Tag Archive: Feel Good


Time is of the Essence

People in lineI work as a sales and office supply associate in a busy office supply store, whose familiar advertising slogan, up until very recently, was, “We Make It Easy.” Our goal, at point of sale (at the registers, the last point to impact their perception of their overall experience and the customer service they received) is to provide the customer a personal, pleasant, comprehensive and speedy checkout experience. Customers desire and expect this.

As a whole, people don’t find waiting in line to be appealing, and when their time is limited, they find it downright frustrating, even aggravating. “Why isn’t there another person opening up?” I’ve experienced a relatively small number who resort to being impolite, and, fewer who are verbally rude by all estimation. Of course, there are more people who face such temporary delays with calm, patient understanding, leaving those who don’t to stick out like a sore thumb. When the store experienced a week-long period of fluctuating internet service, then intermittent loss of service for the greater part of two consecutive afternoons, right during peak business hours, there was high anxiety among staff about how customers would react to the inevitable longer lines due to slower processing. The consensus was that it would be “a nightmare”. I thought about what could happen differently, though. I decided to think & speak with an positive attitude, and I set about briefly letting people know why there was a delay, that we were working hard on fixing it for them, and that we apologized for any inconvenience. Additionally, I decided to engage, humor and, as needed (for those who became a bit impatient or even grouchy), distract, the waiting customers from the slower pace. I chatted with a couple of groups of 4-5 customers, observing that it was “kind of like the ‘old days’, when we had few or no automated equipment to expedite purchases, and without all of our current electronics, the pace of life was slower in general, and we had time to say hello and even talk to those around us.

Nowadays, this happens less and less, because we are in a hurry and on our phones, thinking about work, etc., preoccupied and even stressed. Then, I stopped talking. As I rang customers out, albeit, still slowly, I watched and listened. Then
something wonderful, and a bit unusual happened . . . Complete strangers picked up the conversation begun with those ahead of them, and were, instead of impatient or unpleasant, cheerful, chatty, asking about each other’s days, commenting on each others’ purchases, of kids’ school project supplies, and chuckling while bemoaning the upcoming challenge of getting said project done after a last minute rush for poster board and markers. One customer even said to me, “Thank you for all your help! I hope the day gets better for you all here!” “Better for us?”, I thought. Here she was waiting in line for nearly 10 minutes, and she wished US a better day? Now that, I thought, was AWESOME.
So, go out on a limb and be positive in the face of a tough or negative situation; do it in front of people who might have reason not to be positive at the time…and see what happens. You—and they—might well be very pleasantly surprised, and all walk away smiling, eager to pass that smile to others!

The Author:  Kathy Clark

“Live to Give” typifies her heart’s truest desire.  She maintains her physical and mental health, youthful energy and sanity through daily fitness training (including Kenpo Karate, cross-training, running, snowshoeing and woods-walks with friends, and will compete in her second Tough Mudder this year).  She loves her kids, siblings and friends.  Clark is a 54 year-old (single) mom of two teenagers.  She is an RN who is happiest helping others in every way possible; her mantra, “Love with her whole heart.”

Kathy Clark

Her hope is to continue to Do Good through reaching out to others through ThinkGood, sharing with all of you      her energy and appreciation for the (sometimes hidden-suddenly revealed) moments of beauty in life.


Liquid Diamonds – The Most Valuable Diamonds of All

Water over kids hands

I’d like to think we all have a moment, or, if we’re lucky, many moments, when we are suddenly and unmistakably drawn–pulled, even–from our inward-turned world of daily life, when we’re shown something that opens our eyes–and opens us–almost turning us inside out, so we look OUTward.  It is in these moments that we really SEE who or what is right there in front of us, seemingly put three for us, and us alone, at that precise moment, to notice, take in , to be inspired by, to love, to share and to learn from.  Or, we are given the chance to see it for some purpose to be revealed to us later, but we know to tuck it away because it is extraordinary in that moment.  Our senses are heightened, our minds are opened and focused solely on that moment, that something, that someone.

That something could be present in our lives already, even on a daily basis, yet be so mundane, so routine or so seemingly insignificant that it doesn’t register as anything other than ordinary and expected.  Or, it could be a sensation, a vision, a sound, a feeling, an awareness, that we have never experienced until that moment, and it catches our full attention and may even move us deeply.

Sound familiar?  Are you picturing fireworks, bells and whistles, orchestral or angelic soundtracks or some other dramatic accompaniment to the moment of “enlightenment”?  Or, do you imagine complete quiet , hushed, pleasant sounds from nature, repeated mantra or the steady soundtrack of familiar voices and daily activities humming along in the background, as you uncover a gentle reminder about the importance of small, simple things in a gradual, layer-by-layer excavation?  Do you picture a surge of deep emotion welling up inside you and spilling over in the form of tears…or laughter?  Will the moment be fleeting, or be forever teched in your heart and mind?

One of these “moments” in my life happened at a time when I believe I really needed it, which is when, at least in my experience, we are most likely to be shown and surprised by them.

My two children, then five and seven, and I were outside in our yard one hot summer afternoon.  They were playing with a favorite water toy–a waterway, with multiple pieces, curves and drops and a pump to raise and lower the water level, like a canal, and several different little boats to travel the route they created.  I had also filled 2 tubs with shaving cream for them to be silly with, too.  They had sunblock on, an umbrella to play under, and two icy cold drinks in their spill-proof cups, each.  Just shy of patting myself on the back for thinking of everything they’d need, “I’m all set!”I thought.  Soon, I was deeply engrossed in clearing out my garden beds anticipating momentarily getting some long overdue planting done.

All was well, until, as young kids are wont to do, my two got bored with the items at hand, and began asking for “new stuff” to play with.  Squirt guns, the small, impossible to fill, empty-in-two-squirts kind that I should have known better than to have bought, were dropped at my feet.  “Mom?  Mom?  MOM!  Can you fill these NOW?  Please?  I want the blue one!  You get the red one!”  Sigh…  I complied, and off they went.  I had barely gotten my gardening gloves back on when they were back, with the same, urgent request, now bordering on “demand”, since one of them had lost the previous “battle” and gotten sprayed in the face by the other, who was declaring “victory”.  The fourth time they returned, out of “ammunition” and getting crankier by the moment (as was I), I decided it was time to remind them that “Mommy has work to do, and I can’t keep stopping every five seconds (a classic use of exaggeration by a flustered mom) to fill these guys!”  They looked at me dejectedly, and I felt that lousy feeling of frustration and guilt combined, knowing the work I was hoping to do was not going to get done (frustration), and the reason why was because my kids needed/wanted me to help them and play with them and I was doing something else instead (guilt).

I set down my tools and went into the garage to get the two Fire Hose Hero backpack pump-action water sprayers that resembled the packs and hoses firemen might carry to put out a fire.  My two LOVED the fire department, and had won a pizza party the Fall before for “best costumes” at the department’s Halloween tour and costume contest.  They sprayers held a little under a gallon of water, and they were a hit when I brought them out and filled them.  One quick demonstration of how to use them, and they were suited up and off, running around the yard, squealing with delight.  They loved them, and I was happy to get back to work.  But they were SO happy that they were back within five minutes, begging me to fill them again…and again…and I had managed to get only two plants in the ground, with eight more to go.  Envisioning having to abandon what I wanted to do, and not pleased, I said, “Guys, look.  I need to get these plants in the ground!  This is the last time I’m filling these!”

As I reached for the hose to fill my son’s sprayer, he reached out his little hand and held it, palm up, in the stream of water pouring from the hose.  The water missed the opening and coursed over the toy and onto my pants and shoes and his,  In the split second that my mind registered, “Oh, great!  What a mess!  Now there’s no way I’ll get this done!”, my eyes caught sight of something I may never have seen–really SEEN, had I not been granted the gift of “a moment”, that particular moment, to see it.  I have never forgotten eh vision,the feeling and the impact that one moment had on me…

I watched the water flow out of the hose and over his palm.  It was crystal clear, like liquid diamonds, glinting in the brilliant summer sun, and flowing in a  tiny river over his warm and dirt-smudged little hand.  He was open to the joy and the excitement of that moment, and was elated.  He held a little-boy handful of sparkling, liquid diamonds, made of just plain water and sunshine.  But, in that instant, I  saw and felt with my whole being the beauty of what I was witnessing, as simple and ordinary as it may have otherwise been…and time slowed and my heart sped.  Ohhh…his little fingers curled in delight at the sensation of the cool water on his warm skin, and then, he looked up at me and laughed, pure joy written all over his face, and he said, “Again, Mommy!  Do it again!”, and I realized I had liquid diamonds in my eyes and running down my cheeks.

My daughter came bounding over with her Fire Hose Hero sprayer dragging behind her in the grass, and dropping it, laughed and held out both of her small hands, palms up, and the cool water with the sunshine gave her handfuls of liquid diamonds, too.  We were so very rich, my kids and I, in that moment.

Looking down at their sun-kissed blond heads, and hearing their delighted squeals as the water missed their hands and got them wet (my aim was off because there were so many diamonds in my eyes, too many to collect before more came).  I felt a flood of joy and a deep, overwhelming gratitude for the gift, right then and there, of being turned OUTward, eyes opened, and heart softened for me to truly SEE  and FEEL the blessing of my children, my life with them, and the profound gift of being their mother, all in that single, simple sweet moment.  I turned the stream onto my own open palm, watched the sun glinting off it, and felt my whole self washed of all that had closed my heart and my mind,  so as to allow it to be written in my mind and on my heart that THAT, the awakening to a moment of new vision, and moments like it,  are what matter most .

The plants got planted–eventually.  The toys the kids loved then were replaced by book series after book series, two-wheeler bikes were mastered and ridden up and down the street til dusk, and many a kickball game was played with bases that never mattered much when the inevitable silliness ensued.

1016643_716Time passed, somehow faster with each passing year.  Mastery of the eye-roll, then the impatient, “I’ve got better things to do than listen to this”, arms-folded, heavy sigh, look away, foot tap,  and other modes of communicating, like the grunt, the mumble, the silent treatment, and the “WHAAA_TT?” from behind a closed bedroom door when called, rival the complexity of the signals passed between   a major league catcher and his pitcher, and prove to be just as frustrating and confusing to the opposing team, aka, this mom.  But as proficient as they became these, so, too, did they learn to sneak in a gentle hip check or a silly joke, or a “Mom?  Got a minute?” prelude to an unexpected and priceless heart-to-heart about the ups and downs of middle school and high school life.  Hugs from mom being accepted and even reciprocated, eye contact for more than a millisecond, and moments of laughter–and tears…all these have learned to recognize as gifts; these moments, of little hands full of liquid diamonds in the sun, and I am grateful and buoyed up by them, especially on days when it feels like I am sinking.

I know now that the tough stuff will get better, and that we will mature beyond these trying years.  But, in many ways, especially some days, I want time to slow, or even stop, before my two continue that race down the road to adulthood.  I want more handfuls of diamonds days to heal and set my mind and heart right again.  But then, I remember to stop.  I look.  I SEE.  I say the words, “I am thankful.” and those moments, though they may sometimes take a little longer to recognize, or are a bit more subtle and less brilliant now, reveal themselves to me just when I most need them, and as I open my hands, I see them full of diamonds and hear my children’s laughter. 

The Author:  Kathy Clark

“Live to Give” typifies her heart’s truest desire.  She maintains her physical and mental health, youthful energy and sanity through daily fitness training (including Kenpo Karate, cross-training, running, snowshoeing and woods-walks with friends, and will compete in her second Tough Mudder this year).  She loves her kids, siblings and friends.  Clark is a 54 year-old (single) mom of two teenagers.  She is an RN who is happiest helping others in every way possible; her mantra, “Love with her whole heart.”

Kathy Clark

Her hope is to continue to Do Good through reaching out to others through ThinkGood, sharing with all of you her energy and appreciation for the (sometimes hidden-suddenly revealed) moments of beauty in life.

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Jeff Ernst, Entrepreneur

Happy September!  What a great time of the year.  The season of smells and football.  Wet leaves, warm hot chocolate, apple pies, pumpkin carvings, apple picking, and homemade soups.  And with it, warm bright earthy tones, warm fires and rosy cheeks.

For us at Think Good, it marks our Sixth Month Anniversary.  We have lots to celebrate including getting to know many of you.  We’ve gone through many whiteboard markers, erasers, ink, business plans, LOTS of quotes, monetization plans, and various strategies for plans B, C, D and yes, even E, F and G.

As we have shared from the beginning, we are building this company with modern, yet proven business philosophies – working with YOU as our expert.  This exclusive group we call “The Inner Circle” contributes their thoughts and ideas and becomes a part of the overall process.

During these calls Think Good’s senior leadership, Ann-Marie Bland and Jeff Ernst joined by the rest of the team will explain Think Good, company objectives, the excitement and groundswell that’s building, and how you can participate.  All attendees will leave with an understanding of Think Good’s movement and knowledge about “what’s under the hood” (it’s much bigger and exciting than we have announced – – in fact, we haven’t formally announced anything!).  We will share our plans beyond the Facebook page (we are much more than that) and where we’d like to take the company with your input.

Ann-Marie Bland

Ann-Marie Bland, founder

The minimum requirement to participate on this Advisory Board is regular participation in Wednesday evening calls, completion of three or so surveys, and quotes and endorsements to be used on the website and marketing materials.  The maximum participation is open ended. For those that want to be active, we certainly could use the help.  To participate on the calls, it’s as simple as dialing a toll free phone number and clicking a link.  Just sit back, watch, listen and more importantly TELL US WHAT YOU THINK.

We are looking to bring “100 In The Know” members into the fold – as part of our advisory group.  The people that participate, like us at Think Good, have the potential to create something that does truthfully impact lives.  Lives of potentially thousands, millions and even billions if we all push the message out.  Anything is possible.   The world wants positive energy and we can provide it.

As a member, you will be given the red carpet treatment as our most important members of the team.  Virtual hugs, lots of laughs, precious moments, and an overall Feel GOOD feeling.   We are a startup and make the experience fun and rewarding as crazy as it is.

Through social media, our networks, coming together in a community where ideas can be shared and the message echo throughout; you can be the catalyst (an advanced and hopefully more successful “Telephone Game”.)  If each of us throws a stone out in our part of the water, causing ripples that eventually blend into each other representing the like minded community that is living in harmony of people helping people.

An exciting component to Think Good is the free exchange of information shared  (causes, volunteers, donors, fundraisers) allowing all people wanting to help and the people in need of help, to tap into a community of like minded people, share best practices and other successful ideas.  Think Good breaks down the silos and allows sharing of knowledge for over a million non-profits.  Think Good is a place to inspire, encourage, connect, and even witness the good happenings in the world, and at the end of the day, that’s what we are all here to do.  Good.

Some fun facts you didn’t know about Think Good:

  • We have people working with Think Good from 4 time zones with a total of 16 people working on the project to some capacity.
  • We are a completely virtual office and work through online tools, chat rooms and video conferences to keep us on the same page.
  • TG is comprised of stay at home mom’s,  new college grads, high school students, Think Good kids (the team’s kids), to corporate senior executives wanting to use their talents to give back.  The current team has been responsible for building and successfully achieving financial goals for over 12 technology businesses and combined have over 150 years of entrepreneurial experience.  High profile brands and companies under their leadership include NFL, Monopoly, NASCAR, Major League Baseball, Sony, Microsoft, Compaq to name only a few .
  • Think Good is reaching approximately 60K-100K people per day in 18 different countries and 5 languages. Our totally community consists of approximately 6,000 members.

Background:

The non-profit, NGO’s and private sector have historically been technically underserved causing antiquated processes and inefficiencies.  The benefits technology could bring communication, management of help and helpers finding opportunities to give back are not always easy to find.  A common place where everyone is working to better the world, can consult each other, or work together for a common cause, all in the best interest of those needing our help.  Because of labor intensive methods and tireless fundraising and marketing efforts, many of these organizations are struggling.   Think Good’s intends to build a community of “do gooders” (for lack of a better name), bringing together providers of help and those that are in need within the same community, brought together with technology.  By bringing together these like minded, good hearted people under the umbrella of Think Good, we break down the walls, bring together the silos, get smarter and more efficient, increase the impact on social matters and engage more citizens in the act of helping people.

Dream with us for just a minute:  Imagine a world where people helping people is as part of a daily routines as brushing teeth.  How cool is that?  A world where people smile at each other, wave,  people need people and when the interaction happens, people get out of solitude, out of our own minds – – – and feel better.  Someday, we might be part of the reason for the increase of the well-being of society.

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Thank you for joining Think Good and for your continued support.  The fast growth we’ve had to date indicates that the Think Good philosophy resonates, spreading positive attitude, the GOOD, the movement, and the benefits it will have on society. Our mission, together, is favorably impact the wellbeing of others through people helping people.  As Arianna Huffington states in her high profile blog, The Huffington Post,  “Success has to be measured beyond power and money. There is a Third Metric: wellbeing and/or happiness achieved through giving.”

We could not have said it better.  If you are interested in participating, please fill out the form below and you will be sent instructions (or you can use the above message board).

We look forward to being with you.  In the meantime, don’t forget to:  Think Good. Do Good. Feel Good.

All the best,

Ann-Marie Bland, founder & The Think Good Team

Become a Lake

Author Unknown

An aging master grew tired of his apprentice’s complaints. One morning, he sent him to get some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master told him to mix a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it.

“How does it taste?” the master asked.

“Bitter,” said the apprentice.

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”Lake_mapourika_NZ.jpeg

“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.

“No,” said the young man. At this the master sat beside this serious young man, and explained softly,

“The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”

Happiness has many advantages. Happy individuals have healthier perspectives, less heart attacks, strokes and other ailments.  They also have productivity advantages. People who consider themselves happy show higher productivity and output.

 

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                 Enjoy every second.

One day some people came to the master
and asked: How can you be happy
in a world of such impermanence,
where you cannot protect your loved ones
from harm, illness or death?
The master held up a glass and said:
Someone gave me this glass;
It holds my water admirably
and it glistens in the sunlight.
I touch it and it rings!
One day the wind
may blow it off the shelf,
or my elbow
may knock it from the table.
I know this glass is already broken, so I enjoy it — incredibly.
.

Achaan Chah Subato

 

Hold My Hand

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Little Boy and his mother were crossing a bridge.
The mother was kind of scared so she asked her little one,
‘Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don’t fall into the river.’

The little Boy said, ‘No, Mom. You hold my hand.’

‘What’s the difference?’ Asked the puzzled Mother..
‘There’s a big difference,’ replied the little Boy.
‘If I hold your hand and something happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go.
But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go.’

In any relationship, the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond.

So hold the hand of the person who loves you rather than expecting them to hold yours…

Unknown

I Stopped and Looked at My Kids: OMG

It hit me like a ton of bricks last week. I was at the community pool, looking around to see what my kids were up to. Then I really looked at them. The big one was playing with her friends, her long arms and legs splashing. The little one was throwing herself off the diving board like a boss. The boy was in the shade, cracking jokes with his buddies. As I sat there drinking lukewarm coffee, I realized, Oh my God. Here I am.

Let me backtrack for a second. The day before had been rough. I’d woken up determined that it was going to be great. That I would not go to bed that night, replaying all my parenting mistakes, per usual. And I spent the entire day being a really good mom. I was engaged and understanding. I was firm but kind. I did not yell at anyone or get distracted by my phone. I was like this all day and it was freaking exhausting.

And of course it was the same day that my kids decided to turn our house into Thunderdome, fighting with each other constantly. I thought ordering a pizza for dinner would help turn it around. Then this happened:

sweet spotThis day really wasn’t going to end any other way.

Have you ever had a day like that? Where everything just degenerates into a huge goat rodeo? It was awful. So there I was the next morning at the pool, really looking at my kids. And even though we were still all fresh from the goat rodeo, I realized:

  • Those are my kids right there: swimming and healthy and beautiful.
  • Wait. Hold up. I’m not sitting in the too-warm baby pool, trying to pretend that it’s not disgusting.
  • And I’m not changing diapers in the sweltering summer heat because everyone in my family can wipe their own nethers.
  • I haven’t had to tell anyone not to drink the pool water this summer.
  • I haven’t used a stroller in over a year.
  • We are all (mostly) sleeping through the night.
  • They hardly ever scream “mommy mommy mommy MOMMMYYY!!!” every two minutes anymore.
  • I can pee by myself (almost 40 percent of the time).
  • They are sort of independent and (somewhat) helpful lately.
  • Yet they still need me and want me to be with them.
  • I can get hugs and kisses and snuggles whenever I want.
  • But they can also take out the garbage.
  • They’re big, but they’re still little.

I’m in the sweet spot.

I sat there for a moment and let it sink in. I’ve been so deep in The Blur for so many years. Not sleeping, eating cold mac and cheese off of Winnie the Pooh plates. Every day determined by nap schedules, nursing, diaper changes and preschool pick up. But that has changed over the past year or so, without me even noticing.

The Blur will do that to you, though it’s starting to soften around the edges. No. That’s a bad analogy. It’s not softening at all, in fact it’s the opposite. It’s sharpening around the edges. Things are coming into focus and I’m beginning to see clearly.

I get it now. They were right. Everyone who said it would go by so fast. It’s happening to me. It’s whizzing by. When my three kids were very little, the days were so long and my world felt very small and sometimes very lonely. If the days were long, the nights were longer. The hour before my husband got home from work? It took three days to get through that hour.

But there was also the smell of the top of their baby heads. And the pudgy, little kissable feet, that are now big and stinky. Their bodies that used to be part of me, are now entirely their own. They’re not little anymore. That part of my life is over. And I find myself here, with three medium sized kids, in the sweet spot. I’m equal parts grateful and terrified.

Oh God, please let this time last. Please slow it down a little bit. I didn’t even realize we were here until the moment was half over. And what’s coming next? Snapchat? Pimples, bras, curfews, pressure to make the same bad choices I did and just… All of it. I can wait for that. Can I just stay here with them a little longer? Can you please keep them safe and beautiful and young just a little while longer?

I spent all day mulling over the sweet spot, my perspective on yesterday’s disasters flipped around. In hindsight, the pizza on the driveway was kind of funny.

That night I had a long conversation with my kids about how they thought our summer was going. At one point, my 8-year-old son started talking about something he’d learned during swim team. Something about pushing off the wall and gliding before you take the first stroke. He was waving his arms and twisting his tanned, skinny torso around the kitchen to demonstrate. Then he stopped — still as a statue — with one arm curved high above him, his face turned and lifted upward.

Then he resumed his flapping around and said: “DID YOU SEE THAT? THAT WAS THE SWEET SPOT. WHEN YOU TURN YOURSELF AND LOOK AND BREATHE REAL DEEP. IF YOU DO THE SWEET SPOT JUST RIGHT YOU SET YOURSELF UP TO BE COMPLETELY AWESOME.” (My son has trouble using an inside voice. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t actually have one.) “MOMMY, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOUR FACE? ARE YOU CRYING? YOU LOOK CONSTIPATED. HAW HAW HAW!! NO SERIOUSLY, WHAT?”

sweet spot

And I explained to him that I had just been thinking about the sweet spot. And how I had figured out that we were in one right now — as a family. He looked at me with pity in his eyes. It is delightful to be patronized by a third grader. He shrugged and looked at his sisters.

“You know there’s a sweet spot in baseball, too, ” I said.

The boy perked up. He loves baseball. “It’s when a hitter swings, and the ball makes contact with the bat in the perfect place. It’s when everything lines up just right and everything is where it’s supposed to be. And the ball flies. It just soars. It makes a noise. Do you know what I’m talking about?”

He nodded and so did the girls. They’d heard the noise before. They’d seen the ball jump off the bat and fly away. Away from the person who’d hit it perfectly.

I guess the constipated look came back to my face, but this time my kids just shook their heads and went into the other room to watch Call of the Wildman. They left me alone in the kitchen, awkwardly swallowing back tears.

I guess it’s OK that the sweet spot is fleeting. It’s supposed to be. It has to be. As with everything else, it has a time and a purpose. I think we’re supposed to use the sweet spot to align ourselves for whatever is going to come next. To put all the pieces together as well as we can, for as long as we can. So that if we’re very lucky, our kids can glide forward and know when to turn and when to breathe and when to start to kicking.

If raising children is like baseball or swimming, getting it right must be a cocktail of luck, faith, and showing up every day to do the work. And of course, never quitting (even when it all seems like a hopeless goat rodeo). And if you do it well, they won’t just leave you. When they go, they will soar away. And all you can hope is that you set them up TO BE COMPLETELY AWESOME.

Taken from the Huffington Post
Julianna W. Miner has three kids, ages 4, 8 and 10. She teaches at a college she couldn’t have gotten into because she made bad choices in high school. Her blog is Rants from Mommyland, where this post originally appeared.

This is Good

An old story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, “This is good!”

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation the friend remarked as usual, “This is good!” To which the king replied, “No, this is NOT good!” and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone that was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.

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“This is good?” he said to everything.

As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. “You were right,” he said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off.” And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. “And so I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this.”

“No,” his friend replied, “This is good!” “What do you mean,’This is good’? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?” “If I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you.”

– Author Unknown

An Inspirational Story: Get Up

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Bringing a giraffe into the world is a tall order. A baby giraffe falls 10 feet from its mother’s womb and usually lands on its back. Within seconds it rolls over and tucks its legs under its body. From this position it considers the world for the first time and shakes off the last vestiges of the birthing fluid from its eyes and ears. Then the mother giraffe rudely introduces its offspring to the reality of life.

In his book, “A View from the Zoo”, Gary Richmond describes how a newborn giraffe learns its first lesson.

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The mother giraffe lowers her head long enough to take a quick look. Then she positions herself directly over her calf. She waits for about a minute, and then she does the most unreasonable thing. She swings her long, pendulous leg outward and kicks her baby, so that it is sent sprawling head over heels.

When it doesn’t get up, the violent process is repeated over and over again. The struggle to rise is momentous. As the baby calf grows tired, the mother kicks it again to stimulate its efforts. Finally, the calf stands for the first time on its wobbly legs.

Then the mother giraffe does the most remarkable thing. She kicks it off its feet again. Why? She wants it to remember how it got up. In the wild, baby giraffes must be able to get up as quickly as possible to stay with the herd, where there is safety. Lions, hyenas, leopards, and wild hunting dogs all enjoy young giraffes, and they’d get it too, if the mother didn’t teach her calf to get up quickly and get with it.

The late Irving Stone understood this. He spent a lifetime studying greatness, writing novelized biographies of such men as Michelangelo, Vincent van Gogh, Sigmund Freud, and Charles Darwin.

Stone was once asked if he had found a thread that runs through the lives of all these exceptional people. He said, “I write about people who sometime in their life have a vision or dream of something that should be accomplished and they go to work.

“They are beaten over the head, knocked down, vilified, and for years they get nowhere. But every time they’re knocked down they stand up. You cannot destroy these people. And at the end of their lives they’ve accomplished some modest part of what they set out to do.”

– Craig B. Larson
Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching from Leadership Journal

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