Category Archives: Character

improving the core person

Roadtrips

My life has changed.

While our children were little my husband rarely to never took vacations, and we couldn’t afford to travel anywhere, anyway. I centered my life around the home and gardening… then put lots of time into blogging. All those occupations were in sync with my intensive demands of homelife (raising ten children while homeschooling), allowing for creative expression while not requiring lots of money or absence from overseeing the needs of my family.

Now I find I am always on a trip somewhere.

It changed slowly with rare trips to places I never dreamed of seeing… I went to Hungary and Denmark, then to Brazil to attend my son and daughter in love’s wedding. With the advent of grandchildren, there have been increased trips to Georgia, mainly, but Florida and Phoenix were on the list as well.

In the past year we did something -twice- that had been on my husbands wishlist since I met him: a road trip across the nation, visiting the West. He still has the Badlands on his bucket list, but we checked off the others: Highway 1 and Mendocino, Bryce Canyon in Utah, America’s Loneliest Highway Rte 50 through Nevada.

I know some people blog while they travel, but I am an “in the moment experience” type of person. I don’t even like the distraction of taking photographs. I have moderated that and forced myself to take photos for the sake of memories and just because I want to capture some of the beauty that I see, but mostly I drink in the scenery, and let the atmosphere saturate my mind and heart.

The past few years have seen a great increase in travel for me… which may not be comparable to many others, but it is a huge change for me.

I find I like it.

I come back to loads of laundry to do, a marathon of weeding and neglected gardens, but it has been worth the exchange. Time spent by the ocean, seeing vast redwood forests, immense mountains of the Rocky ranges… these are mind opening, soul nourishing events.

So I don’t apologize that this season of my life leaves less room for the type of blogging I once did. My online life evolves and there is no pattern for the shape it will take. But, like all the rest of my life, I have shifted away from letting demands rule my life, and have created space for the simple act of living. Letting the flow of what creates an organic and vibrant participation of relationship and experience to take the forefront, to become my priority.

People figure more predominately in this way of life, and tasks become secondary. I don’t pretend to imply that it leads to being a successful blogger or to create worldly wealth. I do, however, feel richer, and may I say it? Happier. Or maybe happy is not the right word choice, I think the term “joie de vivre” is a more accurate term. The joy of life infuses this pathway.

My garden takes on a wild look, my blogs are temporarily neglected, but I have more to offer when following this roadtrip of life.

A few pictures seem in order here.

Colorado mountain stream by the highway

Dwarfed by the landscape.

lake tahoe

We fell in love with Lake Tahoe

photos

Mountainside Photo Op

turtles

Telling People They Are Awesome

My disclaimer on this post is that I’m going to use illustrations that come from my experience in the church, but don’t think that people act like typical people just because they belong to a certain socio-economic or religious group. If you do that, you are going to miss the whole point.

You’re Totally Awesome, Dude

Pixie Dust and The Wizard Behind The Curtain

Before I get to that story, let me tell you about an old blogpost I re-read from Kathy Sierra. Called “Pixie Dust & The Mountain of Mediocrity. The gist is that people use marketing techniques to game the system and it’s that “pixie dust” that is promoted to be the magic answer to the branding and promotion of ones product.

It is not unlike the last topic, taking to task the online and marketing Gurus who provide methods, for a fee, to making you and/or your customers (clients..fans….whoever you want to win over) an overnight success. Even if they are well-meaning, plenty of so-called experts aren’t really helping you to be what truly makes you awesome: being the best you can be, living to your potential, inspired to rise to greater heights of what you hope to be or accomplish.

Buzzwords, Buzzword techniques, and the fast path to wealth and awesomeness is something people will pay for, and that means a lot of gamers are going to enter the field to make sure they can take advantage of it. That also means there is going to be an aftermath of broken dreams, and the disillusioned.

Sierra succinctly sums it up:

There is a world of dif­fe­rence bet­ween hel­ping someone *appear* more awe­some and hel­ping them actually BE more awesome.

And that in some ways reminded me of a small, but rather sorry, experience I had a long time ago that left me with a distinct sense discomfort that helped shape how I like to deal with people to this day.

A Moment of Clarity

I had gone to one of those big Christian conferences that are comprised of all sorts of people from different denominations, cultures, and backgrounds. It was one that had really pumped up my own sickly and struggling grip on walking out my faith. It wasn’t called a Revival, but it was effectively working as one for me.

Maybe because of that, I was a bit more open, hopeful, and vulnerable to what people said to me. Anyway, after one of the services (there are several at this sort of convocation), a well meaning man spoke to me. He said something very positive, something like “I see you are -positive ‘blah,blah,blah’, and you will -positive ‘blah,blah,blah’”. I felt very encouraged, I felt that he had been moved by some inner insight to share that with me.

As the conference moved on I happened to pass by that man speaking to someone else, using the very same words, the very same expression, the very same way. They weren’t special insights meant for me. This well meaning man was gaming the system.

I suppose he felt this was his ministry of encouragement or something, but for me, it was a searing disappointment, because it didn’t feel real. It didn’t feel sincerely anything. I felt my sense of trust was breached and trampled. I didn’t ask for his words, and wasn’t even hoping or looking for them. He offered me something artificial, when I truly needed the genuine. He sprinkled around some pixie dust, because it had good effects on people. For him.

And to this day, as convinced as I am of the importance of affirmation and encouragement, if I cannot garner together the individualized and sincere words that are infused with my own sense of care and compassion, or affection or desire to connect… I don’t want to give a substitute. I don’t believe in “placeholder” love, that consists of words or token actions merely meant to make someone feel good for the moment.

That is a terribly selfish thing to do. It is pixie dust spread around to make the giver feel better about themselves. If you tell someone they are awesome with that motivation, spare them.

They are better off without your false words and insincere methods. The world is better off without them.

How To Tell Someone They Are Awesome

First -to outline the negative shape before drawing in the detail- do not tell someone how much they matter or how great they are when showing them is better. Words will often cloud the message, even if you intend to mean them. That too often turns into “meaning well”, and you know what the old saying is about good intentions.

If words are all you have, tell people something that you can follow through on… a generally inclusive way of telling them they matter and are awesome “I look for the beauty and glory in you”… because I look for that in all. And then make that your purpose, your own rule of life.

Do something for them that helps them be the best version of themselves.

Then when you tell them you think they are awesome, or that they matter to you, they will trust it, and it will build something meaningful into their lives.

Give them tools of value, words of value, and actions of value. Take something of yourself, and invest it in those tools, words, and actions. Infuse something of your love and care into what you give to others. That will make them feel awesome. Then you can tell them they are awesome and might even have an opportunity to share something that will make them even more awesome.

The outcome of that is what they do with that thing themselves, what they get to experience from it.

This has its way of spilling over and making us feel pretty awesome as well, but that is not the goal or the point of what we tell others, or what we share with them.

What Am I Really Saying?

What really works is love. Love is never cheap, and has no substitution. Everyone needs and wants it, and when you give words or anything to another person with real love attached, you give the world what it really needs.

Pixie dust looks pretty tawdry in the real light of day, and quite unnecessary.
Spirit of the Night

Spirit of the Night
Grimshaw, John…
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in gear

I Made Plans Today

January is my number one planning month. I like to plan, but in the past I had more plan than execution which always translates into disappointment and frustration. In more recent years, I moved into an action-oriented way of doing things which then resulted in the type of LaLaland distraction which I have always been prone to. Come to think of it, I wonder if my love of planning had some of its origins in how well it worked to help me cope with the outside world and its demands.

Whatever… that is an example of the rabbit trail kind of thinking that dogs my life :)

Back to telling you what I did today that relates to you- my dear readers, or happenstance visitors…

I made plans today that incorporated two activities and goals that are at the top of what I would love to accomplish this year:
Get Ready!

[button] Better Health[/button]

[button]Better Blogging[/button]

Which I am hoping will help to accomplish

[button]Better Success[/button]

You might be disappointed in how cliched, how prosaic, those goals are, aren’t these the goals of 99.9% of the people out there? Maybe not the blogging, but some part of their life like that. Health and fitness always rate right up there for most people. But for me, I linked the two, and outlined them on paper.

There is a part of my brain that is convinced that uniting goals and making connections between dissimilar parts of our lives leads to a better balanced and successful overall life.

‘Blogging’ and ‘Health’ goals have been at opposite poles for me in the past few years. when I spent lots of time blogging, or making websites (the involvement with sitting long periods at the computer), the worse the effect on my physical well being. I became sedentary, I snacked on food I usually don’t even like (always unhealthy processed, fat-laden, sugar-infused foods), sat in awkward positions, just to name a few of the worse side effects of loving to blog.

When I exercised, gardened, took walks and hikes, cooked from scratch… interacted with people, you know, real life activities, I not only did not write or work on computer related website-making or graphics, or any of the many tasks linked with blogging… I lost my place. That’s right, I had no idea of what I wanted to do with the sites or blogs, and had problems with the software. Updating, using plugins for function, fixing things that go awry, became a giant learning curve again.

That also is very much my natural personality default. Long periods of focus sharpen my thinking, as well as create the logic and connections that my mind works well with.  If other activities take me far away from the thought and concentration and I sort of forget everything.

So, I have decided to harness the power of blogging to sort through and create accountability in some of my desired improvements, including taking ownership of health. It isn’t enough to know the requisite knowledge of what to eat or how to exercise, etc. I need to incorporate the actions, and in a way that I don’t lose sight of other important goals in my life, like communicating with people.

So, I made my map for a couple goals, and this long dormant blog is going to be a part of this experiment.

My experiment in this years resolutions, which I confessed to my family in our conversation time on January 2nd, that I have not even formulated yet. Until I wrote my plan for the health/blog/outline, I didn’t even have much of an idea that I was going to focus on health this year. At least not in a real, organized type of way.

And do you know what inspired it all? God works in mysterious ways, I tell you: a Sam’s Club Advertisement magazine. Yes.
I think it congealed with the Copyblogger articles I was reading which lead to an INC article and BOOM! There I was making my plan.

I remembered I joined the affiliate programs for these businesses, so in the spirit of integrating goals, plans, and actions I’ll post my affiliate banners here. Perhaps at some point I will know how to sync serving my posts linked with business affiliations etc.that will be of real value to the readers. For now, it is just sort of a non sequitor random banner posting… just because reading Sam;s club’s ads sparked a whole new direction of my thinking in a positive way.

47296_Shop at Samsclub.com (120x60)

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