#4 – “Timeless and Silent Qualities”

This is the fourth and final Rambling in a four-part series of short articles of “dangling thoughts” you may be able to relate to. I hope they will be something you’ll want to ponder. I’m prepared for a variety of reactions including, “hogwash!” or “interesting!”. These topics have found themselves on the “notes app” of my iPhone over the past few months. I find the commonality of the themes interesting and the fact that they found themselves on my phone under the category of “Potential Rambling Topics!”

I recently attended an art show featuring a local artist, painter Leon Hushcha, and ran across a piece of art that was entitled, “The Kimono.” What really caught my attention was the artist’s statement, “Grace is Timeless and Silent.”

Three Great Attributes;  There are many great attributes to possess, I will ramble on three (3) of the many that help define who we are and how we live our lives: Grace, Honor, and Responsibility. In my opinion, these elements are timeless qualities—ways we can behave in a selfless manner. They manifest themselves in how we act and search for opportunities to be of value or service to others. They are part of the pool of qualities we should strive to develop and engrain into living in an intentional way.

To this day, despite having dealt effectively with my Fathers Death, I still have moments that I grieve his loss and long for those times we could talk to receive his counsel. I know I would be a more intense listener than I was 20 years ago. I am blessed, however, to still have my mother. At 94, she is remarkably vibrant, mentally sharp, and a bit of an energizer rabbit who is only hampered by arthritis which has dramatically limited her mobility. Despite this inconvenience, our weekly dinners remind me of her vibrancy, appreciation for the rich life she has had, and the honor and love she still has for my dad. I feel happy that she has a social network that helps her remain engaged in life.

My mom and I don’t always agree: I find at times the age difference creates frustrations and there are times I roll my eyes in disagreement or frustration over things she does not understand. HOWEVER, I am intentional about my attitude of Grace, Honor, and Responsibility. I allow her the grace to be who she is, I honor her as my mother, the person who brought me into this wonderful world and into a life that has blessed me. I honor her for who she is and for all the great traits she has and the love she exhibits to those around her, including her grandchildren and great grandchildren, some who she sees frequently, and others seldom if ever.

Mom has earned the right to be honored!

Finally, Responsibility, it is my turn to be responsible in helping her. It is my responsibility to remain in her life as a caretaker and someone she can rely upon in times of need. We all need to know that we have someone who “has our back” and will drop most anything to come and help. I feel blessed that I want, and can, have dinner with her most every week so we can visit and reminisce. There are nights I really do not want to go, but I always remain grounded in my commitment to honor her, demonstrate grace through action, and take on the responsibility that I have been given (and treasure).

Think about those in your life who deserve grace. Overlook the missteps we all make. Honor those you have in your life: It’s our responsibility. As my dad always used to say, “Someday we will not be able to do this!” Someday my mom will not be here and I do not want to ever have to say to myself, “I wish I had spent more time with Mom.”

“Someday we will not be able to do this!”

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#3- It’s the Small Things that Count

This is the third in a four-part series of short articles of “dangling thoughts” you may be able to relate to. I hope they will be something you’ll want to ponder. I’m prepared for a variety of reactions including, “hogwash!” or “interesting!”. These topics have found themselves on the “notes app” of my iPhone over the past few months. I find the commonality of the themes interesting and the fact that they found themselves on my phone under the category of “Potential Rambling Topics!”

Its the small things

I love watching the Olympics and continue to be amazed at the talents and the evolution of the sports. I have realized that what I appreciate today is rather different than what I appreciated when I was younger. Today, I marvel at the dedication and the refinement of what it takes to be a real champion. It’s the small things that separate the great athletes from the exceptional gold medal champions.

This could also be said for what it takes to find success in business, in life, or in relationships: How do I know this?…I learned from some painful failures, I speak from painful experiences that were real and not theoretical, I learned and changed to not repeat what I have learned….what is it?  It’s the dedication, the deliberateness; the attention to detail that leads to accomplishing something really special. In our personal life, what is it that made you (or makes you) want to skip down the aisle toward a lifetime relationship? Yes, the big things are important, but what about the little things that we sometimes take for granted? love languagesHere’s a little exercise you could do with that special someone in your life: Discuss one another’s needs, wants, and the exceptional traits you see in one another. I also encourage you to read, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman

Back to exceptional athletes, here are a few of my take-always from the recent Winter Olympics:

  • The Olympic figure skating pair from China: The commentators said, “what made them so special is that they created a mood and a feeling in their skating through the nuances of expression and movement” – the small things!
  • 1/100th of a second knocked Alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn from a medal. What were the small things that got her that close, yet just as important, what were the small things in that two-mile journey that cost her that 1/100th of a second?
  • Twice, in two different bob-sledding events, there were two teams tied; yes tied over a two- mile course—their times were identical to the 1/100th of a second. Can you imagine? It again was the small things for both teams that created this amazing fact.

So, who says that the small things don’t count? – This is something that I will remember and embrace!

How about You?

Short Story #2- Life: It is NOT, “It is What it is!”

The Three C’s: Choice, Consequences, and Change

This is the second fn a four-part series of short ramblings of “dangling thoughts” you may be able to relate to. I hope there will be something you’ll want to ponder. I’m prepared for a variety of reactions including, “hogwash!” or “interesting!”. These topics have found themselves on the “notes app” of my iPhone over the past few months. I find the commonality of the themes interesting and the fact that they found themselves on my phone under the category of “Potential Rambling Topics!” .Choices

Each of us were born with unique talents, skills, and attributes. One of our many choices in life is whether to embrace what we’ve been given, feel envy for what others have been given, or we may shrug our shoulders and say, “It is what it is.” I believe we need to adopt an attitude of gratitude and thanks for our god given talents that we’ve been given and constantly look for ways to further develop these unique traits , attributes and talents with the help of others around us. The book, Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance did a masterful job as one of his themes, framing this notion.

During times of challenge, sorrow or loss, we often find ourselves asking big questions such as: Why did that happen to me? Why are we here? What is the meaning of all of this? What is our purpose? How will I cope and recover? How do I make a mid course correction? Perhaps one might just accept life as it is and say, “It is what it is.” – WRONG!

I am certainly not professing to have all of the answers but my experiences have taught me lessons, both good and not so good.  I offer them only as examples for consideration. in pondering some of these questions.

It seems to me we are to live a purposeful and meaningful life, embrace our god given talents and share them with others as we are here to serve others, not ourselves.

I was given an unexpected gift this winter when I attended a live concert at Crooners, a supper club in Northeast Minneapolis. At first, I was disappointed that the artist I was expecting was not the one actually performing. My attitude could have been, “Well, it is what it is.” and fuss in disappointment. However, the evening turned out to be great. Soul singer Wee Willie Walker & We “R” Band performed. What a gift! I cannot imagine anyone would have been more fun. This was a great reminder to take a pause before lamenting about something. What struck me in particular was a song with the lyrics, “I got a second chance today.” I certainly wish I had a second chance regarding some aspects of my life. Is there such a thing as a second chance? Does it really have to be “It is what it is”? Second chances provide us with opportunities to have an amazing life, relationships, a business or career, and more.

Recently, I came across an article on LinkedIn: “Setting a direction for personal change – a crucial tip to get you heading in the right direction” by Bridget Clapham (Nov 10, 2017) and found these kernels of wisdom that are worth sharing:

Ask yourself as I have asked myself these three initial (and simple) questions when wanting a change as opposed to accepting, “It is what it is!

  1. What is it that I want? Take some time and think about what it is that you really want in different aspects of your life; write down some thoughts. Phrase these thoughts in the positive (e.g. “I want to feel more confident giving a speech,” or “I want to experience more diverse travel adventures,” or “I want a true, meaningful, intimate, life partner!”)
  2. Why do I want what I have identified? This is critical as it must be for our reasons and no one else’s.
  3. What will be different when I have/or do this? What will be different when I have what I desire or have identified to be important? What will it mean to me and to those around me?

So, My Hat is off to those who adopt the motto:

IT IS NOT: “IT IS WHAT IT IS!”