“ I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant”
― Alan Greenspan
Every successful communication has four parts. With out all four communication breaks down.
1. I have to be able to clearly express my thought, idea or feeling.
2. I have to offer that expression to you either in word or deed.
3. You have to receive that expression.
4. You have to interpret that expression back into a thought, idea or feeling that matches what I started with in step one.
This process gets more complex and more critical depending on the situation and the potential impact of the original thought, idea or feeling. An emergency room doctor asking a car accident what they are feeling is a critical time for clear communication.
But a simple question like “how was your day?” can open the door to life saving communication, too.
At any step communication can be shut down easier than progressed. If I am not able or willing to express myself, you have no opportunity to interpret anything. If I don’t offer my expression it doesn’t do any good to be able to express it. If you aren’t in a place to receive it or don’t recognize the offer when I make it, it falls flat and can decrease the possibility of my offering again. If you do receive it there is the possibility that you may not know what to make of it. Depending on where you are in your own life, my expression may be beneficial or it may be unwelcome or it may just be something passing through without much impact at all.
The rarest of all moments is when the four step are successfully taken because then the dance begins again as you are at step one and your thoughts, ideas and feelings are taking shape.
Somehow I doubt when this brand was established the image was the same as the one in the headline news today. I doubt the Mr Abercrombie and Mr Fitch would have ever considered using half-naked men to sell clothes. But they are gone and someone else is responsible for their brand. Unfortunately, many people do not like or agree with the new target market for A & F. Some have become so indignant that they have taken time to create posters and spend part of their day standing in front of A & F stores telling other people to be offended, indignant and not to buy the clothes A & F sells. These indignant people complain that by selling only expensive clothes in very small sizes that only a limited demographic want to buy is somehow hurting their feelings or just not fair to them. Oh, well.
A & F isn’t obligated to sell clothes that fit everyone. They aren’t obligated to sell clothes that everyone can afford. They aren’t obligated to sell clothes that everyone likes. That’s part of the beauty of free enterprise and free market. No one is forced to buy these size 00 clothes. No one is forced to wander through the crowded paths of jeans and shirts and assorted physically fit young sales assistants.
The protesters make the claim that A& F sends the wrong message to young people. Well, what message are the protesters sending? If you shout loud enough that you don’t like how someone runs their business you can bully them into changing their merchandise? Is that really how it works? I hope not.
I have never bought anything from A & F. Not my style, not my size. But I will support their right to run their business their way. If A & F can be bullied who’s next, Chick-Fil-A?
For breakfast this morning I made a fruit something. I wouldn’t actually call it a smoothie but it did involve my blender. An apple, a half cup of frozen blueberries, a half cup of fresh kale, 3 slices of pineapple I cut myself this morning and a half cup of coconut water turn into a tasty slug just a little more fluid than wet cement. As I am typing this I am trying to finish it off before it sets. It is all natural. All fruit and very filling.
What it is not is satisfying. I am a eggs and potatoes kind of breakfast person. One sautéed onion, one shredded potato added and two eggs scrambled into the mix when the potato is browned topped with a nice dollop of Greek non-fat plain yogurt is just about as good as it gets. Only problem is it’s not good for me. Not a fruit or veggie in sight.
How much of life is very filling and how much is truly satisfying?
It’s Wednesday. I know, not breaking news.
But somewhere along the timeline of history Wednesday became the summit of the week. Striving to get through the uphill climb of Monday and Tuesday only to stand for a moment somewhere around noon on Wednesday before starting the momentum building rush back down to the weekend.
What a waste of precious time. Monday and Tuesday are not days to dread or “get through”. If you have a job they are days to use your skills, talents, body and mind to earn a living. Those searching for a job would love to have someplace to be next Monday morning. Mondays for me are my day to make rounds and get the known things done leaving room later in the week for the unexpected joy and challenges. Monday is a short day at school for my favorite teen. Personally, I think starting the high school week with a short day is a wise and kind thing to do.
Tuesday morning is the best time for grocery shopping. Most people are at work or school, the shelves have been re-stocked Monday night and the Senior Citizens buses don’t come until Thursday. Since the garbage is picked up on Tuesday morning, cleaning out on Monday makes putting things away on Tuesday easier.
Wednesday is a day to savor. A full day of school means six and a half hours to devote to whatever needs a good block of attention. Writing gets done on Wednesdays. Time in the craft cottage, planning, evaluating, meditation, and gratitude all have room to breathe.
And did I mention the view from the top of Wednesday? Looking at what I’ve already done and seeing the possibilities of adventure in the journey ahead gives me courage to head back to the valley of Thursday and Friday. In the valley family and friends are waiting to share a campfire and a good bottle of wine. Life takes place in the valley.
So, instead of looking at Wednesday as a hill or mountain to just get over I plan to stand on top, breathe deeply and soak up the amazing view.
For the LORD is the great God,the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth,and the mountain peaks belong to him.The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.
I have to confess I have the best job. I get to be a stay at home mom to my favorite teenager in the whole wide world. I get to spend time making our house a home for her and for my very favorite person in the whole wide world, my husband.
There are days that are filled with routine chores and errands. Those are the days I make my rounds. You know, rotate the laundry, groceries in, garbage out, pick up stuff from one place and deliver it to another.
Then there are days like yesterday. Favorite teen and Ms. Chucklehead, our 3-year-old Borador, were both feeling sick. Being able to tuck teen back into bed to sleep and checking on a lethargic puppygirl became my highest priority. Today both are back on their feet and running circles around everyone.
I am blessed to have all of my needs and an abundance of my wants met. My hard-working husband is able to provide for our family at a job he loves and is very good at.
My tomatoes and strawberries and corn and beans and lettuces and carrots and onions are all growing and promising good things to come. The new fruit trees in front of my craft cottage had little blossoms on them already.
My roses are blooming. Two need to be replaced but the other 22 are healthy.
I have some really good friends who know me well and love me just as I am.
I share this life with the best man I have ever known.
Yep. I’m keeping my day job.
I have an arm full of cloths on hangers that I keep moving around.
They were hanging in a storage unit in the garage for several years. But earlier this year we moved that cabinet and added a shelving unit. I took the clothes out while the re-org was going on and the space they had occupied for a long time was back filled with a popup tent and stadium chairs. The pile was left on the chair in the living room for a couple of weeks.
Then we were having company over and the pile got scooped up and put on our bed. After the company was gone, it was re-scooped and moved to the couch in the living room. (As you might guess, we don’t use our living room much these days.)
Over the weekend, my favorite teen had a crafting party for her English class Ren Faire group. The pile made the brief journey back to our bed only to return to the living room at the end of the day resting in the rocking chair.
Walking past it this morning , I was keenly aware of how that pile was getting a lot of movement but no resting place. None of the items has been worn in a long time. A few are sentimental pieces. I’m not sure why the rest are still here. As I stood looking at sweaters that I will never wear again it occurred to me that they really weren’t mine at all. They aren’t my style any more. They aren’t my size. They aren’t reflective of who I am at this stage of my life. They aren’t mine. It’s time they move along and find their true owner.
At one time each of these things were something I choose to bring into my life and my home. Each day they have remained has been by my choice. It will take my decision and my action to send them on their way. Once I set them free I will no longer be moving them back and forth from one inconvenient temporary place to another. They will have no more of my time or attention. Considering the small sense of freedom that offers I wonder what else it’s time to send out into the world. I wonder what else I’ve been moving from one place to another without truly dealing with it once and for all.
I don’t want things that don’t belong to me. I don’t want clothes in my closet or books on my shelf or anything else that just isn’t me anymore. As I pull things out and stuff them into bags to take to Goodwill I find my heart and beliefs need a good spring cleaning as well. Just as seasons and styles change, I’ve changed on the inside. Things I held tightly to in years gone by no longer serve my heart. Not that my values have changed much but my understanding has. Not that my faith has changed but my spirit has. Not that I desire less but that I desire better.
There is so much in the world. So much good. But I don’t want it all. I just want what I need for this chapter of my story.
(Anybody need some sweaters?)
The task list is long and never-ending.
The daily maintenance alone can fill my waking hours.
Dreams, projects, desires and goals are pushed down or postponed until the real work is faced.
But what if the dreams, projects, desires and goals are the real work?
What if the maintenance is secondary instead of primary?
What if I have it all upside down?
What if the things I start my day with become the ones I end it with and the ones I put off until the end of the day become the first things I do in the morning?
What if at the end of the day I look forward to the morning because it holds treasure instead of chores?
Today is another example of someone doing the work, chasing the dream and putting it out there.
Amy Dale has written a book. So many aspire to write. Many actually start but Amy has finished. She has had it edited and done the polish work. But instead of adding it to the piles of hopeful unpublished manuscripts submitted for the approval of a publisher, Amy took her art directly to the people. She put it on Kickstarter.
With just hours left today, Amy has already passed her goal by 5! Now 162 sales may not put her on the New York Times best sellers list but she has sold more books today than most aspiring authors ever will.
I am one of her backers. I’ve already read the digital version and as an avid reader I enjoyed it very much. I hope you read this in time to join the celebration and back Amy today.
Amy’s dream is coming true today. What’s your dream? What are you doing today to make it reality? What can I do to help?
Congratulations, Amy! Can’t wait to see where you next dream takes you.
To Whom It May Concern,
I know it’s long past due but you and I need to talk. Before we talk, however, I would like to let you know how I feel and why I want to talk. I don’t feel the need to explain again why I did what I did. We’ve been over it too many times without making anything different except digging the ditch between us deeper. I don’t feel like I need to apologize for my position and I don’t expect you to apologize either. What’s been said has been said. What’s been done has been done. It has changed us both. I wish I could say all of the changes have been for the best and that we have learned from our mistakes. I can’t and won’t presume to speak for you. Many of my changes have been to retreat and withdraw if I feel a situation heading down a familiar road.
So, why would I want us to talk? Because there are so many things about you I still admire and so much I can learn from you. Because I don’t know the roads you have been traveling or the changes you’ve made and I’d like to. There have been hundreds of people who have come and gone through my life but the thought of you has not faded and even though time has not healed all wounds I think you are worth the risk. The richness of you is worth the risk of you. Simply put, I think my life is better with you than without you. I can only hope you think I am worth the risk, too.
There’s a wonderful organization that helps connect more than a million children in need with sponsors.
This morning as I was driving my favorite teenager to school she was sharing with me some of the struggles her friends face on a daily basis. Without breaking confidences she was telling me how concerned she was and asking what I thought she could do to really help them. I was so encouraged to hear her heart for them and that she wanted to do something to make their lives better and to let them know there are people who really care about them.
In the craziness of December, sometimes we get so busy trying to meet obligations, both self and externally imposed, that we miss looking into the eyes and hearts of those around us with intention and compassion.
Today may you see and be seen with compassion and may your heart be open to love and be loved.