Thursday, January 17, 2019

Seeing Through Other People's Lenses...

  The holidays have come and gone once again.  Don't get me wrong.  I loved every minute of it.  Including the last minute house guests for four days at Christmas.  I loved it!!  I'm just grateful for the rest I get to now take….well, ok, I wouldn't call it rest.  I'm playing "catch-up" on everything - but I think I'm almost there. 

            During this super busy time, I was actually able to break away for an evening to spend with my hubby and our dear friends. We attended a theatrical performance that was very entertaining.  It was a "spoof" on A Christmas Carol.  You'd have to actually see the show to understand anything that I would write about it…so I'll just leave it at that.

            A few days after the show, I actually had time to read the entire program (OK, so I was bored and didn't want to do my laundry or dishes so I employed delay tactics).  What I read was really eye-opening.  The main actor wrote:

            "I've heard it said that while we are the MAIN character in our own "life-movie", we're merely SUPPORTING characters in the "life-movies" of the rest of the 7.5 billion people on planet earth.  What?!?!  Seven point five billion people are right now experiencing their own versions of life and their versions are all completely different than yours.  What?!?!
            Thoughts like those lead me to wonder: Is my color green the same as your color green?  What about red?  Does a soft-serve vanilla cone taste the same to you as it does to me?
            Wait.  You don't like soft-serve ice cream?!  Are you some kind of alien???  And what do you mean you don't like that song, or that team, or that book, or that hat, or that politician, or that --!
            Do you see what I mean?
            The complicated truth is that we all face the day with prior experiences that can change, tint, or taint our attitudes and feelings.  The first step towards lasting progress is learning to view the world through other people's lenses. …."

            I love what he said, "…The first step towards lasting progress is learning to view the world through other people's lenses."  How many times do we jump to conclusions or make snap judgments against people without knowing the full story?  (I could tell you my insights on judging others, but I've already done that in another blog).

            So, my first step to seeing the world through other people's lenses is to be more kind.  No, I'm not going to go out of my way to tell people what I think and feel about them just to try to make them feel better about themselves, but I am going to share a smile with everyone.  You'd be amazed what a smile can do to someone's day! 

            Another good thing to do is take a breath!  How many times do we get "hurt" or "offended" at the drop of a hat, then turn right around and jump down other peoples' throats because we are now having a "bad day"?  Sometimes people say or do things that are hurtful or mean and they don't really know what they are doing.  It's just their personality.  It doesn't make it right…but if you choose to turn around and fly off the handle, that doesn't make things any better either.  So, if someone is rude or mean, take a breath and choose to be the bigger, better person.  You could even go so far as to say, "Gee, I'm sorry you're having a rotten day.  Hope things get better soon."  Then smile and walk away.  Don't feed into their negativity.

            I have found that if you let others express their own opinion once in a while, you will better understand where they are coming from and what exactly their viewpoint is.  For example, I recently asked my young children a question just to see what they would say.  I knew the answer I was looking for, but I wanted to see through their lenses.  When I asked them, they both answered the question the same, it was just different wording from each of them.  This started a huge argument between the two of them.  I was able to diffuse the situation by getting them to breathe and then I repeated the answer they both gave me.  I was able to calmly point out that even though the wording was different, they were both saying the same thing.  As it is in life.  You may be saying one thing and someone may be saying the same thing just a bit differently, but in reality it's the same answer, just different wording.

            A good thing to remember is, you are only one of 7.5 BILLION people on the planet.  Not everyone is going to think just like you.  How you see the world and how others see the world are completely different and that is OK.  I am often heard saying that if everyone thought just like me (or you) in any kind of relationship, one of us is unnecessary.

            I am grateful for the diversity all around me.  It gives me perspective on what others think and feel.  It also helps me to see things just a bit different.  This has happened to me several times.  For example, I posted a great rendition of the Star Spangled Banner video on YouTube a couple years ago (I also wrote a blog that uses this video).  The content in the video is amazing!  It just happens to not be completely accurate on how history happened.  I've had several comments about the blog, some of them nice, others not so nice.  I just ignored the "not nice" ones, but the one that got to me most was from a gentleman who stated that the historical facts weren't entirely correct in the video I shared.  He then went on to list a site that does in fact give accurate information.  I was so touched that he took the time to share this with me that I actually looked up the information and was fascinated with what I found.  I kindly thanked him for the information and we both went on our merry way.  There weren't any "slandering words" that were exchanged.  I didn't take down my video.  He accepted my work and I accepted his information that was kindly given. 

            This is what is meant by "looking through other people's lenses."  Have an open mind to see things a different way.  Don't take offense at every little thing.  Be willing to step back, take a breath, and accept people for who they are and what they think.  Sometimes you're gonna have to agree to disagree.

            So, as with all the insights I share with you, may you take what I have written and use it in your life, or just choose to see things through my lenses for just a moment.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Be The One Who Makes A Difference

When can we start to make a difference in the world?  Are we courageous enough to start with the tiniest of steps to make the difference?  How do we begin to make a difference when the world seems too big and against any type of difference that is offered to it?  These are all questions that every one of us has asked at least once in our lifetime.  The answers seem too complicated and the work too much for just one person to accomplish on their own.  I recently heard a story from a good friend of mine that reminded me we don't have to do hard or big things to make a difference in the world.  It starts one tiny step at a time, and can be quite simple.
Image result for daffodil fields 
(This story was printed in the Reader's Digest and originally appeared in the September 1997 issue.)

The Daffodil Lesson
By Jaroldeen Edwards

            It was a bleak, rainy day, and I had no desire to drive up the winding mountain road to my daughter Carolyn's house.  But she had insisted that I come see something at the top of the mountain.
            So here I was,  reluctantly making the two-hour journey through fog that hung like veils.  By the time I saw how thick it was near the summit, I'd gone too far to turn back.  Nothing could be worth this, I thought as I inched along the perilous highway.
            "I'll stay for lunch, but I'm heading back down as soon as the fog lifts," I announced when I arrived.
            "But I need you to drive me to the garage to pick up my car," Carolyn said.  "Could we at lease do that?"
            "How far is it?" I asked.
            "About three minutes," she said.  "I'll drive - I'm used to it."
            After ten minutes on the mountain road, I looked at her anxiously.  "I thought you said three minutes."
            She grinned.  "This is a detour."
            Turning down a narrow track, we parked the car and got out.  We walked along a path that was thick with old pine needles.  Huge black-green evergreens towered over us.  Gradually the peace and silence of the place began to fill my mind.
            Then we turned a corner and stopped - and I gasped in amazement.
            From the top of the mountain, sloping for several acres across folds and valleys, were rivers of daffodils in radiant bloom.  A profusion of color - from the palest ivory to the deepest lemon to the most vivid salmon - blazed like a carpet before us.  It looked as though the sun had tipped over and spilled gold down the mountainside.
            At the center cascaded a waterfall of purple hyacinths.  Here and there were coral-colored tulips.  And as if this bonanza were not enough, western bluebirds frolicked over the heads of the daffodils, their tawny breasts and sapphire wings like a flutter of jewels.
            A riot of questions filled my mind.  Who created such beauty?  Why?  How?
            As we approached the home that stood in the center of the property, we saw a sign that read:  "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking."
            The first answer was:  "One Woman - Two Hands, Two Feet and Very Little Brain."  The second was: "One at a Time."  The third: "Started in 1958."
            As we drove home, I was so moved by what we had seen, I could scarcely speak.  "She changed the world," I finally said, "one bulb at a time.  She started almost 40 years ago, probably just the  beginning of an idea, but she kept at it."
            The wonder of it would not let me go.  "Imagine,"  I said, "if I'd had a vision and worked at it, just a little bit every day, what might I have accomplished?"
            Carolyn looked at me sideways, smiling.  "Start tomorrow," she said.  "Better yet, start today."
 Image result for daffodil lesson

So the questions we need to ask ourselves are:
1 - Who?
2 - How?
3 - When?

And the answers to these questions are
1- YOU!!  You are the one to decide what difference you are going to make in this world.  Remember the difference doesn't have to be big or create a fanfare.  Focus on what your strengths are and decide to use those strengths to make the difference.

2 - One step at a time.  There is an amazing old saying, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.  This is sooo true if you are going to make a difference in the world.  Take the smallest step towards change and KEEP AT IT.  Your smile or kind words of encouragement can completely change someone's day for the better.   Your example and courage to stand for what is right and good can be infectious to those around you.  The point is, YOU have to be the one to make a difference in the world.  If YOU don't choose to be the difference, the world will continue on as it always has and NOTHING will change for the better.  At times, when you are really trying to be the difference, it will seem that things are getting harder and you just can't go on.  That is the adversary fighting against you.  He doesn't like change for the better.  Fight him with every breath of your being and keep at it to be the difference!!!

3 - Start today!  Even if you are over 90 years young you can make a wonderful difference in the world.  One of my best examples of making a difference came from my grandmother who was 86 years young when she passed away.  When she was alive, she wasn't very mobile and stayed home sitting in her recliner chair.  From her chair she kept her phone close, to call people she felt inspired to call.  She also kept her card/note making supplies handy.  She would write notes of encouragement or send birthday greetings to help brighten someone's day.  These weren't big things she did, they were what she did to help make the difference in the world.

I really loved in the daffodil story how the author said "She changed the world…one bulb at a time.  She started... just the beginning of an idea, but she kept at it.  Imagine…if I'd had a vision and worked at it, just a little bit every day, what might I have accomplished…".  Well, you have the rest of your life ahead of you.  Start TODAY to Be The One Who Makes A Difference!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Troubles...We All Got Them!!

The other day I was reading in my social media feed and there was an article that popped up that caught my attention.  It was from a person who was looking to move to my hometown from out-of-state and was wondering about the area and what it has to offer the world.  There was the normal "joking negativity" in which people were purposely trying to make the town look bad because they want to keep the community "quaint" and small.  Then there was those who were just downright negative and mean about the community.  And last of all there were those who told it like it is - it's a small town with small town values, we aren't without our faults, but it's a great place to live.

What caught my attention most of all was a post from my friend who said this (because I can't quote perfectly, I'll summarize)

"I'm sorry for all of you who hate our little community.  I, for one, feel this is a great place to live and raise kids.  I have had a great experience here and love this town.  It doesn't matter where you are, you are going to have problems wherever you decide to go…"

Another friend responded:

"You will find good and bad everywhere you go. Is there a lot to do Is there It is a small town, so yes. It can be boring, but it's also quiet and peaceful. Some people like getting away from noise and the hustle and bustle of big city life. Small towns aren't for everyone, but if you like having a close knit community then (this town) has that. I am sure it could be a culture shock coming from a bigger city. For those of you who don't like it here I am sorry. The good news is you can always move."

This is sooo true!!  No matter where you decide to "put down roots" you're going to run into troubles!  I guarantee it!  Unless you decide to live in a bubble at the top of the highest mountain peak, you WILL have troubles!  But then again, living in a bubble may have its troubles as well….

Image result for solla sollew clipartOne of my absolute, most favorite of all time Dr. Seuss books is "I had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew".  In this book a young man is confronted with many troubles.  They come at him from above, below, in front and from behind.  It didn't matter where he went, these troubles seemed to get worse the farther he went.  Then one day he ran into a person who told him he needed to go to the "city of Solla Sollew, on the banks of the beautiful river Wa-Hoo, where they never have troubles!  At least very few!…."  So off this young man went to get away from all the troubles he is facing.  He is so excited to be in a world without troubles!  However, along the way to this amazing city without troubles, he is faced with trouble after trouble.  When he finally reaches the beautiful city of Solla Sollew, he discovers there IS indeed troubles, well just one really.  There is only one door into the city and the keyhole is inhabited by a Key-Slapping Slippard making it impossible to unlock the gates to the troubleless city.
Image result for solla sollew key slapping slippard clipart 
At this point the young man has a decision to make.  He can go on ANOTHER journey to the "city of Boola Boo Ball, on the banks of the beautiful River Woo-Wall, where they never have troubles!  No troubles at all!" ----or he can return home.   He decides to return home holding a big bat and declares "now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"

I love this story for the simple fact it reminds us that no matter where we go in life troubles are going to happen.  Whether you are in school facing a bully, work outside the home with difficult co-workers or boss, go to church, shop at the grocery store, move to a new home, etc….it doesn't matter!  You WILL eventually have troubles!  What matters most is how you HANDLE those troubles!  Are you going to run away (which, by the way, NEVER works, cuz the troubles will still be there when you get back)?  Or are you going to face your troubles head on with a big stick?

How many times in your life have you faced a "trouble" and let it get to you?  I would say that my troubles have troubled me more times than I would like to admit!  Now that I'm older, I have started giving my troubles some trouble.  I have learned that to get through life I have to stand up for what I believe in and to stand against those things that aren't right.  It takes courage to do this, but if you don't want to have troubles, you need to grow a backbone, deal with the trouble and move on with your life.  I promise when you do this, you will be a better, stronger person for doing so.
Image result for solla sollew clipart 
Go ahead!  I DARE you to start giving your troubles some troubles!!