Little Did I Know

Little did I know the relevance and poignancy of this tweet from last year.

Almost exactly one year ago, how could it be so?

And yet here we are. 2020 had so many black marks: struggles at work, struggles at home, wildfires, untimely deaths, friends and family with cancer, and of course, a global pandemic.

So many things demanding we adjust, comply, modify, withstand, persevere. And that’s exactly the tact we must take: adjust, but don’t give up; compromise, accommodate, stand together, NEVER GIVE UP.

Resilience is what we are called to. Resilience is the mantra we must repeat. Hour upon hour, day after day.

Stay in. STAY IN.

Reflections

When we look closely, what do we see? Colors, images, layers in sight, inside, outside, what’s actually there? What’s imagined?

When we consider things repeatedly, over and over again, what do we find? What deeper meaning? What better understanding? Or do we allow ourselves to get lost? Lost in thought, muddled, searching in vain…?

I’m biased for sure, as I find myself thinking endlessly. Often of late, it’s maybe to my detriment. I spend too much time in my head. Worries form clouds, dark, forbidding.

But sometimes, every so often…actually that’s not true…every time, eventually, I come out of the reflection better off. The worry somehow recedes. I can’t really explain it. I give it all up to God, that’s all, that’s the practice.

And so the reflections, at the end of the day, make it better. Make me better. Better off inside and out.

The reflections, they turn out ok. If I just give them time, give myself time, to reflect.

It’s Complex

SCU Complex. LNU Complex. CZU Complex. Ah…what?

Not new vitamin supplements; rather, each a name that’s been given to one of the three wild fires currently burning in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In Santa Clara County (south bay). In Sonoma (and neighboring) County (north bay). In Santa Cruz County (further south bay).

Hill communities. Suburban communities on the fringe.

Already Pandemic Life. Already Distance Learning for our children. Already Work-From-Home for many; or working under additional constraints “on-site.” And of course, the Essential Workers grinding it out in even more extreme ways often.

The physical toll. The mental toll. The emotional toll. Those last two are different. The mental is adjusting your practices, routines, expertise to cope and hopefully thrive in the new set-ups. The emotional is the ups and downs along the way.

Hopefully we’re getting to more ups. Hopefully the downs aren’t as deep.

It’s complex.

The Next Right Thing

Pretty frickin’ powerful lyric for a cartoon “kids” movie.

Learning the lessons young, amen to that.

“The Next Right Thing”

(from “Frozen 2” soundtrack)

I’ve seen dark before

But not like this

This is cold

This is empty

This is numb

The life I knew is over

The lights are out

Hello, darkness

I’m ready to succumb

I follow you around

I always have

But you’ve gone to a place I cannot find

This grief has a gravity

It pulls me down

But a tiny voice whispers in my mind

You are lost, hope is gone

But you must go on

And do the next right thing

Can there be a day beyond this night?

I don’t know anymore what is true

I can’t find my direction, I’m all alone

The only star that guided me was you

How to rise from the floor

When it’s not you I’m rising for?

Just do the next right thing

Take a step, step again

It is all that I can to do

The next right thing

I won’t look too far ahead

It’s too much for me to take

But break it down to this next breath

This next step

This next choice is one that I can make

So I’ll walk through this night

Stumbling blindly toward the light

And do the next right thing

And with the dawn, what comes then?

When it’s clear that everything will never be the same again

Then I’ll make the choice

To hear that voice

And do the next right thing

‘Frozen 2’ Songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez

I’ve Heard It Said

I’ve heard it said that children at some point begin to resist what their parents have to say. This behavior is maybe obvious for adolescent-age kids, but it could happen at any age I suppose.

Well, that reality has now arrived in my life. And our oldest daughter is nine years old.

We’re into Distance Learning and managing technology and the tweaked schedules and work/school/life melding together. We’re into each other’s business and activities space — even after five months we have our bumps.

And so on Distance Learning, second week of school there are a couple suggestions I made to my daughter.

But does the kid want to listen?

Oh no…not to me, anyway.

But it’s not until her teacher says, “it would probably be a good idea if…“ that she’s ready to listen.

Exactly what I said, but from a different voice, a different source of wisdom and authority, and the teacher wins out. I can live with that, as a parent. Better for our daughter to listen to the teacher, and gather the understanding.

After all, her teacher is for the present; parents, dads and moms, we are forever. 🙂

And once I can be at peace with that Delta of attitude, the way our daughter reacts to me, and how she reacts to other adults she should look to for guidance and leader- ship…

It’s on me to be OK with that, and once I am I am happy. Maybe even relieved. She’s on the right track. Amen to that.

Sitting in the Hall…

An hour past Bed Time, that’s where I find myself.

Our younger daughter lying on the hardwood floor outside my room, pretending to read to her self in the dark. She’s telling a story.

It’s a school night. Whoowee. Tensions are rising. In me, anyway.

Rather than blow a fuse, I try to relate.

Half success.

But that’s a lot of parenting, a lot of life in my experience. Do what you can; give and take. And so I did.

I got comfortable sitting in hall next to my daughter, and I listened to her tell the story. Pretty quickly she explains what’s really going on. In the dark. Past bed time. But oh well, that’s where we were.

It didn’t last that long. And we were both better off after that short conversation. Lesson learned. Again. GOOD.

In The Midst Of It All…

…I’m reminded, above it all, before it all, the first priority, your first team, is your family.

If you’re lucky enough to have kids, they have to be the first priority.

I just read that Kellyanne Conway (who works in the White House), and her husband George Conway (a political columnist) are both stepping away from their political jobs to focus on their family.

BRAVO.

And so focusing on family on this side…

Here’s a few pics from an adventure with my crew from the weekend. Trying to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Faith and Trust

What do I really believe it comes down to when all is said and done? When the last step, the last breath is taken?

Faith in God whatever He or She is; trust that good and light will follow, however that is.

This I think is fundamental; this is what Paul wrote about to the Romans.

Reading 2, Romans 11:33-36

33 “How rich and deep are the wisdom and the knowledge of God! We cannot reach to the root of his decisions or his ways.”

Indeed, we cannot reach; we must trust. And that’s the core. That’s the life journey, I think. That’s my calling, anyway. To adjust to God’s Will. To pray and discern and adjust and to trust, to have faith. Each day.

Amen. AMEN.

What Motivates You?

It’s a fundamental question. What motivates you? What lights your fire? What inspires you?

Once you’ve figured that out, then…

How do you create it “on demand,” when you need it? After all, motivation helps us get things done.

So with our kids in this regard, it’s all about identifying what motivates them to do the things we want them to do, and then coming through with the reward.

Where we live there’s been a heat wave the last week or so. And there are wild fires burning in nearly every county in the state. The air smells like a camp fire. And, and, AND it was the first full week of school. Distance Learning. Fricking TOUGH week.

But our kids powered through with pretty good attitudes and related efforts. And so they were rewarded for their efforts.

Example?

Our son has talked about these little transformers all week.

Today he got to bring a few home. That was his motivation. He made sustained efforts all week. He’s off to a fine start.

And that’s GOOD.