Thursday, February 28, 2013

My friend had the biggest smile and the strongest hope

Yesterday I went to the funeral of a friend.  In reality, she was much more than a friend.  She was a sister in Christ.  Actually, she was more than a sister in Christ.  She was my Titus 2 woman.  She was a woman I looked to for spiritual guidance.  Especially for spiritual guidance in my role as a wife and a mother.

Evidently I wasn't her only friend.  The church was packed.  The funeral was standing room only.

My husband and I looked at each other.  We didn't even have to say it.  We knew what we were each thinking.  There was no way either of us could fill a church with friends like that.  Linda was a special person.  Even the minister was struggling to keep it together as he read the verses from the bible that give us hope for eternity.  Even though he was full of the knowledge that our friend was in heaven with her king, the pain of losing her, as a friend on this earth, was too great.

You might think, "my, this woman must have been a perfect woman."  You may think she was goodness personified.  She wasn't, you know.  She was a normal, flawed human being.  She had struggles in her life.  I remember when my son was young, I went to her for support and sympathy.  So often we christians have a tendency to act as if we have it all together.  My friend, Linda, let me see her cracks.  She had been divorced and was now remarried.  She struggled with this.  She knew God hates divorce, but she knew God loved her.  So even though she had been through tough times in marriage, she could share with me how special and important the sacrament of marriage was to her.  I was at a difficult time in my marriage.  I had a husband that was working A LOT.  And added to the extra working hours was a 20 hour a week commute.  My son is severely dyslexic.  Schoolwork was such a struggle.  Needless to say, I found myself overwhelmed at times.

My friend was there for me.  She shared the tough times she had been through and how she had squeaked through them by hanging on to hope and praying.  She reminded me that God keeps his promises.  She reminded me that God will restore the days the locusts devour. (Joel 2:25)  (she had a sense of humor.  do you see how she compared children and needy husbands to locusts?)  There were two things my friend always had to give me, her smile and hope.  Her smile was the biggest and brightest anyone could have.  Her hope was firm and never-ending.  Her hope was in Jesus.

Our friendship was broken for a few years.  This is the weird thing about "church friends."  It seems that sometimes we can only be friends with people in certain arenas.  Linda was my church friend.  When I stopped going to the church she was going to, we lost touch.  If I saw her somewhere else in the community, we were always glad to see each other, but it wasn't the same.  She was busy and involved with her church and I wasn't a part of her church.  That's just how things go sometimes.  But, when I came back to her church, she was the gladdest to see me of all the people at that church.  She made me feel as if I had come home.

She was sick when we reconnected.  She was very sick and I think she knew she wasn't going to get better.  Cancer is such an ugly disease.  I hate cancer.  The treatment for cancer is almost worse than most other diseases you can get.  It's a violent treatment.  My friend never lost her smile or her hope.  She may have lost her appetite for food (I had to put something in this post about food or I just wouldn't feel right linking to Emily's blog), but she never lost that beautiful smile on her face.

She was taken home to our lord too soon.  She was only 69.  I know many of you reading this may think 69 is a good time to die.  It's not.  It's too soon.  This life on earth is a good one.  I know heaven is perfect, but this life with our loved ones is a good life.  I checked her facebook page.  My friend had 69 facebook friends.  That just shows what the caliber of a facebook friend is.  Linda had THOUSANDS of friends.  She had tens of THOUSANDS of friends.  So all you people with a thousand plus fb friends... well, let's just see how many of them crowd together to say farewell to you at the end of your life.

Thanks for letting me take a moment to share this tiny tribute to my friend.  I miss her.  I don't know why I thought she would just get better and we'd be together, like it was when I was younger.  I guess I knew she was very sick, but her hope in God's love made me have hope that God would give her more time with us.

I'm linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursday.

196.  Hope in the promises of God
197.  Friends (even church friends)
198.  Restored health (yay!)
199.  Eating food without fear (because that nasty virus is DEAD)
200.  Being reminded that smiling is a good thing to do
201.  Having my purse returned to me when I was forgetful enough to leave it behind (I was at a church, but still...)
202.  Signs of Spring EVERYWHERE

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hazardous workplace

This info came to me just 24 hours too late.  I guess my workplace is hazardous.  It wasn't necessary to bold the STOP EATING or Drinking portion of the email.  If there is nothing inside, there is much less that gets hurled out.  Yep, this is higher education.  :)

And, of course, prevention.  So important.

190.  Pepto Bismol
191.  Ginger ale
192.  Rice
193.  Paid sick days
194.  All the company this misery could ask for
195.  Knowing it will be over soon

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Making my husband's dream come true

I just returned from a trip to NYC.

This trip to the city was just my husband and me.  Typically, I've only gone to the city with girlfriends.  It's tons of fun.  We've gone to shows and shopped and drank and laughed.  When I've gone with my husband, it's usually been with another couple and with our kids.  We've gone to places like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building and Ellis Island.  This time it was just my husband and me.  Fun.

I enjoy going to the Big Apple.  I think, deep in my genes, I'm a city girl.  I was conceived and born in Chicago, but I never got to live much of my life in a city.  As soon as my parents could afford to buy a house, they moved to the suburbs of Chicago.  My dad was a city boy, but mom was a country girl.  They wanted their kiddos to have room to run and a yard to play.  As soon as I could, I moved out of mom and dad's house and got myself an apartment in the city.  But, then I fell in love and married my husband and he moved me to the lands of strip malls and whatever else you want to call the areas outside of all the naval bases in the country.  The bonus to giving up city life, was getting to live near the ocean.  This midwest girl discovered she loves the beach and the ocean.

I wanted my husband to have a good time, since this isn't his favorite kind of getaway.  He typically enjoys ski trips and going to the beach and more sporty types of trips.  Being in the city was definitely something he was doing for me.  (and, since he's already been on two ski weeks since the New Year, I deserved this trip)  My husband would do anything I wanted to do while we were there, but there was one thing he wanted to do.

He wanted to go to Times Square at 5:00 p.m. on Friday evening to watch the taping of Options Action on CNBC at the NASDAQ building.  He wanted to be in the window during the taping of the show and be on TV.  You see, all his friends watch Options Action on Friday night.  The folks on this show are their celebrities.  He's a super fan of Melissa Lee, Mike Khouw, Carter Braxton Worth, and Dan Nathan.  We got to the window by 5:00 p.m. and the show started.  My husband was loving it.  Then the the thing he wanted more than anything happened, the segment, Put Up or Shut Up started.  The stars of the show, Dan and Mike, sit near the window and the taping begins.  It was great.  The topic of this segment was Has Apple Found a Floor?  This couldn't have worked out better.  My husband buys and sells APPL calls regularly and this stock has been the cornerstone of his portfolio.  If you click on the link, you can see us peering into the window.

My husband was thrilled.  He was able to do EXACTLY the very thing that was his heart's desire.  He was a happy man.  I was so glad this worked out for him.    I didn't think things could have gone better, but I was wrong.  A couple minutes after the show finished taping, Carter Braxton Worth and Mike Khouw strolled out of the building.  I called out to them and asked if they would mind taking a picture with my husband.

Carter, Bill, and Mike
Bill was thrilled.  He even had the opportunity to chat with them.  In fact, he got to tell them the story of the day he retired and the connection it had to what AAPL did on Jan. 23rd, 2012.  I would tell you the whole story, but I'll spare you.  (I'm going to tell you, we were the ONLY people hanging around the window during the show.  so, I'm thinking the Options Action celebs are an acquired taste.)

Happy Girl and Dan
I was lucky enough to meet my favorite commentator, Dan Nathan.  I always want to hear what Dan would do when he makes an options trade.  Dan explains how he makes a trade that makes money.

There is nothing more satisfying than being able to make my husband happy.  I know I've said that you can't make someone else happy, but you can certainly help facilitate it.  There is just nothing like being in the right place at the right time, and we were.  Btw, my husband is still smiling.

Oh, we saw a couple Broadway Shows, too.  We saw Phantom of the Opera and Wicked.  They were very good.  We had a couple nice dinners and walked in Central Park.  It was a very nice trip.  I'm glad we did it.

186.  My husband's smile
187.  Knowing my dear friend is in heaven with Jesus (but I miss her)
188.  Being able to take a trip to a city now and again
189.  Crocuses blooming in my garden

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Being nice, but...

Nice people do things that I don't usually do.

  • They smile to people when they meet them.  I have been trying to smile more.  However, smiling to people I don't know doesn't come naturally to me.  I'm an introvert, so I avoid interaction with people when I don't have to have it.  Once I know you, I'll smile when I see you, but I have to get to know you first.

  • Nice people ask other people how they are doing.  I usually don't do that unless I know you and I really care how you are doing.  I think the phrase is trite and most times I really don't want to know about someone's troubles or joys.  Of course, if I care about you, that's a different story.  Then I really do care how you are doing and I will listen.

  • Those nice people hand out compliments quite freely.  This is a wonderful trait to have.  It's tough for me to compliment people, unless I really mean it.  I may have difficulty with this trait because I didn't receive many compliments when I was growing up.  I was criticized much more than I was complimented.  For me, if I can keep from criticizing someone and say nothing at all, I'm improving my typical situation 100%.  Btw, I have a hard time accepting compliments, as well.  All in all, I think this is an exceptional trait to have.  I'm working on handing out more compliments.  People love them.

  • Nice people are good listeners.  I've got to say, I'm good at this.  Unfortunately I'm super good at this.  I listen so well to people that I remember what they say.  I've discovered most people don't mean most of what they say.  When I remember what people say and then they say or do something in complete contrast to what I heard them say when I was listening to them.  I lose trust in people when this happens.  Trust, in my world, is a critical attribute.  Once it is lost, it's hard to restore it.

  • When you are a nice person you are confident, but humble.  People like to be around confident people.  It makes them feel secure.  I'm pretty confident.  When I'm not confident about something, I'll tell you.  Then you will know I'm going to need some assistance.  People don't like to be around egotistic people.  They are annoying.  I struggle with my confidence in my point of view, not sounding egotistical.  When or if anyone would or could think of me as egotistical, it makes me laugh.  My sole desire in life would be to be invisible.  I never want people looking at me.

  • Nice people offer to help or give gifts once in a while.  I'm happy to offer to help, if I can.  I mean, if I'm not too busy and can really give the help cheerfully and not resentfully.  Also, I have to be able to help and not just say I will help.  I want to be useful when I give an offer to help.  As far as giving gifts... well, sure.  I mean, if I ask someone to go to the movies with me, I'll pay.  Or if I ask someone to go for a drink with me, I'll buy a drink for them, but I'm not going to buy all the drinks.  I don't want it to seem as if I'm buying friends.  And if I'm with someone who has their hand out for gifts and money from me, under the guise of friendship.  I don't think they are being very nice.

  • Being nice requires politeness.  I'm a polite person.  I have manners.  I offer a seat on a bus or train to someone older or pregnant.  I wasn't born in a barn.  I hold the door for people.  I think good manners make everyone more comfortable.  The one hitch to the politeness requirement for being a nice person is that cussing is not a "nice person" quality.  I have a tendency to cuss.  This will have to change if I'm ever going to be a nice person.

  • Nice people don't talk about people behind their backs.  Nice people aren't gossipers.  Oh My Goodness, it's going to be hard for me to be a nice person.  I mostly don't talk about people behind their backs, but I'm happy to listen to what others have to say.  Unfortunately, I'm the kind of person that will tell you to your face the thing most people are saying behind your back.  This little trait of mine may keep me out of the nice people club forever.  I don't think it should, but I think it may.  I've always been of the mind to say what I mean, when I'm talking to someone, but don't say it mean.  But, some people don't like to hear the truth.

  • The nice people don't return bad behavior with bad behavior.  They just don't get down in the mud with people.  If someone is rude to a nice person, a nice person does not respond rudely.  A nice person wouldn't go all Real Housewives on you and threaten to take you to court when they are upset with you.  A nice person would invite you over for tea and clear the air with a nice chat.  Nice people are mature.  Nice people treat people like grown-ups and don't talk down to them or coddle them.  I don't like to get down in the mud, but I've been pushed into that mud a time or two.  I try to stay above the fray.  It's tough and I've been told I've been too easy on people, but I think it's the right thing to do.

  • Nice people treat other people the way they would like people to treat them.  If you want people to treat you with respect, be respectful.  If you want people to be kind to you, be kind to them.  I think this is a trait I can get next to.  If this is the main trait of being a nice person, then I could consider myself a nice person.  I believe in treating people the way you would like to be treated.

  • 180.  All the nice people out there in the world
    181.  My small group bible study and their willingness to tell me when I'm off the mark and set me straight
    182.  The guardian angel that kept me from hitting the guy skateboarding in the middle of the road last night at 9:30 p.m.
    183.  People who remind me to smile
    184.  Google maps (they are so good)
    185.  Knowing it's going to rain while I'm in NYC, but being OK with that, 'cause I'm going to be in NYC   

    Monday, February 18, 2013

    Choose happiness

    The pursuit of happiness is a right given to us Americans, by our Creator, annotated in the Declaration of Independence.  The second paragraph says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  That being said, you have the right to pursue happiness.  Being happy is optional.

    Being happy is what I'm all about.  Maybe you noticed the name of my blog.  It's hard to be happy in all things at all times.  I can't even imagine that kind of bliss.  In fact, I'm going to go so far as to say that it is impossible to be happy all the time.  If you were never sad or mad or bored, how would you know when you were happy?  If the pursuit of happiness is a right, endowed to us by God, then why do we seem hell bent to throw happiness away at almost every opportunity?

    Yesterday my pastor talked about giving away our happiness.  Of course, my ears perked up immediately.  After all, I'm all about the Happiness.  He was focusing on happiness within a family.  I agree with him on that point.  I think it is critical to be happy within ones own family.  After all, families are the ones who know us best.  Family is where we go to be rested and restored after being out in the workplace all day.  Family is (or should be) our soft place to fall.  Yet, because we know each other so well, we know how to hurt each other so well, too.  Because we spend so much time together, we develop expectations that are impossible to meet.  Every time you lay the blame for your situation at someone else's feet, you give away your happiness.  When the "someone" you choose to blame for your situation is a family member, you've allowed conflict to come into your home. 

    The following is the passage from the bible that was used to illustrate this point.  One thing we can think about when reading these verses in the book of James, is that James was the younger brother of Jesus.  He was a member of Jesus' family.

    James 4:1-3 says, "What causes fights and quarrels among you?  Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You desire but do not have, so you kill.  You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.  You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

    Another passage used to refine this point was the passage from Paul in Romans 7 where Paul says he does the things he doesn't want to do and then doesn't do the things he wants to do.  It's sounds a bit like Abbot and Costello's "Who's on first," but it is worth taking the time to read.

    Romans 7:14-20, "We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it."

    It seems as if we cannot win for losing, according to Paul.  But what if we could bat 500?  Seriously, a batting average of 500 is awesome.  What if, in an argument, you paused?  What if, when you start feeling frustrated with your spouse, child, mother, father, sibling..., you took a beat?  What if you said, "You know what part of the problem we're having here is?  Part of this problem is, I'm not getting what I want."

    Wouldn't that be a stunner.

    I know many of you are probably thinking that it isn't fair for the blame of a conflict to be laid at your own feet.  Well, life isn't fair, my friend.  And, we often, if not mostly, pull the fair card only when we don't get something we want.  We don't usually worry too much if someone else isn't getting what they want.

    We are responsible for our own happiness.  When we abdicate that responsibility to someone else, we are throwing our happiness away.  Look back at the verses from James, "You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives,..." 

    Check your motives.  Do you want to be happy?  Don't allow your happiness to be another's responsibility.

    174.  The feeling of anticipation (isn't that more than half the fun of any situation/)
    175.  Chocolate
    176.  Tulips (all the secretaries got a pot of tulips, but me.  I'm still good with it, 'cause I get to look at theirs)
    177.  No traffic on the way to work because everyone else has this day off
    178.  Finishing the curtains for my son's house
    179.  Enjoying making my son's favorite dinner when he visits on Sundays

    Friday, February 15, 2013

    Retirement (they say you just know when it's time to go)

    Should you stay or should you go?
    Do you leave them wanting more?
    Or wait ‘til they want you to go?
    Pull your finger out of a bucket filled with water.
    That’s the void you leave behind.
    Soon your name won’t even be a memory.
    Think on that while you decide…
    What’s best for you.

    Linking with G-man for a Friday Flash 55
    Pondering what to do.  Fight for a raise or retire...  What to do?

    168.  My conscience
    169.  Lessons in civility taught to me when I was young
    170.  The people in my life that can tell me when I'm wrong
    171.  The people in my life that encourage me
    172.  The people in my life that will just listen
    173.  The people in my life that give good advice 

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

    Love and marriage

    You'd think the institution of marriage would be linked to the concept of love, don't cha?  Yet with better than half of the marriages in the US ending in divorce, this doesn't seem to be the case.  It's sad that it has become so easy to divorce.  It's sad that many are choosing to avoid marriage and the commitment and sacrament that it is meant to be.  It's sad that most children today don't live with a mother and a father that have only been married to each other.

    I am so blessed to be in a long marriage.  I've been married over 30 years.  My secret to a long marriage is simple.  Don't get divorced.

    Believe me, I know marriage is difficult.  My marriage isn't special or blessed or easier than anyone else's marriage.  My husband and I just decided we wouldn't get divorced.  No matter what, we didn't want to get divorced.  I know this sounds like an impossibility.  Of course, there were absolute deal breakers.  Of course, I wouldn't tolerate abuse.  But everything else was a negotiable.  I won't break the privacy of my marriage and share the things we have forgiven each other, but let me tell you, some of these forgivables are things that are considered deal breakers in a lot of marriages that fail.

    We have learned a lot of things about staying married during our 30 years as a couple.  One of the first things we learned, and this was learned at a marriage retreat we were sent to attend by the church we were attending at the time, (see, life wasn't all diamonds and roses) is that my spouse is not my enemy.  Did you get that one?  My Spouse is NOT my Enemy!

    This was a revelation.  It's been at least 15 years since I heard that phrase and I still remember it.  This was life changing stuff for me.

    Another thing that has kept our marriage together is a couple verses in the bible.

    Ephesians 5:22, "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord."

    The other verse that has helped comes very near after the above.

    Ephesians 5:25, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..."

    And, the thing we do that makes these verses work well for us is to only work on the verse that references each of us, specifically.  I work on verse 22 and I leave verse 25 to him.  We find this is much more effective than monitoring how the other is doing on their respective verse.

    There are more words from the bible about love.  My husband and I had these words read at our wedding ceremony.  At the time, I believed the minister was reading these words for my husband's benefit.  Now I know, they were for me. 

    I Corinthians 13:4-8, "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
    or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away."

    The last thing we have found to be a key to a long and happy marriage is one simple phrase.  This phrase is always appropriate.  This phrase is always welcome.  This phrase can be used in almost all situations.  This phrase is not only appropriate for husbands to say to wives, or wives to say to husbands, but also children can say it to parents and parents can say it to children.  Friends can use this phrase.  Co-workers can use this phrase.  Seriously, these are magical words.  Do you want to know what they are?

    "How can I help you?"

    So simple, but so effective. 
     I'm linking with Emily today at Imperfect Prose on Thursdays

    160.  Husband coming home tomorrow
    161.  Progress on getting a raise
    162.  My ankle and knee are just about healed
    163.  Buying train tickets to NYC
    164.  Cheese and cherry danish
    165.  Dreaming of tulips
    166.  Finding a solution to a difficulty with a co-worker that works for everyone
    167.  Being Happy in this day and enjoying the feeling of Being Happy

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    Everyone needs to have skin in the game

    So much of how you view life depends on whether or not you have skin in the game.

    The quote, "having skin in the game" is attributed to Warren Buffet.  It refers to the situation of owners purchasing stock in their own company.  The "skin" refers to equity and the "game", the investment vehicle.

    I listened to two speeches last night.  I listened to the president give his State of the Union address and I listened to Dr. Benjamin Carson's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast from five days ago.  Both speeches included commentary on the state of our economy, taxes, education, and health care.  Both speeches were given by black men.  Both speeches were given by professional men.  One is a doctor and one was a lawyer.  Both speeches were given during the same week. 

    There were certainly differences in each of these speeches.  I won't go into the huge portion of the State of the Union address that had to do with gun control.  Maybe you feel that is the most important portion of the president's speech.  It wasn't.  Or, at least, it shouldn't have been.  The most important issue the president should be talking about is the economy.  Because, even Bill Clinton will tell you, it's always about the economy.  Our president talked about slowing the fiscal deficit by taxing the richer American's at a higher rate.  I don't know how many rich people you know, but the few wealthy people I know won't keep their money in the US if taxes keep increasing on them.  Taxing people with resources to leave the country or take their businesses out of the country or do their banking out of the country, won't solve our problems.

    Dr. Carson's speech talked about the economy, too.  He talked about a flat tax.  He didn't give a percentage, but he did indicate that all people should pay the tax.  I know Dr. Carson isn't an economist.  I do know there are a lot of people who would agree a flat tax is the way to go.  (Remember Steve Forbes?)  But the percentage isn't what caught my attention.  The thing that caught my attention was who would be paying the tax.  The "who" would be EVERYONE.  No matter if you were on welfare and food stamps or making millions, you would be paying taxes on your income.  Some may think taxing those on welfare on their welfare income is weird.  I, for one, don't think it is.  The poor use welfare as their income.  I use the money I earn at my job as my income.  I'm taxed on my income.  When all are taxed on their income, whatever manor of income they bring in, then all will have skin in the game of the economy of our nation.  When you have your money in the process of our national economy, you will care much much more about how that government spends your money.

    There is just something about having no investment in the working of our government that keeps people from fully understanding how government works.  I spoke to a 23 year old woman the other day.  She was receiving food stamps and financial support from the government.  This is also known as welfare.  When asked if she knew where the money she was receiving came from, she said, "the government."  When asked where she thought the government got the money they were giving her, she said, "they print it."  She is not a lone voice in the wilderness of the entitled.

    I hope you can find 27 minutes in your day to listen to Dr. Carson's speech.  I hope it gives you the hope it gives me.  I see Mr. Obama sitting and listening.  I hope and pray he heard something that gave him something to think about, as well.

    Continuing gratitude
    150.  I was taught not to steal
    151.  I was taught not to look for handouts from people
    152.  I was taught to ask for help when I need it, but not to let it become a habit
    153.  I was taught to save for a rainy day
    154.  I was taught to pay God first, pay myself second, and then pay those I owe
    155.  I was taught that paying my own way, when I can afford it, gives you a great feeling
    156.  I was taught when I can't afford it, I have to do without
    157.  I was taught not to throw money at problems.  I need to do the work
    158.  I was taught to take care of the things I have
    159.  I was taught to believe people when they tell you who they are.  When they tell you they steal, they are a thief.  When they tell you they lie, they are a liar. 

    Friday, February 8, 2013

    ABC's of oxymorons

    English, it’s so complicated.

    act naturally
    boxing ring
    certain risk
    definite maybe
    educational TV
    freezer burn
    graduate student
    head butt
    inside out
    junk food
    kosher ham
    liquid smoke
    more unique
    new tradition
    one size fits all
    plastic silverware
    questionable answer
    relative truth
    sinfully good
    toll free
    unknown identity
    virtual reality
    young adult
    zero deficit

    I'm linking with G-man for a Friday Flash 55

    142.  xerox machines
    143.  scanners
    144.  pdf's
    145.  photoshop
    146.  spell-check
    147.  double-sided printing
    148.  ocr's
    149.  Fridays

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    The unteachables

    There are just some people out there in the world that are downright unteachable.  Lately I've run into a few people that are absolutely unteachable.  It's not like these folks are mentally deficient or damaged or have any physical ailments.  They just can't seem to learn anything new.

    This is very hard for me to understand.  In fact, I've found myself frustrated and baffled by the situations.  I'm a person that loves to learn new things.  Sure, I have my favorite areas of interest, and I enjoy learning new things in those particular areas the best.  However, if I have to learn a new way of doing things or a new way of thinking about things, I'll give it my best shot.  I know I've told you in past blog posts that I'm an ISTJ in the Myers Briggs psychological typing.  Traditionally the ISTJ type likes tried and true methods of doing things.  Yeah, that's mostly how I roll.  Yet, I like to hear how other people do things.  And, if I'm forced into learning a new way to do things, for example the big switch at work from Microsoft Outlook to Google Gmail, I'll do it.  And, I will do it the best I can.

    Lately I've run into those folks that won't learn.  I'm sure they CAN learn, but they don't want to learn.  In fact, they spend more time and energy trying to change everyone they meet to do things their way instead of learning the way things are done in their new situation.  It's amazing to watch this happen. 

    I've encountered a couple individuals spending thousands of dollars trying to change the way social networking works instead of just keeping off the twitter account, facebook account and blabbing on the web altogether.  I've run into people at work trying to change the way we do business at my office to the way they were used to doing things at their old office instead of adjusting to the way we do things here.

    How do you know if you are one of the unteachable?  I have a few indicators I'll share with you.

    • Do you talk non-stop?  Will you, seriously, not stop talking long enough to hear what someone is trying to say to you?  If you are doing all the talking, you are doing none of the listening.
    • Do you nod your head up and down and say "yeah" or "uh huh" or "I see" or something equally patronizing?  Do you say "yeah, but...?"  If you are butting all the time, you aren't listening.  A bunch of buts usually means you are trying to teach them, not learn.
    • Do you ask questions?  This is critical to being teachable.  Teachable people ask pertinent questions.  Were you trying to understand or were you trying to be understood?  A person can't ask questions if they are not really listening.
    • Do you ever apply something someone has told you or something you have read to a situation in your life?  If you don't ever use anything you may have inadvertently picked up by reading or accidentally overhearing something, you may be unteachable.
    • Do you have an opinion on everything?  Opinions are like noses, everyone has one.  If you have an opinion on absolutely EVERYTHING and you feel the need to share your opinion with absolutely EVERYONE, you aren't trying to learn.  You are trying to teach.
    Even the bible tells us to have a teachable spirit.

    1 Peter 5:5:  Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

    Proverbs 13:18:  Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored.

    2 Timothy 3:16:  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

    Proverbs 12:1:  Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

    Be a teachable person.  It's worth the effort.
    135.  Friends with mad building and repairing skills
    136.  Enough patience to get the insurance company to pay for our flu shots
    137.  Living near a town named Loveville (isn't this a great place to send Valentines from?)
    138.  Going to the movies with a good friend
    139.  Learning new things from the bloggers I read
    140.  Listening to christian music on the radio on the drive into work
    141.  Learning how to sharpen a knife with a honing stick (I love the way chefs do that thing with the knife and the stick, but I'm a lot slower at it)

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    Praying properly

    I don't think I pray the right way.

    In fact, I'm pretty sure I don't pray properly.

    Prayer is a tough thing for me.  If I think about it long enough, I'd have to say I've never been very good at prayer.

    If I pray at all, it usually happens when I close my eyes to fall asleep.  This is when all my biggest fears rise to the forefront of my consciousness.  Then I go into begging mode.  God, please do this...  God, please do that...  God, please don't let this happen.  God, help me not to be afraid.  I'm not sure this is the way we are supposed to pray.

    I know Jesus gave us a model for prayer when he taught the disciples the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.  I try to pray the model.  I try to pray by recognizing who God is and all the power he has and that he is my creator.  I try to pray by remembering that God is listening to me and just by the very act of prayer, I am honoring him.  I try to remember to confess my sins.  I know having unconfessed sin in my life can block my access to the almighty, but I don't always remember to do this.  In fact, I almost never remember to do this.  As far as asking for my daily bread, well... I usually ask for a whole lot more.  I know asking for and receiving my daily bread, should be enough for me.  I shouldn't be greedy and ask for more than I need each day, but I do.  I'm worried about my future, sometimes.  I'm worried about my son's future, almost all the time.  So I pray for more than my daily bread.  I pray for security.  I think this is probably not what I should be praying for.  I want security on this Earth.  I know this is not what we are supposed to desire, but my flesh wants a house and food and clothing (btw, I'd like wifi, health care, and an occasional vacay, too).  And I want it for the rest of my life.  I pray to be a good person.  I don't want to sin against God, but I do.  And, when I pray not to sin, I'm already thinking, "you know, I'm gonna sin.  I just know it."  I pray for God to heal people.  And then I sometimes couch it with, "guide the surgeon's hands." 

    This is the struggle.  I want to pray the way Jesus wants me to pray, but I want to pray for the things I want, too.  I want people I love to get better, not suffer, and all that good stuff.  I want people I don't like to, well...  I want them not to suffer either, but I'm not as emphatic.

    As I consider my prayer efforts and whether or not I'm "doing it" right or not, I consider this; I'm praying.  I believe God is hearing my prayer.  I may not always believe he is answering my prayer, but I believe he hears it.  I believe he forgives me of my sins when I remember to confess them.  I believe he wants me to confess all my sins, but he knows how forgetful (and full of rationalizations) I am.  As I consider what prayer is, I consider this; prayer is my opportunity to honor God.  When I do it, I'm acting in faith.  When I don't, I'm acting on my own.

    I've got to tell you, it's tough being a Calvinist.  There are so many "right ways" and "wrong ways."  One Sunday I listened to a sermon that essentially said, if you don't end a prayer "In Jesus name, Amen," God will not hear your prayer.  There must be something in the bible about praying in Jesus' name.  Should I kneel?  Should I raise my hands or fold them?  Should my eyes be closed or can I keep them open?  Between the actions of my body and the desires of my heart and the thoughts in my head, I find myself wondering how to pray. 

    I know prayer isn't like making an incantation or a recipe for success.  I know if I don't do it right, God's will will still be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.  Maybe the adage, practice makes perfect, fits with prayer.  Maybe the more often I pray, the better I'll get at it.

    Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursday.  Our cue was Believe.

    130.  Accepting God's forgiveness and allowing myself to be forgiven
    131.  Getting a good night of sleep
    132.  Believing God is watching over my son, now that he lives on his own
    133.  Feeling the Holy Spirit drawing me back to attendance in a church on Sunday mornings
    134.  My health (I really need to stop taking this for granted and get a little exercise) 

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    Should you click Forward or Reply?

    In this world of email and social networking a click of a mouse can make all the difference.

    A funny thing happened to me at the office last week.  It's been busy at my office this past week or so.  Maybe you noticed because I've been kind of MIA, but actual work trumps blogging in my book.  Anyway, I've been busy.  Sometimes when I'm busy I make a mistake or two.  I know this is not an easy thing for you to believe, but it's true.  Let me tell you about one of my tiny, infinitesimally small boo-boos.

    Last Thursday I was getting ready for three, count 'em, THREE huge meetings on campus.  These meetings were jam packed with faculty, staff, trustees and students.  Lots of people and some very important people.  So, Thursday, toward the end of the day, I was culling through my boss's inbox and cleaning out the crap.  Suddenly it occurred to me that I had seen a report on my desk from my old friend Sleeping Beauty.  He had asked me to get my boss's signature on the cover page.  I had glanced at it and noticed that the form he used to write said letter was nothing like the form we use here.  I wrote him a quick email requesting him to peruse the style guide we use and gave him the link to its webpage.  One tiny thing that I don't usually do, but is really no big deal, was that I sent this email from my boss's inbox.  Thus the email was sent from HappyGirl on behalf of HappyGirl's boss, Mr. Non-confrontational.  I wasn't trying to be deceptive.  I just didn't notice whose email box I was using.  (we just switched to gmail from outlook.  not an easy transition.)

    Evidently this email elicited a tremendous rant from Sleeping Beauty.  He wrote a long, LONG email whining about how hard it is to fit in down here.  He asks people for help and nobody ever helps him.  He asks his boss, Mr. Non-confrontational, for help and he can't even get help from him.  Our boss is so unhelpful.  He doesn't care about him or the work he does at all.  The only person that ever helped him is the guy that just quit and now he doesn't have ANYBODY to help him.  (wait a second.  isn't this guy replying to an email offering him some assistance?)  He's not done whining just yet.  He continues on with the rant, saying that his boss is pressuring him to write a report.  Even though he is being pressured to write this report, he continues to say that he doesn't think Mr. Non-confrontational really wants the report.  He is only asking for it because Sleeping Beauty says its important.  (i'm confused, too, btw)  He goes on to complain that our boss doesn't really want anything in writing, but because Sleeping Beauty knows everything about everything (so why does he need so much help?) he has convinced him it is important to have official documentation of everything.  The bottom line is that he believes our boss doesn't want to keep official records.  He believes our boss wants to hide any shortfalls that would show up in an official report.  His rational for all of this is that he was #18 in a major federal department on Capitol Hill and worked for the federal government for 25 years.  (and we all know how difficult it is to keep a federal job once you get one, don't we.  btw, this was sarcasm.  just sayin')  Oh yeah, then he thanked me for all my help.  :)

    I didn't actually get to see this long rant/reply to my email on Thursday afternoon, even though that is when it was sent.  Hmmm?

    I did get to see the reply to this email from my boss on Friday morning. He copied me.  Yes, it appears that Sleeping Beauty does not understand how email works.  Even though the email was from me, I had sent it through my boss's account.  Thus, when Sleeping Beauty REPLIED to the email it went to... wait for it... my boss.

    So, on Friday morning I read this email from my boss.

    "Sleeping Beauty, did you intend for this email to go to HappyGirl or to me?  Regardless, we should talk..."

    And so they did.  Fingers crossed, Sleeping Beauty may not be my antagonist much longer.  :)

    123.  Whew, finally a day without so much to do
    124.  I'm off crutches and beginning to feel better
    125.  Nobody is perfect (I am super grateful that this is true)
    126.  A weekend full of delicious food (and now to pay the piper)
    127.  Thinking about what play to see in NYC
    128.  Having lunch with an old friend.  I would love to re-invigorate this friendship
    129.  Being back on the blog  :)