tell you about one time when I feel the accuser spoke directly to me.  I was in a very depressed state of mind because of some events that had happened to me at a church where we had been an active.  I knew I was spiraling down fast.  I was not working. Both kids were in school.  I would sit and rehearse the wrongs done to me and write about them.  I had been advised to write about how I felt but not to send it to anyone. So it was an endless loop that continued for months. 

At the bottom of this hole of despair, I not only heard but felt the presence of the accuser.  It was as if there was a physical presence in the room whom I did not see but I felt. I knew which door he walked in and where he sat.  Before he said a word, I said, “Leave in the name of Jesus.”  I felt the presence get up and walk towards the door.  I knew when he turned, laughed and said in a voice I can only describe as taunting, “You’ll want me back.”  And then he left.  I pray he stays gone.

God speaks to me all the time. The problem is I don’t listen all the time.  I know His voice. It is very quiet, calming, assuring, even when He is directing me or redirecting me. God’s voice has always been with me.  This is most likely due to the prayers of my Godly father.  It is due to his prayers and his influence that I began to listen to the direction of God’s voice. 

As a child, I acted immediately intensely to God’s voice. When I was 7, that voice told me to accept Jesus as savior. I asked my Dad about the whole thing and he told me if God was speaking, I should listen. He led me in the sinner’s prayer on the way home from a revival meeting. The next night, I went forward and made my profession of faith.  I wanted to be baptized, but the church we attended would not do that until I was 12.  Later, I went to a friend’s church and was able to be baptized there when I was 9.  I did because I was determined to follow the voice.

Then the accuser stepped forward and brought Others into my life which for a time stopped all forward motion mostly through my teen years.  In my Christian college, I started learning more about the voice I had heard and followed exuberantly as a child.  I started following again.  God never yells at me. He is always a patient, kind father even in telling me for the 100th time what He wants me to do. 

Out of college, I was single and living in Richmond, VA with two roommates. Our house was grand central station. But this one weekend, everyone was gone and the house was quiet.  I was toward the end of my first three-day fast.  God spoke tquietly in my soul.  He said, “Will you go to the mission field single?” 

I was working for the Foreign Mission Board as a press writer and praying specifically about this very thing.  The thought of going thousands of miles away as a single missionary scared me to death and I answered Him quietly, “No, not single.”  I thought that was the end of it.  But again He asked the question. 

A little exasperated that the second question had come so fast on the heels of the first, I began to explain my rationalizations and again said, “I just can’t do it single. I would do it married but not by myself.”  After a few minutes, He asked again. This time much quieter and calmer than even the first, but the question changed slightly, “Will you go wherever I ask you to go and be content if you are single?”

I was president of the Young Adult group at my church and really everyone, including my two roommates, were engaged. So it was a little hard to take that I thought God was asking me to voluntarily be single.  There was no doubt in mind that God was speaking to me and that was the final reason I said a quiet but determined, “Yes”.  I couldn’t imagine my life without Him.

I was committed to staying single. I believe that was what God wanted. He wanted to see my commitment and be convinced I meant it.  It was about six months later when Roy came back into my life.  I listened for the voice whom I knew by this time to be God.  I heard the quiet assurance that said, “Yes, this was my will all along. I just wanted you to be willing to do whatever I had for you.”

God’s voice is always speaking.  I just have to have my set turned on and tuned to His frequency.  When I do, He will drown out all the other voices and noises in my head. Following His voice doesn’t always prove to be easy, but it is deeply meaningful and satisfying.  Living for Him is living a life of purpose. I will have it no other way.

*Thanks Russ Hardesty for the questions that prompted this blog.

Most Ordinary: #Trust30, Day 25

Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
We are our most potent at our most ordinary. And yet most of us discount our “ordinary” because it is, well, ordinary. Or so we believe. But my ordinary is not yours. Three things block us from putting down our clever and picking up our ordinary: false comparisons with others (I’m not as good a writer as _____), false expectations of ourselves (I should be on the NYTimes best seller list or not write at all), and false investments in a story (it’s all been written before, I shouldn’t bother). What are your false comparisons? What are your false expectations? What are your false investments in a story? List them. Each keep you from that internal knowing about which Emerson writes. Each keeps you from making your strong offer to the world. Put down your clever, and pick up your ordinary.  (Author:  Patti Digh)
Ordinary. I can relate to that.  To be honest I have never ever seen ordinary as something I aspired to be.  But it is true, my ordinary, is not yours.  It is mine and mine alone.  You cannot and never well have it even if you tried.  You can only be you. I can be me.
When I worked full-time as a journalist for various organizations and newspapers, I won several awards.  One award was for first place in the magazine feature category from American Hospital Association.   I wish I could say that awards don’t matter to me.  That was not the case then and may still not be entirely true. However, I recognize it is a type of comparison in which you falsely think because you received the award then you are a really good writer. 
In actuality, that award only won me the angst of my boss who also entered the same category.  She did not speak to me for days and told me I would not be entering the category the next year.  What she said was prophetic. I quit the job shortly thereafter, but the main reason was a very precious newborn daughter.  I also was editing a Christian newspaper.  It wasn’t paying me a salary but it was my passion.   The point is, my boss’ attitude made quitting and doing what I felt the voice I know to be God was quietly telling me to do all along. 
The height of winning an award did not match the satisfaction I got at being able to stay home, raise my son and daughter and do meaningful and satisfying work.  

The only person I need to compare myself with is myself.  Whatever is my best today can only be topped by my best tomorrow.  That is not to say that I have to be the best in the world but I do need to continue to improve my craft. The only way to do anything well is to practice.  Some things I write will just be practice.  But it is in the practicing that improvement will come.  The only way to not improve is to stop.  

A writer writes. If I am not writing, I am not a writer.
Perfection is the great enemy of writers.  For many years I worked as a newspaper writer and editor.  When you are on deadline, it is a guarantee when the publication comes out, there will be something that will kick your butt.  Most definitely that kick will come from your own foot.  Even when I post this, I will probably find something to change.  After I change it, if I read it again, I’ll find something else. I try to avoid re-reading too many times. It spirals to an endless of loop of perfecting and re-perfecting.  Instead I have made an agreement with myself to move on.
Bob, an author I heard at a workshop, said that when he writes under contract he tells the publisher he will write the book, send it to them and then they have free reign with editing. He doesn’t want to be involved in the editing process and doesn’t want to see it again until it comes out in print.  He wants to spend his time on the next project.  This works for him. Since I have only self-published I don’t know if it will work for all publishers. But I do like the concept. 
Giving up control, though, that would be rather difficult for me.  And I do recognize that cycles back to the perfectionistic streak.  There is a voice inside of me that screams, “That’s not perfect.” I'm sure there is not one best-selling author that feels their work is perfect even after they have been working through a myriad of rewrites.  I think Bob has the write idea (misspelling intended).

Perfect happens when we are presented perfect before the Father. That happens only because we have accepted Jesus as the sacrifice for everything we have done that is against God.  When we die, if we have accepted his sacrifice, we are then made perfect because He is the only One who ever lived on earth and was perfect.  
This I know and believe. So then why do I think I can ever be perfect?  As I said in another post during these some 25 days of prompts, I will be my messy, imperfect self. That will show through in my writing. 

I will celebrate being ordinary.  Because even though there are things I do that seem ordinary, run of the mill, anyone-can-do-it things, they are done with my unique, God-given, God-endowed, God-created touch.  

I am proud to be most ordinary.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Intuition: #Trust30, Day 24

The secret of fortune is joy in our hands. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you could picture your intuition as a person, what would he or she look like? If you sat down together for dinner, what is the first thing he or she would tell you?  (Author: Susan Piver)

Pink and black large check were printed on a white background.  They called it a feedsack; it was what feed would come in. Farmer's wives would wash the sacks and then use the material for a dress. Grandma liked different colors and patterns.  She was a large woman, soft and mushy in all the places a child could hug.  And, she loved hugs.  She also had a knack for knowing what was going on inside my head.  Maybe she did that for others, but it seemed she was good at doing that for me.
Jenny Parker, too smart for her 21 years.

Intuition would definitely look like my grandmother sitting down to a dinner she created that included her delicious cornbread called hoecake. She'd probably have breaded and fried round steak, mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans cooked all day with ham seasonings. And for dessert, her famous chocolate pie.

She would look me in the eye and tell me not to eat all this fattening stuff.  And I'd say, "Gee Whiz, Grandma, why do you cook it then?"  She would say, "To see if you can resist temptation." Then she'd say, "Just take a little of what you want to eat.  Nothing is off-limits.  And by the way, keep up the good work." Then she'd go on eating what she wanted but desiring better for me.

I loved my grandmother. She had great advice and genuinely cared for me. But in this one area, her desire for me did not match her actions.  For that reason, I realize I have to change my perception of intuition.

Perhaps it should look more like my 21-year-old daughter who is good at eating only what she knows is best for her being happy with a salad for lunch and saving her calorie count for some important event she knows is coming up where there will be a dessert she would like to have. She will limit herself all week to splurge that one time.

She would say to me: "Eat something now so you won't be starved later." She'd also say to stay away from red meat, eat more vegetables and fruit.  Yes, I definitely think I'll change my picture to that of my daughter.  She's way too smart and intuitive for her 21 years.  Already she can read my mind, a scary thing for a mom!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Who are you willing to connect with? #Trust30, Day 23

Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Who is one person that you’ve been dying to connect with, but just haven’t had the courage to reach out to? First, reflect on why you want to get in touch with them. Then, reach out and set up a meeting.(Author: David Spinks)
Connect.  Intreresting concept really.  For all the multiple ways we have of disseminating information today, we are still not very good at connecting with others. 

When a person has 337 friends on Facebook, it does not really mean they have 337 friends. It means they know 337 people.  I know this to be true because I have 337 friends…on Facebook.  I can with a few strokes send out a message to all 337 of those friends and tell them where I am, what I am doing and even what I am thinking.  All 337 of them could potentially “like” what I say.  But have I really joined with them? Am I united with them?  Have I connected with them as a human being to a human being?

I have a blog where I publish my thoughts and even share the blog posts on Facebook.  I was paging through the blogs that come after mine and was interested to see the myriad of blog types and subject matter from cute family kid photos to black magic.  According to Digital Inspiration as of 2008 there were 156 million websites, including blogspot, Twitter, Typepad, Windows Live and Wordpress.  This is a composite number for all the earth.

That’s a lot of people talking.  But really who is listening?   The old adage of if a tree falls in a forest does it make a sound if no one is there to hear it, comes to mind.  Because really in looking through the blogs on blogspot it seemed relatively few had any followers at all.

We may have friends on Facebook, blog every day, are LinkedIn and Twitter to our heart’s desire but that does not mean we are connected or that we have connected with anyone.  We can stay in our bedroom all day with blinds drawn and do all of these things while being a hermit. By the way the definition of a hermit is a person who has withdrawn from society and is a recluse.

Connection comes when we bare our souls to another.  If we never reach out to another, we will never connect.  To have real, lasting relationships we must be willing to share who we really are.  We must listen to another and accept who they are.

As a life coach, one of the most difficult hurdles for me to overcome was to practice the acronym of WAIT:  Why Am I Talking?  A life coach must listen and ask questions to help another discover what is inside of them, where they want to go in life and what the next step small step toward that would be.  I may think I know what another should do but telling them is not productive. They have to discover it.  Only by discovering it, do they own it. 

I’ve always been able to talk to anyone.  It does not intimidate me to ask another a question even if it is a total stranger.  But connecting with another person is a different skill set entirely.  It requires work, commitment, diligence, understanding, honesty, respect, love. Sitting in your house typing on the computer may require an electronic connection but it is not the heart-to-heart soul connection that human beings require.  Perhaps it is a first step, unless of course, we use it as a substitute for the real thing. 

The question was who are you dying to connect with?  My answer is anyone and everyone God puts in my path each and every day.  Even digital friends can become people we really connect with if we are willing.  My question to whomever happens to read this is who are you willing to connect with?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Enthusiasm: #Trust30, Day 22

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. – Ralph Waldo Emerson  “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm” is a great line from Emerson. If there’s no enthusiasm in what you do, it won’t be remarkable and certainly won’t connect with people on an emotional basis. But, if you put that magic energy into all of your work, you can create something that touches people on a deeper level. How can you bring MORE enthusiasm into your work? What do you have to think or believe about your work to be totally excited about it? Answer it now.  (Author: Mars Dorian)

This last week our family took a vacation to Colorado.  We actually didn’t choose Colorado.  My nephew did.  He and his now bride planned their sunrise wedding in beautiful Estes Park.  Hence, our vacation.

Tyler Shields comes down the aisle  to "This Is Why I'm Hot".
As enthusiasm goes, I wouldn’t say I was enthusiastic about going to Colorado. We’d spent time there on other vacations. Been there. Done that. Read the book.  Now on to some place I haven’t seen yet.

Prior to this vacation, I didn’t do my normal thing which is to go to AAA and get a triptik and information book, as well as peruse the Internet for information about the states we’re headed toward. I do all of this so we know something about where we are going and what the attractions are.  My husband likes to wing-it.  I like to know a little about where we’re going to wing-it. 

Although it wasn’t stated I think my spur-of-the-moment family thought I’d come through with an information glut for them to choose activities from.  I didn’t. They did have a few ideas about where they wanted to go. I knew only one thing; I wanted to be in Estes Park on Saturday by 5 pm. Other than that, I was along for the ride. 

I learned something about my family and myself on this vacation. First, my family who says they don’t want everything planned out really does expect me to do some planning. Second, I enjoy a vacation much better if I have done some research ahead of time and come armed with some of it.

For me, enthusiasm has some of its roots in a process rather than a spur of the moment overwhelming desire.  Merriam-Webster includes as one definition: strong excitement of feeling: ardor (she did her work with energy and enthusiasm).  See, the only way I can do that is if I’ve done my research.  It’s a lot easier for me to be enthusiastic about something that I have some idea about. This is true throughout my life, in my work and vacation. 

While we were at the Denver Museum of Art we saw a painting by Daniel Sprick called Release Your Plans.  The painting has as its main focus a table that was draped with a white sheet, but the sheet is all tied up with strings.  On the table is a predominant white skull. The rest of the painting, though presented in stark realism, has an odd assortment of objects.  I have no idea what the artist wanted to portray in this painting.  I know what it means to me.  My plans can tie me up and be the death of me and others around me.

Back to enthusiasm. If you’re still reading, sorry for going around the corner to get to this.  I can be very enthusiastic about plans. I work from home so I set my own schedule. I can make goals and schedule appointments. If it is on my calendar, I usually will not forget. If it is on my to-do list, it has a fighting chance of getting done.  If it doesn’t make it on the calendar or list, it will not get done.  It does keep me out of impulsive decisions, but it also keeps me from in-the-moment times of fun.

At the art museum, we happened upon all kinds of hands-on activities. On the first floor my daughter and I actually sat down at a potter’s wheel and for the first time ever both of us threw a pot.  We both loved it.  You could say I am even enthusiastic about adding a class to my calendar.

My nephew’s wedding was a myriad of planned enthusiastic moments.  The rehearsal dinner included a planned time for anyone who wanted to talk about the bride and groom. My nephew came dancing down the aisle in his white groom’s suit, sunglasses and a baseball cap turned backwards.  His groomsmen in their gray suits also had sunglasses, as did the ushers standing with their bouncer poses at the end of the aisles.  Spontaneous?  To a degree.  Planned? For sure.

I think you get my point. It’s good to release your plans and not be so glued to them that you bog down the process. It’s also great to have plans to begin with.  The spontaneous moments add excitement to life.  The planning is a backdrop to helping make sure those moments exist. And that’s something I am quite enthusiastic about.