Tag Archive | perspective

Roller Coaster Rides

Can you remember your favorite ride at the amusement park or carnival? Mine was the roller coaster. I can remember bubbling with excitement as I’d get into the car and finding it difficult to contain my anticipation as I waited for the other cars to fill so the ride could begin. I could hardly sit still, yet I had to wait until the ride operator made his rounds checking to see everyone had fastened their seat belts. In the meantime, I pictured myself flying at break-neck speeds with the wind blasting in my face. I focused on the fun I’d experience and certainly gave no thought to the seatbelt. Surely I wouldn’t need it.  Seatbelts? They were merely a proactive measure to avoid liability, something you were supposed to do, a necessary evil.

roller coaster maverick_airtime1Finally our cavalcade began to move, slowly at first and then increasing to gain momentum to climb. By the time I reached the top of the steep incline, I had no time to do anything but hold on tight and scream with emotions racing between fear and delight. It was so much fun. Even after experiencing several episodes of these peaks and valleys eventually leading back to the starting point, I lacked appreciation for the protection my seatbelt provided. It never crossed my mind. I took it for granted, yet had it not been securely in place, I’d have been flying through the air, all right, but not with the greatest of ease.

Don’t you sometimes feel like life is like a roller coaster ride? You start out at the bottom, learn a few things, gain momentum then all of a sudden you’re going in a different direction, and it feels like that path is headed down. Change is like that. It hits you smack in the face – sometimes without warning and the cycle is often repeated many times before the ride is over. The ups and downs aren’t much fun, and you begin to ask yourself, “What measures have I put into place to keep me secure as I hang on for dear life?”

If you have made wise choices along the way, especially placing your faith in the Lord, you will have the security and perspective you need to focus on the voyage and not the ups and downs. Reflecting on your selections and making adjustments to compensate for the change will help you to have joy in the journey like I did on the roller coaster ride.

My Summer Vacation

When I was a kid, the first essay of the school year always had the same title: My Summer Vacation. I hated that assignment because our family never did all that much worthy of report. Money was always tight, so rather than spending a week at the shore or traveling to an exotic place, my vacation away from home meant hopping into the car to spend a few days at my aunt’s house or a day trip to the park to swim.

My dad often spent his vacation painting houses (ours or someone else’s), but on really hot days, he’d quit work early and drive an hour away so that we could swim and play in the sand on the beach by the lake. No cone-shaped piles of moistened sand for us. Dad made the best sand castles in the whole world. Using a bucket, discarded paper cup and beach shovel, he could fashion turrets and steps with a moat surrounding the exterior. Sometimes he even added a draw bridge. You could almost see Cinderella waving from the window. Passers-by would always stop to admire his handiwork. Now as I look back, I know he was spending quality time with me, and though I enjoyed it back then, today I recognize his efforts and really appreciate his building these lasting memories.

My parents, aunts and uncles have since passed away, and I would give anything to spend time today listening to their stories and learning more about them and their values. Money is still tight (some things never change), but because of my dad’s influence and his impact on me, the last few summers, I have made a concerted effort to spend quality time with my grandchildren. I did not build sand castles, – the trait must have been recessive – but we walked in the woods, worked on projects, visited some interesting places and played a lot of games. While we did these things, I listened and intentionally shared with them my values and perspectives.

I hope when my grandkids get older, they’ll understand that a gift of time is the best part of any vacation.

Take another view

My daughter-in-law and her closest friend are stepping out in faith to open a new boutique in a small town in the Adirondacks. They are working hard to open this Saturday, and I have no doubt they’ll be successful, but this is not an unpaid advertisement for Pretty & Chic. Rather it is an observation that may be of help to any who are moving from enjoying a hobby to developing a business.

My daughter-in-law excelled at sewing and began crafting aprons as gifts for family and friends. As the recipient of one of the finished products, I can testify to both their beauty and quality. Because of the encouraging response she received, she wanted to offer them in her new store, but this meant having a supply of them on hand on opening day and required a brand new perspective. Instead of making one at a time and finishing it completely, she had to change up her process otherwise it would not be cost effective. Beginning slowly she discovered ways to streamline the way she cut out the pattern and assemble the pieces. Concentrating on the more difficult aspects first actually made the whole job easier.

Whether it’s sewing, writing, art, music, woodworking, tinkering with a new invention or some other favorite pastime, the point to all of this is that when you move to the professional category, you must experience a change in the way you think and the way you do things. You do not need to sacrifice the quality of your product, but you will need to reinvent the process so that you can make an income from your endeavor.

This may stretch your creative mind in new and different ways and be totally different from the way you started. Keep in mind the first time through may not be the best. Just persevere and try again. You may need to stand back and think it through several times before you realize the results you hoped for.  Yet once you achieve them, you’ll be glad you took another view.

Warning for all high school graduates

Since the first days of September, you’ve been thinking about graduation day, but more, perhaps, as a closing, and rightly so. It’s the end of a phase of your education and life. Now things will change. These changes will be far from subtle as were the ones from grade to grade. They will be drastic in comparison, and they’ll come at you fast.

Remember the sing-songy mantra you used to chant at the beginning of summer vacation? “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks”? In one sense, your dreams have come true. Seriously. Even if you’re going on to college, those days are gone. Nothing will be the same. Sure, you’ll have classes with pencils (now replaced by technology) and books (now coming with huge price tags and little resale value), but the classroom will change. The teacher’s dirty looks will no longer come as a result of mischievous behavior. Instead, they will challenge your previous 18 years at the core and possibly the entire foundation of your life, especially if you are a Christian or hold traditional values. Are you ready?

Many college professors project a persona of having all of the answers and view you as an unenlightened blank page on which to write their agenda. Their goal is not to see you learn to think so that you can become the innovators of tomorrow; rather, they want you to join them as they espouse their theories of the way the world should be based not on lofty ideals or fact, but on failed programs from the past. Their goal? Land you like a fish – hook, line and sinker. Are you ready?

One thing you’ll learn in your history classes is history repeats itself because people ignore the results achieved the first time around. Sometimes they just rewrite it altogether. I achieved my degree a lot later in life and watched professors distort facts about some of the time periods I had already lived through as an adult. This coupled with the way they changed the events themselves helped me recognize what they could do to young people unless they were prepared. Some of the sources they quoted had fancy names, but no real quantitative results to substantiate their data. To be fair, some of these proponents are only repeating what they had been taught and likely had not done their own research. If I were just coming out of high school, however, I might not have been as well prepared to see through their views. Are you ready?

With today’s ready access to technology, you have resources available to challenge the best classroom orators. Don’t be so quick to toss out your core values. God does not change nor do His principles. If you want to know truth, go to the source. The Bible will not take you down the wrong path. Are you ready?

Just for fun, check out this video to see how things used to be, why they were that way and how things are changing. You or even your parents, just might be a part of making a real difference. BTW — CONGRATULATIONS!

Overcoming Murphy’s Law

Does this ever happen to you?  You’re faced with a challenge, you discover a workable solution, and you begin to implement it and WHAM! You’re broadsided by a host of unpredictable situations preventing you from going further with your plan. I often refer to the result as Murphy’s Law – “If anything can go wrong, it will,” because it happens so frequently. Yet in the scheme of life, it is reality. It’s the law, not the exception.

I may be the last of the naïve who, rather than plan for negative possibilities and hindrances, assume that good will triumph according to plan. In many cases it does, but accidents, sickness, financial setbacks and relational issues come to everyone, so I need to change my perspective. In the meantime, I need to plan for these “negative” events, because they surely will come. In so doing, my mind can begin to foresee contingencies and ways to adjust if and when they occur. It really is logical. I’m not sure why it has taken so long to sink into my brain. In some ways, it’s defensive driving for life.

Along with finding a viable solution, I need to put feet to the plan so that I can move forward. (Someone once said that it is easier to direct a moving vehicle than one that is parked.) I need to be moving – even if it is not at the desired speed. This includes a little risk management planning to be really effective, and it may be exactly what I need to overcome Murphy’s Law.

A thunderous gift

I awoke this morning to flashes of light and booming claps of thunder. The rain poured down, and my spirits followed with each drop. Later the storm cleared, the sun came out and my spirits rose with the warmth of the day. So what was the difference? My health, my relationships, my finances remained the same, yet the sense of well-being seemed to follow the light.

Perhaps the real issue had to do with my perspective. Subconsciously, I saw the gloomy morning as a hindrance, a force out of my control, preventing me from something – like going outside of my comfort zone. After all, if I went outdoors, I’d be required to carry an umbrella or wear a raincoat. I would not need these items if it were sunny. In other words, I was looking at what I could not do instead of what I could or what benefit this rain would bring.

As a matter of fact, the strawberries I had transplanted had begun to shrivel up for lack of water. The pollen count continued to creep higher because there had been no rain to knock it out of the air. Oh, and there were other things I could do as well. I did have to venture out in the rain, but my car – currently parked inside a garage – would keep me safe and dry, as well as get me to my destination. The more I think about it, this storm was God’s gift.

Sometimes it takes me a while to make lemonade from life’s lemons. I’m glad the Lord is patient to wait for me to see the light.

Words on the page

Random words on a page do little to make the world a better place, but when you put them together in an orderly way, they have power for both good and evil. They can bring comfort or destruction, clarity or confusion, direction or uncertainty and humor or pain.   

Some people have a special knack for putting words together that when delivered, they inspire and motivate others to positive action. They edify the listener or reader. You can attribute this, in part, to the testimony of the person speaking, but the words themselves often contain power beyond their original intent. Such words can pierce to the very core of the human heart challenging perspectives and providing opportunities. It is these words, we often continue to quote, attaching the credentials of the man or woman who first penned them and sharing them to encourage or exhort others. Consider these examples:

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

~ Martin Luther King

“A people that value its privileges above its principles will soon lose both.”

~ Dwight Eisenhower 

Walk the Talk has compiled a short movie clip of some leadership quotes. Maybe you’ll enjoy them as much as I did. Too busy to check them out right now? Then you’ll like these words of wisdom from Abraham Lincoln: 

“The best thing about the future is it comes one day at a time.”