Category Archives: Relationships

Say Please and Thank You, and Rule the World

One of the first things we learn is to say, “please” when requesting something and “thank you” when receiving. 20130408-225059.jpgThese two phrases work wonders in making progress on a task, duty or need. While these manners are taught young in life somewhere along the way they seem to wane and by adulthood for some they are entirely absent. Saying please and thank you shows respect for the other person and puts a value on what they are offering or can do.

Common courtesies and respectfulness to other humans seems to be losing out to everyone’s efforts to just ‘get a task done’ and selfish thinking. Instead of going through the day working our jobs and along the way building relationships, people are isolating themselves with a laptop and a cell phone and are all about just getting the job done. Its a very self-centered existence. This may please employers in a cut-throat environment, but it’s no way to build a life. Maybe the workplace has become so competitive there is little mutual respect because tomorrow the next guy may have your job. Seriously though, is that anyway to live AND build a career?

Back to the original thought, have you ever walked up to a counter to place an order only to be greeted by a server who is obviously harried and busy with customers. As the customer, you are thinking, that server’s job is to serve. But what about your responsibility in the exchange. Your role is to place your order. Given your observation of the server, what can you do to help the order-taking and the order-receiving process be 20130408-224945.jpgpositive for both? Just be kind and considerate — please and thank you. Try it sometime and see what happens.

As long as we are talking about basic manners, let’s venture into the world of technology. It is a wonderful thing and does provide opportunities to communicate and connect with others, but it is absolutely no substitute for person to person interaction — a phone call, visit or even hand-written note. Texting and email have their place, except when sensitive information is being shared. That is just rude. And if there is a problem being worked out, pick up the phone and call the person, don’t just pass emails back and forth. There is a great deal to be lost in the tone (real or perceived) in an email. If settling the problem and making things right with another person means that much, then it’s worth the time and effort to pick up the phone.

Thank you for reading my thoughts on the matter. Please take a minute to comment or even click follow on the right side.

All the best,


It’s Just a Drop in the Bucket

How many times is the question asked, “What does it matter”? It’s just a drop in the bucket; meaningless.  Every day we make drop in bucketthousands of declarations, I do, I don’t, I will, I can’t, yes, no, maybe.  Each of these little words leads to an action or no action, but all of them move us forward.  Put these declarations in a string and the results are decisions that pave the journey of life.  Meaningless – no decision is completely meaningless and all lead to experiences that make and mold who we are.   What impact will my decisions really have, I am one individual?

Recently, I was watching the Discovery Channel with my son.  The show talked about water molecules.  Water drops tend to reach and adhere to each other.  So two drops of water close enough on a plate or counter will join and become a bigger drop.  If you fill a cup to the rim the water molecules are clinging to each other and will sit on the very edge of the cup until some other action forces them over the edge.

This bucket was set under a dripping facet – one drip at a time and a few hours later the bucket was full.  One drip barely made tdrip in buckethe bucket wet, but in a short time there is enough to wash.

Choices and decisions may seem like nothing, but they all lead to something.  Where are you going?

All the best,


Let’s Talk About Pet Peeves

After I outlined this post I put it aside, you know to let it ruminate.  When I came back to the subject I noticed that half of the pet peeves listed were character traits in other people.  One definition of “pet peeve” is a complaining, teasing, or annoying behavior; which begs the question as to whether it’s worth carrying these things as pet peeves if I can’t change these behaviors in other people.checklist

That’s right, there comes a point in our lives when we are old enough and wise enough to realize, we can’t change other people only they can make a personal decision to change.  And what bugs us about other people may not bother them at all.  So really these pet peeves may or may not be seen as right in the eyes of another individual and in such a case, I look judgmental and not like a person who just wants to make a difference in this world.

That leaves me with two pet peeves I will share with you and then open the floor for you to share.  First of all, receipts.  I can go in a store and purchase a pack of gum with cash and end up with a receipt the length of my arm.  Wasn’t all of this electronic scanning and debit cards created to reduce the amount of paper it takes to make a transaction?  Do retailers really care about my opinions on the survey that the bottom of the mile-long receipt invites me to participate?  Because I am one of those who balance my checkbook, I do keep receipts for a period of time, but the bulging envelop turns out to be half the transactions and half a bunch of information I never read, or coupons I never use.  And as long as we are talking about making retail transactions, is it necessary (Sears) to have my phone number to make a purchase?  Would they know if I gave them a fake or old disconnected number?  I may try that next time.

The other peeve I will share is wasting time.  In the course of my day, I’m pretty much in perpetual motion or work type activity from the time I get up until late evening when my son is in bed and I feel like I can take a little time for me.  So, to have some non-important something slow me down or stop me is annoying.  Do I ever stop to watch television or check out Facebook?  Yes, but I don’t spend hours doing either one and most of the time if I’m watching television it is part of my personal downtime or time with my family.  As a parent of a middle school student, there is a lot of time spent taking him to practices or having him at school activities.  This is not a waste of time, but I find myself with odd periods of time waiting for him that I try to make productive by taking work along or a book to read.  Rarely do I ever “kill” time.  What I do watch out for is that I’m teaching my son the balance between living a productive non-wasteful life and living in such a manner so as to not rush or over-plan every moment of the day.  There are extraordinary things that happen to us and around us in the spontaneity of life that need to be experienced; slowing down to listen to a spouse share their day or a child ask a question or tell of an adventure, watch the sunset or notice a child playing; taking a call from a friend in need or who has good news to share.   You know the important things in life that will outlast any daily schedule, remind us of our priorities and are like pushing the reset button on our patterns of thinking.

“People over progress” is a mantra that I took on several years ago when I did find myself so over planned and dedicated to my daily lists to be available for those who mean the most to me.  Most of the time, people are not a waste of time.

Well this post didn’t go exactly the way I expected, but that’s ok, it accomplished the goal.  Are you re-thinking your pet peeves?  What are they?

All the best,


Sugar cookies and memories

Yesterday I made sugar cookies to take to school at lunch time for Cole’s birthday.  Evidently it is still cool for mom to show up with cookies at middle school lunch as long as she doesn’t hang out too long.  The cookies were homemade slice and bake, but I wanted to ice them to look like baseballs.

One thing to understand, I am not an artist and if I can’t just shoot a fun shape out of a cookie press and add sprinkles, I’m stretching my talents.  Standing in the kitchen icing these cookies, I began to think about my son and how he is growing into a young man.  I felt thankfulness for the grace and encouragement God had delivered over and over to us throughout the years.  I thought about the day he was born and the first moment he looked at me as if to say, “so that is what you look like, I only knew your voice for these nine months.”

Then it came time to add the red icing to make the laces on the “balls”.  It wasn’t great.  Some were ok, and then I remembered my recipients, middle schoolers.  The cookie that looked like home plate was good and I eeked out five or six good baseballs, the rest got sprinkles.  I was running out of time and needed to get them over to school.

At one point I thought maybe I should scrap the idea and go buy the pretty ones from the bakery.  But then I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to reflect and embrace the blessing of a birthday many years ago and yesterday.

I have no idea how Cole will remember his 2012 birthday.  Maybe we will laugh about my attempt at cookie decorating; but I can almost promise you that he will know that every swipe of the icing spreader, and every squirt of the icing decorator was done with love.  Yes, I could have easily swiped my debit card and bought pretty cookies, but it wouldn’t have been the same experience for either of us.

Think about it,


What I did on my summer “vacation”

Before the nice people in the unemployment offices read this and think I wasn’t looking for a job as part of the last four months, let me assure that it was at the top of the list every day.  Our summer days started with my rising to find on average four to six emails had been delivered to the email box dedicated only to the job hunt.  While the puppy ate breakfast and Cole slept in, I read and responded to the most appropriate opportunities.  After all efforts of application and follow-up were exhausted, there were various household chores that needed attention.  Stay with me, this “vacation” gets better.  I bore you with the standard schedule to present the over-arching theme of the summer (or so I thought) was to find a job.  There was something far greater to seek and embrace.

Time; a season with Cole that I would have never had; morsels of priceless moments that included impromptu water gun fights, silly singing in the car, afternoons spent at the swimming pool, and conversations that I will cherish for the rest of my days.

We worked together on household chores and I taught him to mow the lawn.  We took a few minutes to one night to look outat the full moon.  Another night we sat on the deck and looked at the stars.  He showed me the big dipper and the little dipper. We baked our favorite Christmas cookies and pressed them into non-Christmas shapes.  We volunteered at Lifebridge, sorting clothing and school supplies for those in need.  How wonderful to see Cole’s enthusiasm for helping others.  I had time to not worry about bed times and chores I only had evenings to complete.  With a slower pace, it seemed our time was less hectic and more meaningful.

This was the summer before Cole started middle school.  Yes, middle school, these are said to be three clumsy awkward and wonderful years a parent never considers when they first hold that sweet smelling infant.  From those who have gone before me on this parenting journey, I have been warned; but I choose to not fret.  Over the last four months, we have had these golden moments of connection that further solidified a relationship that began long before his birth.

We are over a week into the school year and have had few bumps.  The bumps will come, but when they do, I will be ready to listen first and then respond.  What I learned this summer is that the response Cole needs may be with words of wisdom, or just asking gentle questions to help him further figure out his own solution. Either way, I get to be there for Cole.

It has always been my goal as a parent to raise Cole to be a man of faith, who at the age of 18 will go off to college and his adult life.  At that point my relationship with him will change but will be soundly rooted in many hours of prayer and time well spent with him.

I wondered why God allowed this season of my life, if only for the memories the past few months gave Cole and me, I am grateful.  A job will come and I will work full time again, but I will do it with a new perspective on balancing family and work.  I will remember this pace and practice gearing down to take in moments that last a short time, but are treasured
for a lifetime.

How was your summer vacation?

All the best,


Prom Night for the Adults

Each spring in high schools across America the guys are nervous that she will say “no” and the girls are scared that they won’t get asked.  That probably isn’t so much the case for adults, but all of the other elements of prom go into preparing for the black-tie galas on Derby eve in Louisville.  It’s all about the dress, shoes, hair and make-up for the ladies and the men it’s about the tux and having a pretty girl on their arm.  Many of the Derby eve balls have celebrities in attendance.  In my opinion, celebrities are about as exciting as the high school football star or the head cheerleader at the prom.

We attended a ball this year.  For us, it was a night to get dressed up and enjoy an evening out. We danced a slow dance gazing into each other’s eyes and it didn’t matter that Grammy winner, Linda Davis, was the one singing to us.  It was just us.

Attending the ball made for some fun people watching; especially seeing those who were star-struck by the celebrities; following close behind them to catch them for a quick photo or autograph.  We did get one celebrity photo, primarily because she had been here before and was a favorite of my brothers.

The other people-watching joy was watching those not accustomed to being in a tux or an evening gown and high heels. Like the young ladies going to the prom in their first pair of strappy shoes, these women walked awkwardly on their toes (instead of relaxing and walking heel toe heel toe) and too early in the evening some thought it would be cute to take their shoes off.  But what struck me as saddest was what women consider to be appropriate attire for a black-tie evening.  There was opportunity for footage for Clinton and Stacey to review (What Not To Wear hosts).  Dresses were not right for their frame, or cut ridiculously too low (in the front or back).  Some were short colorful dresses and others were long.  An evening gown should have a classic style and not be too flashy.  Oh, and some women chose to wear hats. Seriously, a hat to a ball?

I realize that for most of us, going to a black-tie event may only come once a year if that often.  But let me encourage you that when the opportunity comes, please take a trip to the internet or the public library and brush up on appropriate attire.  Then check in with Clinton and Stacey on the TLC site for tips on proper fitting. Guys, sorry, but there is only so much you can do with a tux that who knows how many others have worn.

Not every woman is going to be (or needs to be) the Scarlett O’Hara at the ball.  The most important part is that you are dressed appropriately, feel pretty and have your very own Rhett (or love of your life) on your arm.

Just a thought, what do you think?