Auntie

I think we all have them in our lives.

Blood relative or otherwise, most of us have had (or if we’re lucky, still have) folks elder to ourselves who bring a unique and special presence and insight to our lives.

That older mentor, an “expander of perspectives”, generous with love and life;  that person is “the giver of goodness”, another channel to a bigger world, a different view.

My Aunt Diane is just such a person in my world.  Virtually all my life she’s been there, offering me a different perspective.  When I was growing up, she provided adventures I wouldn’t have had otherwise, an opportunity to be a little more like an adult before I got there, just all that goodness.

I rode my first train ride solo to San Francisco to visit her when I was in middle school.  I got to visit cool restaurants with her, eat special treats, explore Chinatown.  To this day she represents the early portal for me to what was possible in being an adult.

She did a variety of things during her career, providing a great example there too.  She always worked in capacities related to health-care, but her fields were quite diverse.  She spent time in both the private and public sectors.  She was a leader, and a sole contributor.  She continues to mentor and volunteer even after retiring a few years ago.

And so as we celebrate her this weekend, and get together with her for a special lunch and treats, I encourage you to consider those elders in your life that did (or do) add depth, diversity, insight, and love.

Love them.  Because they love you.

 

READ.

I can remember way back to childhood. There was a campaign, “Reading is Fundamental.” It promotes literacy. And I remember 3rd Grade book reports. How many “Encyclopedia Brown” books could I read? It seemed like a lot.

But then I also came to realize reading made me fall asleep. My folks read at night. Sometimes for a while. I never lasted too long.

So fast forward half a life, I still like to read, but I also tend to fall asleep before much time passes.  That’s the curse I live with.  Such as it is.

Meanwhile, my smokin’ hot wife reads about a billion times more than I do.  Not quite, actually, but it SEEMS that way.  She set a goal of reading a dozen books this year.  How many has she read this year so far?  TWENTY-FOUR.  She’s smokin’ hot, and smokin’ SMART too.  I love that, along with many other things about her, of course.

All that fluffy love aside, my wife’s reading actually motivates me to consider reading more often, even if I don’t do it nearly as often.  Sleepy or not, I’m reading more because of this motivation.

I also have a couple of good, long-time friends that both read ALL THE TIME, it seems.  The read like other people listen to music.  But these guys listen to a lot of music too.  These two are the types of guys that have read everything they are interested in at the library.  What’s more, they ask the librarian when new books are due in.  They’re THAT way.  I love these two guys and they, like my wife, provide good fundamental reading motivation for me.

So this weekend, or any ol’ time you have a little extra time — even if it’s just ten minutes — try picking up a book and reading a few pages.  Even if you fall asleep, it’ll be GOOD.  Because Reading is STILL fundamental.

 

No Pain, No Gain

Resilience.  It’s easier said than done.

Mistakes happen all the time.  Sometimes we make them; other times we’re affected by those mistakes made by others. When we make the error ourselves, particularly if it’s mistake that could have easily avoided, it hurts, it stings, it makes us take pause.

Especially when the set-back or challenge otherwise is unexpected.  That can be super frustrating.  It can take the wind out of our sails.   If it’s severe enough, there might be some actual pain.

And so when that happens, what options do we have to respond?

You could roll over, run away, and give up. But that approach isn’t sustainable; and you’d never get anything of note accomplished if you just walk away every time you lose, you make a mistake, you suffer some delay or obstacle in your way.

Point of fact, that’s the exact time to FEEL it, and then TRANSCEND it. Or rather, that’s the time to take from the experience the lesson and the energy to learn and find the next dose of motivation to move forward.

Earlier this week I discovered a mistake I’d made at work;  the error actually occurred a couple of months ago.  I wasn’t able to piece together exactly WHY I made the mistake, but I did.  It wasn’t catastrophic, and could be remedied by others, thankfully.  However, it was certainly the type of error that, if repeated often, would fundamentally damage data integrity around business decisions that are made. NOT GOOD.

But the lesson itself?  It was GOOD.  Good for me to be reminded how detailed and exact and methodical we need to be in our work, everyday.  Good reminder that focus and review and repeated processes are the best way to minimize errors.  Good lesson in how to be a better business person, a better worker, a better doer. Every time.

I’ve heard it said more than once with respect to carpentry:  when you’re cutting board to building something, “measure twice, cut once.”  That’s a good maxim for most any task.  It’s a good idea to quickly check your work, give one more review, be SURE you’ve done it right.  No substitute for that.

What’s more?  It is in the learning and the mistakes and the pain that we get better.  So let’s do that.  Let’s get better.  Everyday.  No pain, no gain.  But what’s also true?

“Know Pain, Know Gain.”

Like Father, Like Son

spiderman_impact_2018

It’s been quite a ride with my son thus far in his six years on this earth.  When he was born I was naturally super-stoked to have a boy, and it’s been joy, a delight, a massive set of lessons, and a blessing everyday.  Well, almost every day.  : – )

Helping him along in life thus far mean my looking back at how my own childhood was, recalling more accurately now the challenges I faced when I was little.

My deepest hope for my boy is that he be the best unique human he can be.  I want this for my daughters too, of course.  But as I see our son have some of the same struggles I did, I relate and want to help him have an easier time.

I don’t do a great job of having an optimal impact every day.  But I’m more mindful in the effort.  I’m more consistent (?) in my messages to him.  And I want to lift him up everyday, so eventually he can lift himself up:  to face the challenges that come along, to embrace the learning we do as we grow up, to seek to be better, to seek the joy every day. And then eventually, to share it.

Come to think of it, he already does, in some ways.

Four Eyes

Don’t make fun of others, that’s a basic life lesson.

“Four Eyes!” is a childish way of Making fun of someone who wears eyeglasses. Granted too that it’s mostly used by kids, or was back in the day…but the point is the same.

Be nice to others. Treat them as you’d like to be treated. Don’t put someone down in effort to elevate yourself. That is NEVER ok.

My brother wore glasses from age 2.  I never really saw the point in making fun of people who wear them.  Never did.

When I was in my late twenties, I got my first pair, for seeing distance.

I’ve sense gotten reading glasses too.  A couple years back I embraced the wisdom of progressive lenses.

I know a lot of people that wear contact lenses; I tried those for a while.  Not a big fan.

I know some folks who have gotten surgery to correct their vision.  Not my thing either.

Half-way through my life, I’ve got no problem wearing eyeglasses.  I don’t do a very good job of keeping them clean.  I do the best I can to remember, but the smudges always seem to build up a bit.

My approach to wearing eyeglasses is like a lot of things in my life I can’t control.  I accept the situation, and make the best of it.   And every couple three years I get a new pair with new frames, a bit of a refreshed look.

It’s time to get a new pair again.  It’s been three years. I’m pretty excited.

So there you have it. Excited instead of self-conscious. Stoked instead of embarrassed. And for sure, trying every day to be nice to others. Regardless of what they look like.

GOOD.

What’s it going to be today?  GOOD.   That’s my default.

It might not play out that way, but that’s the way I’m gonna receive it.

The weekend though? It was legit GOOD. It was busy for sure, but for all the right reasons.

Soccer started up again for two of our three kids; and my wife is coaching the team; so plenty of ramp up there. Practice on Friday; our first game was the next day.

The weather was hot, which added a little further, challenging dynamic. Thankfully our game was in the morning.

Soccer went fine overall, a success for a bunch of under-6 kids who don’t know each other, or their coach, or the other parents. They did well.

Then it was off to a long-planned theater show in the afternoon. Our three kids, first time to see a live show on stage. It was Wicked. Literally. 🙂 They did really well at that event too, overall.

Then on Sunday, it was out to the Central Valley for a family birthday. Super fun for our three kids to see their two cousins, grandparents, and uncles and aunties.

So yea, busy for sure. But that’s just living; that’s just life. The usual chores and week-to-week work at home that usually gets done during the weekend? Fit in what we can, fill-in where we had a bit of time.

Make it good along the way. Make it GOOD.

 

Sometimes Church is Elsewhere

I’ve heard it said a few times in my life, “church isn’t always inside the building.” In essence, church is where ever people of faith gather and share prayer and fellowship. At least that’s my take, when I boil it all down.

Certainly there is the presence of God, and there is sometimes a sense of spiritual renewal, a deep reset of the soul…but those moments can often be fleeting.  It’s like anything else we humans do trying to transcend, it’s hit and miss.   And that’s life as a human, really.

Another fundamental thing about being a human is that we are social animals; we really are meant to be together.  And that is the main point of this post.  Me and the family have been missing quite a few Sundays at church this summer; we’ve had a whole variety of travel and otherwise time away, busy spending time with others, or recovering from being busy.

And so this Sunday, we’re going to be in travel mode again, as we head out early morning for the central valley a couple hours away, to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday with a big family lunch.  It’s going to be great, and I’m super excited to see the in-law crew.  It’s been a while since we’ve all been together, and our kids really enjoy being with the cousins, we all like being together.

But we’re going to miss church in the process.  My sense though?  That deep re-set of the soul I mentioned earlier?  Some version of that will happen when we all gather together.  Certainly there will be a lot of love to go around.   We’ll sort of have a version of church, just elsewhere.

Amen to THAT.