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Windows

Looking out the window of my office, just above my computer screen, I can see five sets of windows. There are two on the house immediately next door and three on a house behind them and over one lot. With very little effort my window can be seen from all five sets of windows as well.

There are shear curtains on the windows next door. The screen on one window is bent at the top. The window is open and the curtain moves ever so slightly when the breeze pushes against it. Looking directly out that window I’m guessing they have a view of the common wooden fence that separates our properties and of our cherry tree stretching 20 feet into the sky. Not bad as suburban views go. The other window next door is on the second floor and other than a clear view of my roof I’m not sure what they can see. I’m guessing it’s the blank side of the house on the other side of us.

The TED talk I mentioned yesterday has really gotten me thinking about perspective and just how limiting it is. I think I know what the view is from my neighbor’s house because I know what my view is and I have a general understanding of the neighborhood. But it’s all speculation. Sure I have some facts. But do I see it the way my neighbor does? No. I cannot see through the eyes of the 80 year old Russian woman who has lived in that house for the past 30 years. She’s seen that cherry tree planted and grow. I am the fourth neighbor to live in this house, while she is the original owner of her home.

Our windows face each other. We have lived side by side for 10 years. I couldn’t tell you her last name. I don’t know her story. But it’s so easy to think I know what she sees. I think I need to wash my windows.

I was wrong

There I said it. It’s not as hard as you might think.

Yesterday via a rabbit trail on G+ I stumbled upon a TED talk that gave me a very interesting perspective and a new freedom. It was about being wrong. I have given this some thought over the past 24 or so hours and have come to these conclusions.

 

I thought an afro perm was a good idea….I was wrong.

I thought my acne would clear up before my hair turned grey…I was wrong.

I thought if I held on to fashions long enough they would come back in style and I would be current twice…I was wrong.

I thought if cars came with turn signals people would know what to do with them…I was wrong.

I thought every question would have an answer…I was wrong.

I thought I knew…oh, boy, was I wrong.

I had a pastor once who “reserved the right to be wrong”. I am considering putting a sign up in my office to that effect.

I think someone will read this and heave a sigh of relief. I may be wrong…

 

YES and NO

“But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of an evil.” Everyday we make hundreds if not thousands of decisions. Sometimes we choose “yes” and sometimes we choose “no”. Most decisions are small but they add up. 

Short example. If I say “yes” to buying a pallet of Godiva chocolate at Costco I will be faced with a couple of thousand opportunities to say either yes or no to a piece of smooth creamy delicious chocolate one at a time. But if I say one firm “no”.  I have just saved myself hundreds of thousands of calories and the decisions of if I’m going  to go to the gym to burn them off or not. 

Another example. I have a favorite person in the whole wide world. When he asked me to be his wife I said “YES!” In saying yes to him I have said no to every other man walking the face of this earth. Decision made. 

Make the big decisions firmly and the small ones fall in line. You may be tired of me telling you to make a life plan but if you have already done it you can attest to the freedom it gives you. 

Content vs. Creativity

David Risley wrote this on one of his blogs recently about starting a blog.

“At this point, your blog is set up and you’re ready to move on to the next stages. You’re probably going to want to spend some time working on your design and exploring all the plug-ins which you can attach to WordPress to expand the capability.

But, a word of advice…

You want to QUICKLY move right into creating content for your new site. I see a lot of “newbies” get so focused on perfecting the site itself that they spend no time on the content. And the content is a LOT more important than the design! It isn’t as if you’re going to all of a sudden cut a ribbon on your new blog and the world will flock to it! This is a process… and it begins with you creating quality content to help people. Help them learn to do something, help them learn more about your business, stay up-to-date… whatever it is.

Content is KING. So, now that you have your blog set up, it is a blank slate for what matters most – the CONTENT. Time to get busy. This is where the real work begins.”

 

I couldn’t agree more. I had a great friend set up my blog and do some of the technical stuff that I didn’t understand. Shortly after launching the new site I went silent. For weeks on end I would log on, sign into my admin page and sit here looking at the very nice little box waiting for my words. There were no words. I had nothing to say that I wanted to put out into the vastness of the internet. Tried and true cliches came to mind. “Write what you know”. I know nothing. “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all”. Ok. I guess I can do that.

But here I am writing and it because I have something to say but it’s not necessarily nice. I just asked for a refund from an online course. This is not the first time I have done this. I have signed up for online courses and correspondence courses before based on some really promising marketing or compelling initial contact only to find the content, once paid for, was hollow. There was no substance. Most of it came with nice pictures and very pretty graphic design but when you clear away the wrapping the box was empty. Maybe when I was younger I would have enjoyed the challenge of making something out of an empty box but not anymore. I can get free boxes delivered to my front door by the USPS via Ebay with just a few clicks. They have lost there appeal.

Fill up the box…

 

 

Difference

“Do you know the difference between ignorance and apathy?”

“Don’t know and don’t care”.

Personal

Joe Fox: It wasn’t… personal.

Kathleen Kelly: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s *personal* to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway?

Joe Fox: Uh, nothing.

Kathleen Kelly: Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.

These few lines from “You’ve Got Mail” have stuck with me, especially that last part. “Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.”  How often do you hear someone say “Don’t take it personally” or “That’s too personal” or “I don’t know them personally, but…”?

This year I turned 49 and maybe it’s just the season in my life but I don’t think so. I think I have always taken things personally. When I care I care. When I stop caring I’m gone. Be it relationship, church, movie, book, whatever. When it stops being personal, when I stop caring about being connected I stop putting effort into maintaining the connection.

This weekend I made some choices to let things go. Some of those things were relationships that weren’t healthy. The people are not bad people. Don’t get me wrong. But the relationship wasn’t good. Yesterday I wrote about the almost 7 billion people in the world and how rare you are, dear reader. As I move into the realm of Google+ I am looking at my circles and the ones with the fewest people are the ones that I consider the most personal. My Inner Circle, if you will. Those who’s lives I am invested in and who are invested in me. They are personal.

I make no apologies. I like personal. I need personal. I am personal. I will continue to be personal.  And that is my personal opinion. What you do with it is up to you. But whatever it is, it will be a your personal decision and I can live with that.

 

Rarity

As I begin writing this the World Population clock says there are 6,951,239,264* people in the world.  Out of those almost 7 billion people 22% have internet access. Out of those 1,529,272,638 people 27%  read English. Bringing my potential readership down to 412, 903,612. Out of that vast pool of possibilities it is estimated that there are currently over 10,000,000 other bloggers writing with fingers crossed that someone will read what they poured out this morning. But even if I deduct them with the excuse that they are busy creating instead of reading I still have over 400 million that I can consider viable reader opportunities.

All this to say, dear reader, this morning you are truly one in millions. Not just a million but 400 million!  You are the rarest of the rare this morning. You have found my blog and read my words. May I never take your time and attention for granted. It is precious to me. Thank you, dear reader.

* In the time it took me to write this and do the math the World Population counter has gone up to….6,951,241,962 making you even more rare!

 

 

 

 

 

What do you want?

One of the battles I face is a simple question. “What do you want?” It can be followed by harmless qualifiers like “for dinner” or “to do” or “for your birthday”. Right now it’s followed by a big one that has been growing for about 40 years. “to be when you grow up?”

This morning I am facing that question once again. My youngest child has been away at camp for the past 5 days leaving the house quiet and while my husband is at work my hours free to use as I decide. There are so many options and possibilities. What do I want to do today? And even though it’s only a week I find myself looking a few years down the road and seeing not a week to fill but the rest of my life. What do I want to do when my daughter goes to high school next year and I’m not homeschooling her? What do I want to do when she goes off to college and I my schedule doesn’t revolve around her activities and driving her around? What do I want to do when I “grow up”?

I have some talents, undeveloped and undisciplined. I have some skills, mostly self taught or from the school of hard knocks. I have some interests and am a pretty good learner. What I am lacking is a clear direction. It’s really hard to build up any progress without a destination.

So my goal for today is to take some time with some of the great material and resources I have and start setting some goals for the next year and the next 5 years. Michael Hyatt’s free ebook and an assortment of other material I’ve been looking at will be my starting point.

If you have a suggestion or see a direction you would like to see my journey head I would love to hear from you. Knowing that I have about a dozen readers, most of whom know me personally, I am confident in asking for your insight and opinions.

 

 

Change

“People are always saying that change is a good thing. But all they’re really saying is that something you didn’t want to happen at all… has happened.”

Several of my friends have been going through major changes lately. Some for the better. Some seem like for the worst but we’re believing they are the dark before the dawn of a beautiful new day.

This afternoon I am contemplating change and how oxymoronic it seems that one of the few constants in life is that everyday there is the opportunity for change and the hope of a better tomorrow.

I also think it’s very strange that the money returned after you over pay for something is called change. Taking what’s owed out of a dollar bill and returning a few coins that may rattle around in a pocket until they find their way to a washing machine or an empty coffee can or work their way out through a hole to drop unnoticed to the ground.

The winds change. The times they are a changing. Fashion changes. Technology changes. Women have long established their prerogative to change their minds without rhyme or reason.

I started writing this with the quote at the top feeling like a subtitle for the story of my life but as I’ve been writing another quote from the same movie is the one I want to claim instead.

“You are daring to imagine that you could have a different life. Oh, I know it doesn’t feel like that. You feel like a big fat failure now. But you’re not. You are marching into the unknown armed with…  Nothing. Have a sandwich.”

Gone in a moment

For the past 9 years there has been an apple tree outside my home office window. As I type this the tree is gone. In those 9 years there have been maybe a half dozen apples which have been scarfed up by a squirrel I named George. The apple tree by itself would probably still be standing except it’s close neighbor the apricot tree was dying quickly. The apricot tree produced tons of fruit over those same 9 years and the tree men harvested a huge ice chest full for me before taking it out. But the apricot tree was splitting apart at its trunk and before it could cause damage it had to be removed. Also meeting it’s end today is a scrawny redwood tree that is growing into the fence line.

I don’t like to see trees cut down. I love the lessons I have learned from them over the years. I love the majesty, the deep roots and the amazingly uniqueness of each tree.

We didn’t plant these trees. They came with the house and were actually planted by the owners once removed. To those visionaries I say thank you. Thank you for the fruit and the shade and the beauty. To the owners in between I have to say “what were you thinking encasing these trees in cement!? I know pouring concrete to make a dog run seemed like a good idea but you killed the trees!”

Like I said, I have learned a lot of lessons from my trees. Today I am thinking of how stifling regulations and rules and taxes have become in our country and in our churches. As we head into the weekend celebrating our declaration of independence I can’t help feeling like the trees of liberty and the pursuit of happiness have been surrounded with cement to make a dog run.

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