Monday, October 29, 2012

Those Deep Breath Moments

Sometimes life is too hectic for us to slow down. Being a parent, spouse, child of an aging parent and keeper of the home or workplace, we tend to forget the during this race that we call life, we need to breathe. Not just the huffing and puffing needed for the run, but also that deep refreshing breath between races. We need those more than you think!

It was during one of these hectic times that I just stopped, sat down and really took time to breathe. Not in the physical sense (though we still need to do that because staying alive is a good thing), but in the sense of really paying attention to my surroundings and appreciating what I saw. Like the other day.

I sat outside next to my weed-rampant yard that sported a butterfly bush I had planted two years ago. Instead of focusing on the unmown lawn, I took a deep breath, and began to see the busyness of the local insects and fauna.

Bumblebees buzzed lazily about the flowers, and I was close enough to see just how fuzzy they were. It helped that they were a little torpid from the cool morning, which made me smile at their clumsiness. Clumsy bees don't sting.

A flock of starlings decided I wasn't a threat and began making all kinds of racket in a nearby holly berry bush. Then I saw the flick of a branch, then the squirrel that made it, as well as his mate, playing among the branches that haven't lost their leaves yet. Then I noticed how blue the sky was, the air cool and crisp as I took it in with one slowly drawn breath.

All this took place in less than five minutes, yet it was like I had taken a power nap. What would the world be like if everyone did this, a few times a day? Take a moment or three today during your race for one of those Deep Breath moments and appreciate what God has done around you. Even if there's no nature, you can still appreciate what you see but usually miss in your everyday doings.

True peace starts with a deep breath. It manifests after we thank God for showing us the things we've missed!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gifts Versus Skills

So what is the difference between a gift and a skill anyway?

I'm a writer. That's my skill, not my gift. I had to work on my writing skills. It doesn't come natural to me, though I love writing! My gift is cadence. I can mimic any poetic style and have an 'ear' for the written word. When something is out of cadence, it rubs me raw and I must fix it- it's a moral imperative. Cadence is a gift that I use it to enhance my writing skills.

A gift is something that comes as naturally to you as breathing. You can't not use it. For me, cadence affects every part of my life, especially when I listen to music.

A skill is something you like doing or have a knack for, but it's something you have to study and practice to make better. Gifts are the batteries, Skills are the machines. You can run a machine without batteries, but it runs better with them. Try to ride a motocycle by just using your legs and you'll see where I'm going with this. Gifts lend power to the skills.

Take a good long look at what you like to do versus what you tend to do naturally. You might be surprised!

(this post was inspired by the writer Jeff Goins' post on his blog, Jeff Goins, Writer)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ask and Ye Shall Receive(r)!

Even though we know what to do, we're so used to not doing whatever it is, we just don't think to actually do it when the time comes. Confused? Allow me to explain.

When I call a company with a problem, I hate getting computers that answer the phone. I hate the requests to push this option, speak that option, and still don't get my answer. Today was no different, except I was short on time and temper, and had enough of playing verbal ping-pong with a computer.

When the last option sent me right back to the beginning menu, I held my cell phone before me and yelled "I need a human!"

I intended to hang up right there. But then I heard the computer say "You would like to speak with a representative- is this correct?" I was somewhere between laughing and being flabbergasted. "Yes!" I exclaimed into my cell phone, still wondering if this was really happening. "Please hold..." was the reply, and darned if that computer didn't get me a real human being!

Even the people I got on the line (yes, even the humans felt the need to transfer me to other departments) laughed when I told them my story- and my issues were dealt with...eventually.

I hung up the phone (okay, it's a cell- I folded it) and wondered why I just didn't ask for a human in the first place. Why did I play button tag with the computer for over five minutes? Simply because I didn't think to ask until I was really, really frustrated.

It doesn't always work that way- sometimes you have to push '0' (a good tip for those that are not in the know), but the point is I only got through because I tried.

Then I began to wonder what God thought about all this. There He is, waiting for us to call Him, and all we have to do is ask and stop playing with the stupid buttons!

I'd have saved myself a lot of grief had I thought to call out "I need a human!" in the first place, instead of jumping through digital hoops.  The same goes for God. Stop trying to find the right buttons and just call out "I need God!" Believe me, He'll answer!

Remember these tips the next time you need someone (or Someone)- before you get frustrated!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Box Thoughts- Inside and Out

I saw a post the other day that said "Everyone tells me to think 'outside the box'- What's so wrong about thinking inside the box?" I posted something funny (as I usually do), but that comment got me thinking- what is so wrong about thinking inside the box?

Absolutely nothing!

Speaking as a mom with an Asperger son as well as being a creative thinker in my own right, I am quite familiar with 'outside the box' thinking. However, my husband is a well-grounded person, and tends to think more 'inside the box' than out. We make a well-balanced pair. He keeps me grounded, while I help him think creatively. Basically, we need both types in this world to have a good balance!

Imagine the inside thinkers as strings tied to solid ground. Imagine the outside thinkers as kites. A kite without a string just meanders around and sometimes crashes because there's nothing to guide it when the wind blows. A string without a kite just lays there unmoving, stagnant unless something comes along to motivate it. Together it's a good working relationship; the kite is grounded but can fly better, and the string helps control the flight. This is beneficial in any relationship including work, friendships, and family. Both thinkers need the other to become better.

Are you an inside the box thinker, or an outside the box thinker? Is there someone you get along with that thinks differently than you do? Try brainstorming with that person and see what great things you come up with!