Thursday, September 21, 2017

Are You Looking Through Mistake-Colored Glasses

 The devotion I read yesterday hit on an interesting issue...one I am, sadly, too guilty of.

In the September issue of Science of Mind Magazine, Rev. Terry Drew Karanen wrote, "Sometimes people accuse others of looking at life through rose-colored glasses. However it seems that when we are besieged by the energy and thoughts of our past missteps and mistakes, we see life through mistake-colored glasses. Out ability to live openhearted and wholehearted lives is deeply impacted by this shut-down energy that is focused on our negative past.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Uh Oh, Watch the Crossbar

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in my garage watching the world go by and, once again, life offered up a lesson worth learning.

There’s a greenway that runs through our neighborhood. One of the entrance/exits connects to the sidewalk across the street from The Tree House (what my friends call my home…the house is surrounded by trees). In good weather lots of folks take advantage of the greenway to get a little exercise.

It’s about 2:30 and a young guy—he looked to be about 30—came cruising down the sidewalk and attempted to make the right-angle turn onto the greenway. Evidently, weather and a lot of folks trying the same maneuver had worn away the dirt at the edge of the right-angle turn and there was a hole…which his front wheel nosed into.

Let me stop at this point and explain that, if you are a male, you probably cringed when I wrote that last line; because you know what’s coming. 

The young guy pitched forward and straddled the crossbar. He threw his head back, cursed the biking gods, and reached down to make sure everything was still in place.

Then..and this is where the lesson appeared…he turned and flipped The Bird at the hole.

Perfect.

Then he quickly looked around to see if anyone had seen him (I was hidden in a garage with a mosquito screen across the front across the street).

Now, I’m sure the more mature among you are mentally chastising Mr. Hurt Pride for his reaction. But, there are certainly times in life when it seems that unseen forces jump out and bite us. I don't see a thing wrong with lashing out at those forces as long as you keep it private and don’t get too crazy. 

It’s said that former president, Lyndon B. Johnson would exclaim, “Godfrey Daniels!” when he was upset. Very often, I use, “Sunny Beaches!!” Again, having a standard response such as those is not a bad thing.

What do you use to get back on track?


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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Sit Means Sit

The truck beside me in the intersection had a big sign on the side…Sit Means Sit. 

It was a dog-training company.

Immediately, I thought about some of the folks we all have to manage at work and in our personal lives. When some people are given instructions, they want to know the What? Why? Who? Where? When? How? and How Much?

Think all 9 year-olds and lots of adults.

Often, we simply want to be able to say, “Sit means sit.” Just do it. Asking questions about every little instruction slows things down.

Unfortunately—or, fortunately, depending on the situation—we are better served by understanding enough about the other person to know that if they want more details we better give them something.  

Now…we live in such a vortex of political correctness that some readers immediately had the thought, “I can’t believe you’d think of using a dog-training technique for managing people!”


Chill out, the most creative people I know find great ideas everywhere. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Bump! Bump! Bye!

A couple of days ago a friend called to tell me about a good event in her life. She was about two minutes into the tale when I heard a couple of bumping sounds. She calmly said, “I’ve just been in a wreck. I have to go now.” 

My friend is fine, the folks in the other vehicles are fine and she only has some easily-repaired damage to her front bumper. However, the whole thing could have been much worse….and, avoided. 

Even though she was using a hands-free phone she was driving in traffic and distracted. 

Reading some of the information coming out of Houston I’m not amazed at reports of people texting in evacuation traffic, pulling over to shoot selfies with flooded buildings in the background, and other ridiculous actions.

I don’t have to tell you that this is Labor Day Weekend. The National Safety Council estimates that 438 Americans will die on the roads during the next 4 days. 

I’m sure you’re a good driver and smart person…but, everyone else out there isn’t. 

Stay alert, stay off the phone and stay alive.


Have a great Labor Day Weekend!!

Monday, August 28, 2017

We Have Got to Settle Down!

For the last half-hour I’ve tried to think of a way to broach a subject that, by even mentioning it, will probably prompt some of you to immediately click off to another site.

You simply won’t be able to handle the stress. You’ll immediately think, “I’ve heard all I need to hear about this in the last few weeks!” 

I certainly understand.

I’ve come at the topic a variety of ways; thinking that if I could ease into it some of you might give this a chance. I realize not everyone thinks the way I do—Thank Goodness!—but, in the United States, today, we’ve got to get to a point that we are willing to hear the other person out.

So, let’s address the issue head-on.

College football begins in earnest on Saturday…there, I’ve said it

My best friend—among others—teases me about watching decades-old games on ESPN Classic throughout the off-season. Hot outside? Hurricane coming? I’m inside watching Texas vs Arkansas from 1984 with Earl Campbell playing for Texas, and Darrell Royal coaching the Longhorns and Frank Broyles on the sideline for Arkansas. Hearing Keith Jackson and Ara Parseghian’s voices calling the game tells me that the world is as it should be.

And, I don’t have to be sitting on the couch staring at the TV. I can simply have the game on kinda low as background noise and the screen acts as artwork that I stop and gaze at every now and then as I pass through the room.

Now, here’s my point: What calms you down and tells you that you can make it; that you can get through the day, do what you have to do, and have the life you want? It might be meditation or prayer, seeing your kids off to school, listening to a certain type of music or your special song, appreciating art…you need to know what does it for you. 

You need to have something that doesn’t cost an arm-and-a-leg in money or time takes you to that special place/feeling you need to keep going when times are tough. Seriously.

College football does that for me.

This summer has been extraordinarily stressful in a variety of areas. Two things have kept me from standing on top of my house baying at the moon: ESPN Classic and the knowledge that, even if it’s a downpour this weekend, I’ll be able to walk into Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill to see the Heels.

What positive influence does that for you?


The fact that this weekend starts the college football season means that, at least until January 8, 2018 (the BCS National Championship Game), I’ll calm down, know that life is good even with the challenges, and remain convinced that Clemson fans really are just NC State fans who’ve had lobotomies.

Go Heels!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Walking Zoey, Food Lion Bag In Hand


A friend of mine has a Miniature Schnauzer and sometimes, as a sign of friendship/goodwill/patience, I walk Zoey.

Now, what I’m about to say may not sit well with some of you, but here it is, I’m not much of a “little dog” fan. Their barks—at anything, everything, and nothing—always sound like gargling marbles and that manic, the-house-is-on-fire! running around tends to get old fairly quickly.

I like bigger dogs. 

Although, to be honest, I don’t own a dog nor does a cat own me. 

Folks who know me remember that I used to room with a cat, Magic, a Blue Point Persian, who was about the size of a small lion. Magic would lie atop the tall bookcase next to the front door and swipe at people’s heads when they walked in; which was lots of fun to watch.

I can tell you that walking around the neighborhood with a little dog on a leash and a plastic, Food Lion bag in my hand is not my idea of a wonderful stroll. However, doing a good deed, getting a little exercise and being entertained by Zoey’s sniffing adventure is not a bad way to spend a half-hour or so.

My point is that we often have to do things that, on the surface, aren’t things we’d be choosing to do at that moment if we had a choice—which, most of the time, we do have if we think about it.

But, we make choices and the choices often place us in experiences we have a…how to put it?…low level of enthusiasm for.

When facing these experiences we have more choices: Grin and bear it, complain, grin and complain, suffer in Stoic silence…or do something about it. 

The doers, the make-it-happen folks, the positive thinkers always encourage us to do something about it. Which makes sense, if it’s an issue worth doing something about.

Sometimes, though, the best action is to just suck it up, move through the situation and keep…mmm…moving. 

If it’s a really tough situation, Winston Churchill had the best advice, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Walking Zoey certainly isn’t that bad and, at 12 years-old, she is experiencing some chronic health issues from which she may or may not recover. 

And, while I’m not that big on little dogs, I am a fan of Zoey. 

And our walks.


I’m just not that high on the Food Lion Bag.


Share this with a pet-lover, maybe they'll smile.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How to Keep From Going Blind During the Eclipse


Even the North Carolina Department of Transportation has lost their minds over the eclipse. On major highways the big NCDOT signs now say, "Eclipse August 21, Expect Heavy Traffic, Plan Ahead"

A friend was looking online for eclipse glasses and found 3 pair for $299...now, I'm as interested in the eclipse as anyone, but for $299 I can drive to Charleston, sleep in my car, visit the bar at the Francis Marion Hotel and watch the eclipse on television and it'll cost me a lot less than $299.

So, if you really want to safely experience an event that used to make primitive tribes throw virgins in volcanoes with hopes their gods would bring the sun back, here's what you do....

go get a box from the likker store...you'll need one that is rectangular and usually holds 6 fifths...Jose Quervo or almost any cheap vodka box is the perfect size...

tear the flaps off the top

flip it over and poke a hole about the size of a big pencil 2/3 of the way up one end...if you want more complete instructions, poke the hole 1/3 of the way down the box from the end that is now the top and is glued together...how's that?

now, on eclipse day you stand with your back to the sun, put the box over your head and position it so you can see a round spot of light on the end you are facing.

As the eclipse progresses you'll see the shadow of the eclipse begin to cover the light spot...it'll be just like watching the eclipse without actually looking at the sun...and you won't hurt your eyes!!

However, you should print this blog out so that when your neighbors call the cops, "My neighbor is standing in the middle of the street with a box on his head!!! I think the Trump stuff finally got to him!!!"...you'll be able to explain that you simply didn't want to spend $299 for glasses that would make you go blind.

Have fun!