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Surrounded

Eyes_See_You_4_by_ScrapBeeI subscribe to a couple of hundred bloggers and email lists. I have filters set up so all incoming material goes automatically into files or folders or programs so I can read it or save it for later without having to sort through each of them every day. Since many of them only post or email a couple of times a month it’s not as overwhelming as it might sound.

One that comes every morning I look forward to. It’s thought provoking and encouraging. Most days I read it and just keep going. This morning was different. This morning it stopped me in my tracks and I had to take action.

It wasn’t on gratitude, although, I became more grateful by the moment.

It wasn’t on hope, although, hope flared up like a bonfire with kerosene.

It wasn’t on planning, although, my projects and plans came into focus with a ferocity.

It wasn’t on friendship, although, everywhere I looked I now saw the love and hearts of precious people.

It wasn’t on success or business or prosperity, although, it showed me how much I already have of all three.

It asked me to make a list. And I did.

I haven’t finished it yet, probably never will get it all written out, but I have a deeper awareness of where I want to go, who I want to be and how I want my life to unfold from here.

 

Smarter Than You

connet 4When my son was very young I would tell him something and he would ask me how I knew that. I would reply “Because I’m smarter than you”. It was a quick way to end the questions and move on. One day a woman I respect asked me how I knew something and “Because I’m smarter than you” almost slipped out before I could catch it. “Because I’m….doing some reading on it lately.” My habit was broken immediately.

Do you have pat answers or phrases?
Is something you think cleaver actually abrupt or even rude?
Do you assume someone is looking for you when they enter a room?
Do you have the answers before the questions are asked?

Are you flippantly telling everyone you are smarter than they are?

If you are, I hope you catch yourself before you pop off to the wrong person.
Learn and grow.
Don’t shut people down or out.

Because, everyone, in one way or another is smarter than you. And, in some way you are smarter than me.

 

Early Adopter

cell-phone-evolutionDid you have a cell phone that looked like a putty colored brick?
Did you have a projection tv?
Did your blog start on Blogger?
For a long time were you the only one you knew using a Mac?

If you were, you may be an Early Adopter. EAs are the ones who stand in line for the latest and greatest, plunk down a serious chuck of hard earned cash and wade through the challenges of technology that is still in the formative stages.  They are also the ones who pave the way for availability to go up and price to come down. They are the ones taking the risks and doing the heavy lifting for consumers to follow.

Because of my husband’s job in tech we are not only EAs but our home is often the site of field testing for pre-production items. While I loved the compact size of a laptop that fit in my purse in 2005 it’s proclivity to revert to Japanese while I was typing in English was more than a little frustrating.

Being ahead can be a lonely place. Finding someone to talk to about your experience is challenging. Waiting for other’s to catch up so you can connect is tiresome. But the alternative is moving with the herd. Plodding along at the same pace, doing what everyone else is doing because it’s what everyone else is doing. There is an illusion of safety in numbers. Class action law suits are more successful than individuals who go up against a major corporation or an industry giant.

What is it that draws us to the edge? The edge of technology or the edge of our experience or the edge of greatness? What makes us break out from the lock step of the crowd and do the cha cha? What makes us run ahead down the path with a machete swinging wildly yelling over our shoulder to those who will eventually find the trail?

I honestly don’t know. But my machete is sharp and I plan to keep whacking away.

Then there was one

coffee mugs

A few months ago I ordered this set of coffee/tea mugs. When I originally went looking for them I was only thinking of ordering one. But they came in a set so six it was. They have since offered them individually. The box arrived in a timely manner and sat in my office aging.

I already have a lot of coffee mugs and tea cups and tea services. And I plan on increasing my collection. Besides the very practical nature of holding hot beverages, many of these are my tangible prayer list.

Some were gifts from people near and dear to my heart. Some I have decorated with names from retreats or support fellowships. Some are half of a set, with one in my home and the other in the home of a precious friend.

This afternoon, I set five of these writer’s friends free. They are each nested in a box entrusted to the United States Post Office. Each one went with a prayer for inspiration and free flowing verse. Each one has a number on the back reminding the recipient that they are not alone in the lonely endeavor of writing.

When I fill my cup with coffee or tea, I will be sharing the cup of creativity and offering up a prayer on their behalf. Can you guess which one I kept for myself?

Transitions

Goldfishjumping1The end of May and the beginning of June seem to be the season for major life changes.

Graduations and Commencements are scheduled at educational institutions ranging from pre-school to doctoral levels.

Weddings, scheduled months ago insuring a June bride and all the traditional blessings that used to impart,  fill the calendars of every Saturday and Sunday and even a few Friday nights.

Many people find this to be the right time to move to a new home or a new city. Changing jobs or finding a job may be the focus as new workers enter the marketplaces.

The same things happened last year. The same things will happen next year. Not to the same people but to those who came before and those who will come after.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

 

What Brings You To Tears?

Saturday night I sat on a plastic high school gym bleacher with tears rolling down my face.

Tonight I know the tears will flow again.

Both tear generators are final performances of ensembles I have taken to heart.

The Santa Teresa High School Winter Guard competed at the California Color Guard Championships. For the seven seniors it was their last performance before graduation. The next few weeks will be full of “last times” and the bittersweet feeling of rushing forward while looking back. I know all too well how fast life moves forward and how hard it becomes to keep in touch with people you used to see everyday at school or work or every few days at practice. These seven young women have become near and dear to my heart. Their program was titled “Here We Are”. It was beautiful.

 

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHERAfter nine years “How I Met Your Mother” will air their final new episode tonight. This will bring tears, too. The characters have been fun but like Winter Guard the special group of people has worked long and hard at their craft to bring a performance that touches the audience. HIMYM has been a favorite in our home for a long time and we will miss them. On to reruns!

 

Smarter Than Me

friendsLooking over my friends list on Facebook this morning I realized each one is smarter or better or more skilled at 2 or 3 or more things than I am.

I see their strength and knowledge as something admirable and inspiring.

I see characteristics I want to emulate, insights I want to explore and wisdom I deeply respect.

 

 

Secret Mentor

mentor_mug-r8f87929a779a44e98415dc58ce611fe3_x7jg5_8byvr_512I read a lot. Maybe not compared to some people but statistically above average. The great advantage I have over most is all of my reading is self selected. I do not have to read endless office email threads or analyst reports or white paper. Even reading the directions is a totally discretionary decision resting entirely in my control. That being said, I choose to read a lot.

This morning a blogger I subscribed to about 3 years ago posted that he had purchased an ebook written by another blogger on writing. I followed the rabbit trail to Amazon where it was offered for a mere $2.99. But I have learned that many short ebooks are often compilations of blog posts written over a period of a few months. Going directly to the author’s website I found the same little missive offered free with a bonus  simply for subscribing to her future writing. This was the path I chose.

A quick download later, I was blasting through the 42 “page” ebook when something so incredibly familiar popped up on page 23. She recounted her experience at a writers conference where she had the opportunity to ask someone she respected how to find a mentor. The response was what I’ve been doing all along.

Most of the people I respect and admire are very public people. Their character is known. Their journey, with all it’s mountain tops and valleys, is not hidden. Their wisdom and insights are readily available. Usually in written form! I can learn from them without sitting across the table having them repeat the same thing they have told countless others. I can read the book!

If I want to learn how writer’s became better writers, there’s a pretty good chance they have written about it.

If I want to learn how to bake a better cake, there are  39,300,000 websites that pop up in 0.73 seconds if I Google “bake a cake“.

If I want to learn to run, there is a track at the local high school frequented by….RUNNERS!

Hunting down someone who is farther down a chosen path than I am is not necessary. I have hundreds of good mentors!

I can read, I can search, I can do the leg work. And I can blaze my own trail.

 

 

Blind Spots

We all have them.

Some are acknowledged.

Others ignored or totally unaware.

Strengths and weaknesses are the same.

We all have them.

Some are acknowledged.

Others ignored or totally unaware.

It’s what draws us together and keeps us apart.

But what if someone is watching out for your blind spots for you?

What if someone’s strength matches up with your weakness?

What if your strength matches up with my weakness?

What if I asked you to watch my blind spot?

What if I asked you to lend your strength?

What if I offered mine?

What if….

 

Oximoron

044-oxymoron-historyYou can’t tell someone to stop telling you what to do without telling them what to do.

 

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