Archive | September 2012

What do you do if you are directionally challenged?

I attended a training seminar today in a different town about an hour from my home. My GPS is, shall we say, less reliable than I’d like. It cannot even direct me to find my house when I am a half mile away. Good thing I know where I live.

Since my husband has a better sense of direction and loves maps, I asked for his help. That was a good thing. He searched Google and printed out a set of maps for me, highlighted my route in orange and sent me on my way. He did an excellent job. I not only found the spot easily, but I made good time – better than my friend who took the turnpike, and she had to pay a toll to sit in traffic. So why, if I had such wonderful help in finding my route am I directionally challenged? I think it has to do with the pride factor. You know what the Good Book says, “Pride goes before a fall.”

Since I had no difficulty finding my way to the site, why should I anticipate any issues coming home? That’s where I went wrong. Enter the no left turn sign at the end of the road where I had made a right hand turn earlier in the morning. Ok, so now what? Turn back and look for signs, right?

“Should be easy enough,” I thought. Except for the fact that I wound up in an industrial park. They don’t make it easy to get out of those; nevertheless, I made it. Hmm, just ask the guy coming out of the restaurant how to get to my route. It’s a main highway so it should be no problem. New dilemma. He did not speak English, and the only other person walking around was across the median strip. So I gave up on asking for directions and drove. I couldn’t really be lost.

I found a road with a familiar sounding name and decided to turn there. I came to a light and a junction for another major thoroughfare. Since the light was red, I rolled down my window to ask the person in the car to my left. Can you believe it, she just yakked on her cell phone while her daughter, the driver, put her hair into a pony tail? (People do really strange things in their cars, but that’s another post.) The woman on the right, however, was alert and told me to continue on my current route. She said that I’d run right into the road I wanted. She was right. Within minutes, I was back on track.

So maybe I’m not as directionally challenged as I thought or perhaps the Lord figured I’d learned my lesson. I’m glad He’s merciful.

Advertisements

Thank you for …

Thank you to any and all of my readers for not commenting that I missed the celebration of Talk like a Pirate Day last Wednesday. While I should have been on top of it, it totally slipped off my radar. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed the day, me mates.

Friday, however, will be here in a few hours and you can let the reveling begin, not because the weekend will be starting, but due to the UN designating September 21 as World Gratitude Day. This provides an opportunity for you to present an award to someone you feel has done something outstanding in the spirit of globalism.

I’m not sure what they mean by globalism, but with the technology we have today, you could certainly consider anyone in the world your neighbor because you can text, email, Skype, Facetime, etc. folks around the world just as easily as if they lived next door. Interestingly, Jesus had this down thousands of years before the UN. He didn’t call it World Gratitude Day, He just said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” To me, that’s the essence of globalism.

So arm yourself with thank-you cards, e-cards, flowers, and lots of smiles to wish everyone on your worldwide list of family and friends, a Happy World Gratitude Day!

Make sure to be specific when you share your appreciation. You don’t want people to think you’re a shallow person by just mouthing certain words. Here’s a hint, think back – hopefully not too far – of an instance when the person demonstrated consistency, showed kindness, offered help, gave you a gift, or acted in some way that brought you pleasure. Thank them for those things. Make sure you do it for each individual. Not only will it make their day, but it will make yours as well

Have an attitude of gratitude.  Happy World Gratitude Day and thanks for reading!

Who’s in your community?

Are you as amazed as I am about the people crossing your path each day? I’m not talking about the people who rain on your parade, but those whose actions make you feel like you’re the next best thing to sliced bread.

These are the people who build you up, encourage you and jump on your bandwagon to give you support. There are a lot of them out there, and yet we tend to recall those who mistreat us instead of those who treat us well.  Why is that? Perhaps if we focused our thoughts more on the warm and caring responses we receive, we’d have more good days than those on the opposite end of the continuum.

Most people live active and busy lives, yet a broad smile and hearty wave go a long way to let you know they notice you’re alive and care enough to greet you. Please note that the wave is hearty and not merely a raising of the hand. Fingers or wrist must move enthusiastically in order to qualify.

Oh, and there’s the store clerk who admires your purse and turns the time you spend in the grocery line into a real conversation – not one about the weather or the color of a starlet’s hair, but matters of importance even in that short time frame. And you can’t forget the huggers. These delightful people are so glad to see you they cannot wait to put their arms around you to say, “Hello.” Even if hugging is not your thing, you can appreciate their effort to let you know you are important to them.

I like “real” people, too. They’re the ones who are themselves regardless of the time or place. They know who they are and don’t put on airs. You can’t help but feel comfortable around them.

The one’s I like best are the listeners. They look you in the eye as they ask you questions – not to be nosey but to help you sort out a problem, figure out a solution or encourage you in your endeavors. They’re hearing what you say without being distracted by the formulation of their own responses or comments. They are not so engrossed in their own problems that they remember you and your situation from a day, month or year before and they ask you about how something turned out or how it’s going.

The world is filled with everyday people who demonstrate kindness, consideration and a helping hand. Perhaps if I focus more on their efforts, I’ll become like them.

Do you have trouble sleeping?

I am always amazed at the benefits we receive from our food. For example, on a recent discussion with my daughter-in-law, she told me she read that tart cherries were good for helping you sleep. Since I experience irregular sleep patterns and insomnia, I thought I’d give it a whirl. It certainly could not hurt me.

I purchased the tart cherry juice and poured a regular-sized juice glass three quarters full. I’m guessing it was about three ounces. I slept through the night and felt refreshed the next morning. Hmmm. Could this be working or was it merely a coincidence? I planned to continue the experiment.

I tried it the next night. I awoke to a strange noise, but I returned to a deep sleep shortly after dismissing the sound as harmless. I then slept deeply until morning. This pattern continued for about a week. Then about the eighth night, I climbed into bed and realized I had not had my cherry night cap. Too tired to go back downstairs, I decided it was probably ok to skip it this once. Ironically, I was awake almost every hour and had really weird dreams. Was there a connection?

I Googled tart cherry juice and discovered there really is a connection between the cherry juice and sleep. Evidently, you can receive extra Melatonin from cherries. It is Melatonin that helps you not only get to sleep, but stay asleep and wake refreshed the next morning. It seems to work for me. What an easy remedy? And it all came from food.

What were you doing at 10?

Let me first put you on my page lest you think I’m investigating a crime. I’m not talking about 10 o’clock either AM or PM. Rather I mean age 10. I’ve been doing some reading on assessing your talents and gifts and discovering your purpose as part of God’s ultimate plan for your life. As human beings, we can get so distracted and off base. Many people say that age 10 is the time of life when your interests and leanings are in their purest form. I guess it makes sense then to look back if we don’t know where we should be going.

It seems like a long time ago, but I turned 10 when I was in 4th grade in Miss Lewis’ class. Miss Lewis was ahead of her time in many ways, and likely she rocked many conventional boats. I remember her deciding that a camping trip was a great way for our class to learn. To be honest, I don’t recall any scheduled classes, but we swam, hiked, played games and explored. Somehow she also convinced my parents to go along as chaperones, driver and cook. Miss Lewis would invite us over to her house and gave us opportunities to do things our parents would not. These were good things like painting her porch or real cooking. Our folks could not afford the time or extra paint/ingredients to let us do these things at home, but Miss Lewis did.

She also had an old fashioned player piano. The rolls were in good shape and not only could you pump out a proper tune, you could sing along because the words were also printed there. We had so much fun with it. Miss Lewis was unconventional in other way. She was not afraid of any question and got us involved in discussions quite often. We’d review subjects with games and other innovative methods more characteristic of today’s classroom. Though I did well academically in her class, I remember more about the relationships of the age.

I finished my 10th year in Mrs. Johnson’s class, a strict woman with shoulder length hair that appeared to be glued in place. No way would the wind move her “do.” I remember academics in her class as they seemed easy. It was in her class I realized I liked to write. Maybe I’d finally just learned the stuff I was supposed to as I recall getting a 100% on the California Achievement Test that year. Mrs. J was shocked. I guess I was her first student to do that. Whoa. I think I found my claim to fame. I wonder what I should do with it.

So how does all of this play into what I should be now that I’m grown up? I can see how these people impacted me, but I think the jury is still deliberating. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Stories Wanted

If you’re near or past the half century mark, you understand how quickly things change – sometimes for the good and well, others that present challenges. It could be the kids heading to college or leaving home making the nest look ever so empty. Retirement is coming but the economy hasn’t helped your investments. In fact, your company’s been talking layoffs and your job might be on the line. Then, there’s the responsibility of your aging parents. And did I mention that some things have shifted when you look in the mirror? But, let’s end on a positive note – Grandchildren. They’re the best!

Many people work hard all of their lives and hit the 50 milestone and realize they’d much rather be doing something else. So they give up the corner office, the 9 to 5 and launch out on their own to follow their dreams. Some of these have had to reinvent themselves as well.

These winds of change may blow, yet they’re not the signals of the end of the world. But where do you find help and encouragement about your health, finances and relationships? Most of today’s periodicals – online or print – feature the 20 to 40 crowd. It’s like people fall off the end of the world at 50. Not true.  But sometimes we have to make some alterations. In fact, many people adjust and often readjust in these situations, and I’m one of them.

My next venture is to compile these stories and share them and their tips for success with others via an ezine. If you have a story to share or know someone who does, let’s talk. Who knows where it will lead?

How do you discover your niche?

Each of us is unique, and it’s got nothing to do with our gender or appearance. Even identical twins have differences, and sometimes the only thing they share in common is their looks and date of birth. This uniqueness has everything to do our purpose under heaven, yet for many it seems difficult to discover. So, how do you discover your niche?

In my efforts to reinvent myself for my later years, I found that I had a lot of interests and some knowledge and skill in each area, but I was not focused. Some people have a strong passion for one thing, and they can’t seem to help themselves. They have to pursue it.

Years ago, I had just such a student. Today, kids would call him a nerd because he zeroed in like a laser on anything that had to do with science. I’d continually have to tell him that science was not my forte, so he’d dumb down his theories for me until our next conversation. And the topic? You guessed it. Science. He loved it. If anyone tried to realign his thoughts, he’d always return to his favorite. He had focus.

I read something the other day from Brian Tracy on finding your competitive advantage, and I thought it might be applied as well to finding your niche and moving forward with it. It will require some time when you can be alone for some self-analysis, but hey, you’re worth it.

  • Identify your strengths – What do you think you’re good at? Where have you excelled in the past as well as the present? What do others see as your strongest qualities? Write them down even if they seem small. They may develop into a pattern.
  • Identify your interests – What do you really like to do? Pay close attention to your heart because your true interests may not be where you’re currently expending your energies. Someone mentioned that you should think back to age 10 and what you wanted to be when you grew up. Are you there?
  • Identify your area(s) of specialization and narrow it down to one or two core skills. Keep in mind that these should be in the area of your strengths and interests.
  • Identify areas within your specialization that could be further developed to add different and better value. You want to differentiate yourself from all the rest by excelling where others have not even thought to go.
  • Identify markets where your skills and talents will be best used or better yet, an unfulfilled need where you can forge into new territory.
  • Pray. God created you with a specific purpose in mind, and He delights in revealing His plans when you ask.

It took me a while to narrow my focus and find my niche, but I think I’m on the right track now. Don’t be discouraged that the process requires time. Remember, it’s what we’re here for.