Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What's That Smell?

Funky smell in the car this morning.

No, I didn’t.

As I’m cruising down the interstate I see a light vapor coming from the AC vents.

My first thought is the radiator because that’s probably the highest priced repair (which may or may not be true but that shows how much I know about vehicles) and luck being what it is I’ll end up with a $1000 repair bill which I can ill afford since it’s the end of the summer and without a steady stream of gigs my cash flow is close to depleted and the end of the month is coming so what bills will I have to flex so I can pay this HUGE car repair bill and it ain’t like I don’t have a ton of other stuff to worry about and how will I get around if the car is in the shop for a couple of months and you know I’ve been thinking of….

But, I’m noticing that my engine temperature gauge is not moving which means the engine is not overheating which means it may not be the radiator.

I stop at my car repair shop near my house and Scott, one of the wizards of car repair, tells me it’s probably the AC/heat and I need a little part that costs $46. I realize this might turn into $460, but right now $46 doesn’t sound as bad as what I’d been worrying about. Heck, I’ve got $46 in coins in a beer mug on the bookshelf in my bedroom.

I scoot back home and put my bike on the rack on the car, drive back to Scott’s, drop the car off and ride the bike back home.

So far, so good.

Letting worries run away with us doesn’t help. And yes, sometimes our worst fears and worries are realized, but the worrying blinds us to the beauty we’d miss. Riding my bike back home with the sun breaking through the trees and the dew on the grass and wonderful summer smell of morning was wonderful.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Let's Be Salty

As usual, I get messages when I need them and it always seems that on the infrequent Sundays I go to Zebulon Baptist Church to hear Reverend Jack Glasgow…I need to be there.

Yesterday’s sermon was about being “salty.” The opening question was, “How do people react when you tell them you forgot to put salt in a dish?” Forget about the potential health issues (which, by the way, are now in question if you read last week’s news), usually the reaction is that the food will be bland.

Jack’s message was that our saltiness is our uniqueness; those actions, attitudes, behaviors and beliefs that make us who we are.

He added that, yes, sometimes our saltiness reveals our less-than-best sides. But, the balance is that by being our unique selves we are presenting life with a gift, a chance to experience our good sides and offer them to others.

I’ll tell you what…let’s be salty…you be you, and I’ll be me…and let’s hope we both have patience and appreciation in good measures.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pick Up the Remote

"Your Life Has No Remote, So Get Up and Change It"

Message on a sign outside a little church near Simpson, NC

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This Won't Shower Me With Glory

This blog won’t shower me with glory. It’s one of those messages that has the potential to make folks feel uncomfortable…heck, I’m writing it and it’s making me uncomfortable.

This won’t go in the direction you assume early on…and, it’s terribly judgmental…but, here goes…

The loss of Robin Williams is a blow to fun, laughter and joy around the world. Even folks who don’t speak English loved him. Simply watching him with the sound turned down could make you smile. So, yes, his death is a loss.

However, there are folks bemoaning his loss who wouldn’t walk across the street to check on members of their own family. If one of their neighbors was sick they wouldn’t take a moment to check on the person or stop by with a dish of something (a Southern tradition).

Why? Because it’s easier to feign concern and emotion about someone at a distance, a “celebrity,” than it is to connect with someone close to you; someone in whom you really need to invest some time and emotion, someone who really matters.

Again, why? Because Kim Damn Kardashian won’t come to your house and want you to listen to her complain for an hour about her feet/kids/money/car/boss/preacher. She won’t ask you to invest time and emotion in a real relationship, something that matters.

Let’s be honest. I’m sure there are a fair number of people who saw Robin Williams perform live but for most of us he was a digital image on a screen. He wasn’t someone you could reach out and touch; someone in whose life you could matter.

Robin Williams had the extraordinary ability to connect with people, even through the screen. So, if you really want to honor him…really…think of someone you know, maybe someone you love but haven’t had some contact with them in awhile…and call them…don’t email or text them, those technologies allow you to remain at a distance…call them, or better yet, go see them. Get together for lunch. Ask them, “How ya doin’?”

And really listen.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Find a Way

Like many folks I have a number of devices that allow me to communicate with the outside world; an iPhone, iPad and laptop.

Within the last week the outgoing email feature for Outlook in my laptop, and the outgoing email on my iPad, have gone down so I can receive emails on all devices but can only send from my phone, or use a little-used gmail account. My schedule is such that, over the next week or so, I can’t focus on getting the two devices repaired or even looked at.

So, I’m sending lots of stuff from my iPhone and gmail account.

We all encounter obstacles. The key is to not let the speed-bumps we run into totally stop us; they may slow us down, but the object of the game is to Find a Way, to keep moving.

If you can keep moving, step by step, in the direction of your goals…sooner or later you can see a hazy outline of them in the distance.

And then, as you keep moving, the goals become a little clearer.

And sooner or later, the goals are right in front of you…and you’re there.

Find a Way.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Talk to Yourself

It’s a fact that your mind can’t tell the difference between an imagined experience and a real, past experience. Our minds tell our bodies to react in much the same way in either case.

That’s why, when we imagine an encounter that might be stressful, our minds tell our bodies to get ready for the real thing.

Now, stop for a minute and think about the effect the mind/body connection has on you. It means it’s incredibly easy to get cranked up about SOMETHING THAT HASN’T HAPPENED AND PROBABLY NEVER WILL!!

You can imagine yourself into a lather over…nothing.

I've mentioned this before: Here’s how I’m trying to short-circuit the connection. When my mind starts taking off on a negative digression I literally think the word, “Delete.” I’ll start saying “Delete, Delete, Delete” in my mind…and sometimes out loud.

I only say it out loud if I’m by myself, in the car, for instance…note to the wise….if you do it out loud in a crowd and folks see/hear you they call security…I’m just saying.

The Delete strategy interrupts the negative thought and moves your mind away from the negative track. You could say “Pink Elephant” and it would have the same effect. In fact, I kind of like the Pink Elephant idea because it injects a touch of humor.

Unfortunately, research shows that over half our thoughts are of a negative nature. So, it seems that any strategy that gets our minds on a positive track is a good thing.

Try it this weekend. If you find yourself heading down a negative road use the simple technique to stop and turn yourself around. Moving down a positive road has got to be better for your mind, your body and your life.

Have a great weekend! See you Monday.