Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I can't do it all by myself!

Sometimes I think we feel we can do everything 'all by ourselves'. We start that when we are small children, don't we? Mom or Dad show us how to do something and we immediately want to do it 'all by ourself'! We want to put that toy together. We want to use the fork all by ourself. We believe we can do anything and everything. All by ourself. We don't need anyone to help us.

But can you make a difference on your own?

If you think that you can make a difference on your own, then you need to read the words of the poet who wrote “The Indispensable Man”;

Sometime when you’re feeling important;
Sometime when your ego’s in bloom;
Sometime when you take for granted,
You’re the best qualified in the room.

Sometime when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole;
Just follow this simple instruction,
And see how it humbles your soul.

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist;
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining,
Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.

You may splash all you please when you enter,
You can stir up the water galore;
But stop and you’ll find in a minute,
That it looks quite the same as before.

The moral in this quaint example
Is to do just the best that you can;
Be proud of yourself, but remember
There’s no indispensable man!

I read that poem this morning and the (horrible) thought occurred to me, that no matter how much effort I put into my job, how perfect the minutes are, how many things I do 'right' - if I didn't show up for work tomorrow, there might be a few bumps in the road to find where I filed things, what folder did I put that document in, but I expect they will easily fill the gap and it will be barely a ripple of my leaving.

One thing I do want to share..... when you have God with you (and you always do), you are never alone. You are never doing things 'on your own'. He may not intervene in certain circumstances (even though I really, really, really pray He would!!), but He walks me through the circumstance.

If I left - there would hopefully be a small ripple. If God deserted us, the hole He would leave would be so deep, so empty, so void, life would cease to exist.

I can think of no greater horror than being in this world without God. He has walked me through some mighty journeys. When I've done the 'stupid things' - it was all me, but He never left me to wallow in my own stink. When I called out to Him, He always answers, and always walks me through.

He can - and will - do that for you as well. Ask Jesus into your heart and ask Him to walk this journey of life with you. You will find life isn't so hard at times when you have His partnership. Trust Him; hold out your hand and grab hold of His. There is no better partner, no better place to be, than next to Him.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Ugh - I forgot....

Hubby asked me this morning if I had any meetings scheduled today. Gratefully I told him no, none today. When I got to work I remembered I had a 9AM meeting scheduled. At least on Friday I had pulled everything together and had copied everything for the 20 folders. Whew. I'm beat before I get started. I told my boss when she came in that I am NEVER going to schedule meetings on Monday - I need that day to recover from the weekend!

Today's story I used for the reports was about Benjamin Franklin. Did you know that he really promoted 'partnerships'? Since it is nearly 8AM and I don't have time to think of anything to write about - here's some of what I shared....

You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do.
Together we can do great things.
~~Mother Theresa

Some people just naturally approach life with a partnership mind-set. And as a result, they reap unusual success. Benjamin Franklin was one such person.

Franklin is remembered as a printer, statesman, inventor, writer, and Founding Father of the United States. He was born in Boston, the fifteenth of seventeen children, the son of a candle maker. His formal schooling lasted less than two years. At age twelve, he apprenticed to his brother to learn the trade of printing. At seventeen, with no resources other than his talent and hard work, he moved to Philadelphia to seek his fortune, starting out as a printer and journalist. By 1730, at age twenty-four, he owned his own business. In 1748, he was wealthy enough to retire.

The reason Franklin wanted to retire was to devote himself to scientific research. His experiments with electricity made him world famous. Beginning in the 1750s, he became heavily involved in community affairs and politics. Once again, his accomplishments were incredible. He was one of a handful of influencers who shaped the American Revolution and the creation of the new country. A cowriter of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, he was the only person to have signed the four documents that helped to create the United States: the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Treaty of Alliance, Amity, and Commerce with France (1778), the Treaty of Peace between England, France, and the United States (1782), and the Constitution (1787).

A quick review of Franklin’s accomplishments might tempt one to believe that Franklin was the kind of person inclined to work alone. Nothing could be further from the truth. Franklin embraced the Partnership Principle from early in his career. Despite his meager education, Franklin was a lifelong learner. But he knew his greatest progress would not come working alone. So in 1727, at the age of twenty-one, he founded a group called the Junto. Franklin described it as “a club of mutual improvement” composed of “most of my ingenious acquaintance.” The original group included printers, surveyors, craftsmen, a clerk, and a merchant. “We met on Fridays,” Franklin said. “The rules that I drew up required that every member, in his turn, should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discuss’d by the company; and once in three months produce and read an essay of his own writing, on any subject he pleased.” Franklin’s Junto eventually evolved into the American Philosophical Society, which still exists today.

An important part of Franklin’s continuing self-education was reading books. Often short of funds when he was young, Franklin came up with a partnership approach to acquiring books. He convinced a group of people to pool their money and buy a library of books to be shared. By 1731, the idea evolved into the nation’s first lending library.

Franklin used a similar partnership approach again and again. Because of the threat of fire in Philadelphia, he convinced a group of colonists to come together to form the city’s first volunteer firefighting club in 1736. In the event of a fire threatening the property of any club member, all of the other members would come to his aid. In 1751, he helped to found the first public hospital in the country. In 1752, he encouraged a group of colonists to share financial risks by partnering in the Philadelphia Contributorship, America’s first fire insurance company. He got people to work together to hire street sweepers and to employ local policemen. Time after time, Franklin teamed up with others so that all could achieve success.

No matter how successful Franklin became, he never abandoned his partnership approach to achievement. He employed it on national and international scales. When the United States was seeking its independence, its founders knew that the country would not survive without the help and partnership of other nations. Franklin was dispatched to Europe as the national’s first minister to France. He was successful in persuading the French to partner with America against the British. Scholar Leo Leman called Franklin “the most essential and successful American diplomat of all time.”

And after the young nation had secured its independence and was attempting to write its constitution in 1787, when delegates could not agree on the structure of the legislature, Franklin proposed the “great compromise” that created our current two-house congressional structure. Few men have had a greater impact on the United States. And few people have understood the power of partnership the way Franklin did.

Maybe I will share more tomorrow.... but for now... this is it. Wow – what a great “history” lesson - and on learning about working with others! Who do you see as your partners in your area of work? Aren’t you grateful you don’t have to do all this alone? Show your gratitude today to someone who partners with you so that you both can do your job better.

It’s Monday again………. Have an awesome day!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Who you think I am may not be who I think I am....

“Many intelligent adults . . . are restrained in thoughts, actions and results. They never move further than the boundaries of their self-imposed limitation.”
~~ John Maxwell

It happens to us the moment we are born. Excited family members press their noses against the nursery window in the hospital and begin playing the game, “Who does he look like?” After much discussion, it is decided that the red-faced, wrinkly, toothless, bald baby looks like “Uncle Harry.” The labeling of the little child increases as his personality develops. That is a normal human reaction. We all do it. It becomes hurtful, however, when we start placing limitations on our child because he is a “C” student, a “fair” runner or a “plain” child. Unless parents exercise care, their children will grow up selling themselves short because of the “box” parents put them in, the expectations parents have placed upon them.

One “boxed in” child was Adam Clarke, who was born in the eighteenth century in Ireland. When Adam was a schoolboy, his father told the teacher that Adam wouldn’t do well.

The teacher said, “He looks bright.”

That statement changed his life – let him out of the box his father had put him in. He lived to be 72, and he became a great scholar, an English Methodist preacher, and an author of commentaries and a book called Christian Theology. When Adam Clarke preached, it was said, people listened.

What are a person’s capabilities? No one knows. Therefore, no one should be consciously instilling life-limiting thoughts into others. Thirty years ago, Johnny Weissmuller, also known as Tarzan to movie viewers, was called the greatest swimmer the world had ever known. Doctors and coaches around the world said, “Nobody will ever break Johnny Weissmuller’s records.” He held more than fifty of them! Do you know who is breaking Tarzan’s records today? Thirteen-year-old girls! The 1936 Olympic records were the qualifying standards for the 1972 Olympics.

For decades, track enthusiasts declared boldly that nobody would break the four-minute mile. For decades their prediction looked secure. Roger Bannister did not listen to such limiting assumptions. Result: He broke the “impossible” four-minute mile. Today, at least 336 men have accomplished this feat. They did not let themselves be limited by others’ expectations.

Remember: Others can stop you temporarily, but you are the only one who can do it permanently.

~~ John Maxwell - Your Attitude

What you speak into your children, and even into yourself, DOES make a difference. I want to tell you a funny story. Now, I may have parts of it messed up in my memory, but here it is....

I have always, from the moment they were born, called my beautiful granddaughters “Princess”. I would tell them how precious they are, how special, how beautiful, and how loved. One day one of the granddaughters disobeyed her mother.

No, they didn’t call grandma.

My beautiful daughter-in-law told her daughter that her behavior was not that of a princess, and therefore, she must not be a princess. OH MY GOODNESS!!

My little Princess, about 5 years old at this time, began to sob as if her heart was going to break, and stomping her foot declared, “I am too a Princess!! My grandma says I am a Princess and I AM a Princess!!”

And of course when grandma heard the story, I confirmed again she was still a Princess….. and she still needed to obey her parents.

My granddaughters know that they can accomplish anything – if for no other reason, but that they are a Princess. They love it when I tell their dates they MUST open her car door because she is a Princess. And I love it when a brother will tell his sister’s date, “my sister is a Princess, and you had better treat her as one, or you will answer to me.”

How did you speak to your child before you left this morning? Did you leave with them thinking they are a delight to you, that you are proud of them? Thinking back with school out, many of you left them in bed. Just a suggestion, next time you leave them in bed as you head out the door to work, instead of leaving notes telling them what you expect to have done that day, tell them how proud you are of them and that you love them beyond measure. Build them up, and you will be amazed at what they can accomplish.

I believe in each of my children and grandchildren; I believe they can accomplish great things. But until they believe it too, and act on it, they will stay in the same place. Life is a choice - you can LIVE in it, or live with it. I choose to LIVE.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

What kind of friend are you?

Getting close to the end of the book I've been sharing for the past several weeks. Today's chapter was on friendships. It's one of those that instantly reveal who your friends are - and which ones are best friends. Our friends - best and otherwise - influence us in many ways. Some good, some bad. However, through thick and thin, friends are always there.

One person who had incredible insight about relationships was King Solomon of ancient Israel. It’s said that he was the wisest person who ever lived. During the course of his lifetime, he wrote many wise things about friendships, and we can learn from them today. Here are a few of those truths about real friends:

Real Friends Are Scarce

Solomon wrote, “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.” When you develop a deep friendship with someone, value it, because real friends are rare. A true friend ….

Is someone who sees you at your worst but never forgets your best.
Is someone who thinks you are a little bit more wonderful than you really are.
Is someone you can talk with for hours or be with in complete silence.
Is as happy for your success as you are.
Trusts you enough to say what he really means when talking to you.
Doesn’t try to know more, act smarter, or be your constant teacher.

In short, a real friend is a friend all the time. Value the real friends you have. They are precious. More important, try to become a real friend to others. There are few gifts greater than being a friend.

Real Friends Are Refreshing

Solomon observed, “Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Every situation in life improves when a friend is involved. When you want to share a fun experience, there’s nothing like having a friend with you. When you’re facing a crisis, a friend shares its weight. C. S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at the moment one person says to another, ‘What, you too? I thought I was the only one.’” That kind of connection is refreshing, no matter what’s happening in your life.

How do others respond to you? When people see you coming, do they expect to be refreshed and energized? Or do they have to expend energy to sustain their interaction with you? Everyone should be a breath of fresh air to someone in his life.

Real Friends Make Us Better

In the best kinds of friendships, the people improve one another simply by being together. As Solomon said, “You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.”

Automaker Henry Ford was having lunch with a person and asked him, “Who is your best friend?” As Ford waited for the response, the man hesitated. He wasn’t sure.

“I will tell you who your best friend is,” Ford jumped in. “Your best friend is the one who brings out the best that is within you.”

That’s what real friends do. They bring out each other’s best.

Real Friends Remain Faithful

Have you heard this one? What do you get if you cross Lassie with a pit bull? You get a dog that bites your face off and then goes for help. Real friends aren’t like that. In this world there are plenty of people who don’t care about others. Solomon remarked, “Calloused climbers betray their very own friends; they’d stab their own grandmothers in the back.” But real friends remain faithful no matter what.

Author and pastor Richard Exley said, “A true friend is one who hears and understands when you share your deepest feelings. He supports you when you are struggling; he corrects you, gently and with love, when you err; and he forgives you when you fail. A true friend prods you to personal growth, stretches you to your full potential. And most amazing of all, he celebrates your successes as if they were his own.

You cannot sustain a deep friendship with everyone, nor should you try. But you should cultivate genuine, deep friendships with a few people. And you can be a friendly, kind, supportive person to everyone you meet. You can treat every person as an individual, not simply a business “contact.” If you put others first as people and then worry about business second, you will find you will have lots of friends.

It doesn’t matter if you are the salesman or the customer, a boss or an employee, an executive or a stay-at-home mom. Whatever you do, people will be more inclined to do it with you when you treat them like a friend.

What kind of friend are you? What kind of friend do you want to be?


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Joy of....

How would you finish that beginning? The joy of.... children? The joy of.... grandchildren? The joy of.... your job? The joy of...

This morning as I often do, I wrote out of a book a story to send out with the reports. The story was about relationships, of course, and friendship. It talked about a salesman who formed relationships with his customers who, years after door-to-door salesmen became non-existent (thank goodness!!) continued to call him to place orders for his products, although they could find a brand much cheaper at a discount store. Friendship - and relationships.

Sometimes families have both - friendship and relationship. Unfortunately, some families only have relationships.

Sometimes you have people in your life who you can not only call 'friend', but have a relationship with them. There are 'close' friends, and there are 'just' friends.

I know I catch myself sometimes introducing someone as my 'best friend' to a person I would introduce to someone else as my 'best friend'. The first time I did that I caught myself - and wondered what my 'best friend' thought when I introduced the other 'best friend' to her. LOL I've learned to try to say 'one of my best friends' - for I hope I have many.

Relationships. We all have them. Some good, some not so good. I guess first of all you need to identify how that relationship affects you. Do you walk away joyful for having that relationship - or do you feel down and sad after you talk with them? Not that what is discussed makes you sad, but that you don't feel the love and warmth other relationships give you.

And it comes in various levels. I have friends here at work that I call 'work friends' and some I call 'good friends' and some I call 'best friends'. Sometimes I am surprised when a 'good' friend will introduce me to someone as their 'best friend'. I also stop and re-evaluate that relationship to see if I am missing something. And there are those that we just call 'friends'. I have a lot of those - and I'm sure you do as well.

The Joy of Work this morning.......... and I have plenty to do. Big meeting first thing Thursday morning and I have 20 binders with about 26 tabs that I need to complete. Nearly done, but got more information in yesterday to insert. Job security? naw, anyone can print and insert papers. But no one does it as good as me. :-)

Think about what brings you joy today. I like to think that in some small way I bring God joy each day. I awoke this morning with my heart singing a song of praise. I love mornings like that. It seems to make my day start perfectly. It is good.

Bring someone joy today. Be a friend.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Working from Home....

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I really don't like working from home. Today is no exception. My boss is at a conference for two days (in San Diego, isn't that terrible?) so has added 3 vacation days to her week, her hubby went with her, and they are there for vacation. With my boss being gone, and most of the others I do work for are also on PTO or out of the office, I asked to work from home today. I do have a 7AM meeting in the morning, but I've already printed things off and the packets are ready to go.

I don't like working from home because it is harder to get into my folders. In fact, shortly I need to contact our IT department and get them to open my folders up - or tell me how to do it. I can't get into any of them. A big red 'x' is on the folder. I can get into them on my regular computer, but it is harder to work from cause my link to the office keeps dropping. Sometimes I do have to work from two computers. I wish I had two computer screens here at home like I do at work. It is so nice to be able to drag something off to the other screen so that I can refer to it as I work on the other screen.

Don't know of much to write - and am trying not to get too personal anymore. Need to get to work anyway.

Hope you have a good day.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Vanity, Vanity, It's All Vanity.....

Or in the NIV version, "The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? ..."

What in the world do we do that we think is so important? Hmmm. Actually, when I wrote the title I was thinking of 'looking good' vanity. What brought that to mind? I caught myself looking at myself in the glass window reflection of one of the offices when I went to get my boss coffee. Was my top even with my jacket, was the jacket hanging right, etc. I rarely look at my hair - even when I go to the restroom. The hair and the face I can do nothing about. Once I leave the house, I'm done with all I can do. sigh.

However, with my clothes, I can at least try something different. Remove my jacket, use a sweater, go without the jacket or sweater (not in the building - dress codes - no spaghetti straps), wear my flats (that I wear in to the office cause I don't want to walk a block in heels through sidewalk cracks. I found (when I did) catching my heel in the cracks of the sidewalk), or wear my heels. I have my heels on now, along with my jacket. But anyway - my thoughts are wandering away.

Anyway - I wrote the title because I caught myself checking my reflection. How often do you do that through the day? Do you 'check yourself out' whenever you see a reflection of yourself? That is what most of us do - don't deny it!

But, if we take what Solomon says (instead of vanity) that it's all meaningless - then wow, what a thought.

Does that mean everything I do all day is meaningless? I guess it would be if it wasn't of value. With my job, although it is administrative and not hands on, I provide support to several other people so that they can do their jobs well. I do not consider THAT meaningless - it is a lot of work. But, overall, when the job is done, all the papers that I printed, 3-hole punched, and put in nice binders behind 20 different tabs - well, they are all thrown away. It makes me feel like it is 'meaningless'. More like wasteful. If they would let me, we could just put the reports up on the projected screen and save mucho trees.

I think about yesterday and wonder if what I did was meaningless. Could be. Depends on who is looking at it, I guess. Did I happen to touch someone's life throughout the day? If I did, then my day isn't meaningless.

Come to think about it, after I sent out my reports yesterday, I DID get a comment back from one person (I get a average about 3-4 comments a week when I send out reports) how what I wrote really helped her during a specific time. Those are good things, therefore, not meaningless.

I prefer to think that all I do has meaning. It may not to others, but it does to me.

and what you do also has meaning. Whether it is helping someone sell a house, buy a house; deliver parts, pick up parts; help things get done for specific group of people, process paperwork; - all of this is touching someone. It affects someone if you don't do it.

Think of a teacher - the lives they touch. Unfortunately we do have some horrible teachers who demean students and ruin their lives after school - but we have many teachers who build up their students and they become successful.

We have parents the same way. We have friends the same way. We have relatives the same way. Snide remarks aren't always funny. They can hurt. Especially when repeated time and again. Now this is meaningless.

So what are you doing to make a difference? To make your day meaningful? To affirm someone today?

For me, I think I will challenge myself to encourage three people today. Not just say 'you look nice'. Anyone can say that, whether they mean it or not. I want to look for something that means something to them - and comment on that. Postively, of course. Even if it is just an email. But I must also be truthful.

Challenge on! Find three people that you can truthfully compliment today, truthfully encourage and affirm. Do it verbally, phone, or by email. It can be anyone who needs it today. Be the giver of encouragement. Go for it!