All You Do Is Talk

A conversation, like dancing, has some rules, although I’ve never seen them stated anywhere. The objective of conversation is to entertain or inform the other person while not using up all of the talking time. A big part of how you entertain another person is by listening and giving your attention. Ideally, your own enjoyment from conversation comes from the other person doing his or her job of being interesting. If you are entertaining yourself at the other person’s expense, you’re doing it wrong. ~ Scott Adams (Dilbert creator)

I’m kind of fond of the band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Have been for a long time! They’ve got a little number out called All You Do Is Talk. It’s pretty good! Back in high school days I was a HUGE fan of TALK TALK. Scary if you look at some of the pics of me from back then. Ha! TALK TALK has a great track called…you guessed it…Talk Talk. I could watch that video ALL DAY LONG! Yeah, I’m a dork kinda! There are a few people in my life who can talk, talk, talk. You get to a point where you want to scream “ZIP IT!” And if that doesn’t work, you just stare at the movement of their earrings and entertain yourself whilst tuning them clear out. Interestingly enough, I have at times gotten so wrapped up in some silly head-trip of wondering if I’m monopolizing all the conversation that I’ve literally made myself a stressed out mess. The funny thing is, I’m not that guy, I’ve just at times gotten myself weirded out into believing I was. Scott’s comment reminded me that (i) there are rules to conversations, (ii) those rules make perfect sense and (iii) I shouldn’t get myself all worried because I’m not that guy/girl we all know that can’t shut the hell up and in the end entertains just themselves. Funny, knowing there are rules and that I’m living by them (for the most part) actually is a stress reliever. That and pulling out all my old TALK TALK cassettes and giving them a good whirl!

Here’s to identifying our point of stress and then eliminating it. Cheers y’all!

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Categories: Health, Stress, Thought for Day | Leave a comment

Climbing Stairs

…we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. ~ Dorothy Day

I read an article recently that actually said that the most effective exercise of all is climbing stairs. Since my office is on the fifth floor and I walk the stairs to get to my office, it made me feel a little bit better about all the huffing-and-puffing I do. Like maybe, I’m actually doing something beneficial. On the climb up those stairs, someone took the time to paint, “climbing stairs is a workout that doesn’t require going to the gym.” Some days I look at that sign and want to paint curses over it. First stair. Second stair. Third stair. Fourth stair. Ever climbing. Sure you can do a two-stair hop, but it’s the grind of doing one stair at a time that pays the highest dividend. Starting new projects is often overwhelming to me. I see the enormity of the task at hand and feel completely overwhelmed. I freak out. If I’m smart, I keep my freak out to myself. Most of the time, I’m not that smart. I have mini-meltdowns that really aren’t that cute. Over the past few years, as I’ve faced progressively greater challenges, I’ve learned the importance of breaking the project or challenge into smaller, more manageable steps with each one bringing me closer to the end goal. After 20+ years, last night I started a new (and slightly daunting) project…going back to school. As I looked at ALL that would be required of me, fears started to take over. Can I do this? Is my brain capable of stretching and expanding? Do I really have time? Can I successfully balance work, life, family AND school? It has taken a reminder that there is no magic genie to blink me to the top of the stairs, rather to reach my goal, I’m going to have to put one foot in front of the other and climb.

Here’s to reaching our goals…one stair at a time! Cheers y’all!

Categories: Breathe, Change, Thought for Day | Leave a comment

By Ourselves

We’re all in this together–by ourselves. ~ Lily Tomlin

The pictures out of the Midwest have invaded my TV like an awful nightmare. They tell stories of suffering and horror, of loss and immense pain. They also tell the stories of heroic men and women who are working like hell to find those still missing. I know what it is like to go through a tornado of enormous magnitude. In 1979, as a young boy, an F4 tornado struck the town I was living in, part of what was known as “Terrible Tuesday.” I vividly remember driving from our home which had no storm cellar, to our friend’s home which did and looking out the back window of the car and seeing that gigantic tornado. Arriving at our friend’s home, we literally flew into an already crowded storm cellar. Despite the relative safety the storm cellar provided, the fury of that moment filled a little boy’s heart with fear. I remember my ears popping and ringing and the horrific sounds of destruction just above. Those sounds stay with you. The aftermath of that storm was terrible…42 people died that day in my little town. As I’ve watched the devastation that has played out in the Midwest these past two days, I am reminded of that little boy, surrounded by family and friends and yet, alone. While it is great to have comfort and support in times of deep trouble, but in reality, we process our feelings alone. As the people of the Shawnee and Moore begin the rebuilding, my prayer is that they find the comfort and strength that they need and that we, as their fellow human beings, can offer the support that will be needed to walk through this valley.

Prayers for comfort, healing and strength!

Categories: Fear, In The News, Thought for Day | Leave a comment

Boners and Boobs

We come fresh to the different stages of life, and in each of them we are quite inexperienced, no matter how old we are. ~ François de la Rochefoucauld

I’ve decided that navigating through the confusion that is one-phase-or-another in life is perhaps our biggest challenge. My kid is 14 and, like most 14-year-old boys, is going through the “boners and boobs” phase. How do I know this? Let me state the obvious, he’s a 14-year-old boy. That means as his parents we get to give great advise like, “don’t run up to girls and ask to see their boobs…that’s not the way it works.” I feel pretty sure my kid will grow out of this phase into a mature man. At least he will if we have anything to say about it. When we hit a new phase in our lives, the trick is to acknowledge that we really don’t know how to handle what we’re about to face (or are facing) and then quickly figure out what we need to do to master said phase and move on. It’s easy to say that this is a kid problem, I mean, they don’t have the reservoir of knowledge from which to draw to know that there are different phases of life to master. But I think maybe, those of us who have lived a little bit need to be reminded that we start off at square one in each new phase of life and it’s up to us to master and move on. Staying perpetually stuck in the “boners and boobs” phase might be good if you’re trying to sell certain genres of music, but it won’t be very helpful when it comes to being a success at life. As I’m starting school again after 20+ years, it’s helpful to be reminded that I’m coming in to this inexperienced and it’s gonna take a little while to figure everything out. But I’ll get it done! Watch me!

Here’s to remembering that we have to walk before we run! Cheers y’all!

Categories: Children, Growth, Life, Thought for Day | Leave a comment

Write It Down

I guess this is kind of a ratty question, but what have you written lately? ~ Audrey Hepburn

It’s been a little bit over a year since I last wrote anything down. I would apologize but given everything that has transpired this past year, I frankly just didn’t have the time. A quick recap: last summer, my family and I relocated to Portland OR from the Los Angeles CA area for my work. Getting settled in to a new home, new job, new church, new schools (yes, that’s a plural as we’re all in school) and a new pattern of living has taken an inordinate amount of time and energy. But I can’t complain because life, life is good! Paris is rapidly approaching the end of his 9th grade year at the local high school; a year that saw him making new and lifetime friends, reconnecting with family, playing on a winning football team and growing like a weed. There’s been a new house to acclimate to along with figuring out what it takes to keep the yard looking like the best one on the block, not to mention our ever expanding menagerie which just this past week saw the addition of four baby chicks. My new job has taken on new and exciting dynamics that are unexpected and so rewarding. And then there is school. School was a concept that was always in the back of my mind but never seemed to germinate…until now. And so, here I am, feeling like a kid again. This mixture of fear and excitement is a new feeling for me. And it’s a feeling I kind of like. As I’m reading through the first chapter of the textbook for my first class, I realize I’ve got a lot to learn. Part of learning is sharing and so, I’m going to start that process by sharing my learning with you. I promise it’ll be fun! Just like old times! You ready?

Here’s to learning and growing and everything that means! Cheers y’all!

Categories: Change, Family, Growth, Thought for Day | Leave a comment

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