Spoiler alert----I'm about to get sentimental.
(Pardon the interruption, I just had to turn on some sentimental, original music written by a dear friend of mine---you know who you are, Jon).
I miss my husband and my dogs. M.E. is celebrating her 11th birthday and I couldn't be there to partake in the timeless tradition of her grabbing her stuffed birthday cake. She chews and squeezes it until it "sings" Happy Birthday. No, I am stuck in San Antonio due to ice and "wintry mix" (a bit like Chex mix but.....not). My flight back to Tucson has been cancelled and rebooked four times in the last 8 hours. Maybe I'll get back tomorrow night.
I really love Dave and the girls and I physically ache with emotion when I can't get back to them after days of travel. Who, but Dave, will appreciate my stories of how passionate I am about my work? Who, but Dave, will laugh when I recount my tales of changing the lives of educators across the country? Who but L.N. will hug me tightly?
Someone else who knows the real me. Tonight, I am so very grateful for my dearest high school friend, Denise, who came to pick me up (rescued, more like) from the rental car company to take me to dinner before I was to fly out later this evening (when I was so naiive to think I would leave this fair, icy city this evening). As we ate dinner at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, she shared with me some thoughts about me and my life that only a true friend could totally relate. She held up a mirror to me and humbled me, like no one has done for me in a long time. Accolades and kudos from colleagues and acquaintances are like shiny things to me, sometimes. I love them. I crave them. But when a true and honest friend shares thoughts of deep respect, I am moved to tears. I was moved to tears.
You see, when people who truly know our hearts hold up a mirror and show us their image of our hearts, it is not only humbling but deeply gratifying. I have been supremely blessed in my life. God has given me a life of which I never could have dreamed as a young person. But it would all be for naught, if it were not for the love and honesty of true friends and family, and for that I am eternally grateful.
In the words of Nichole Nordeman from "Legacy":
"I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me,
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest.
And you can take my picture and hang it in a gallery of all the who's whos and so-and-sos that used to be the best at such-and-such. It wouldn't matter much.
I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights.
We all need an 'atta boy or 'atta girl.
But in the end, I'd like to hang my hat on more besides the temporary trappings of this world.
I want to leave a legacy. How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to you, enough to make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering. Child of mercy and grace, who blessed Your name, unapologetically. I want to leave a legacy."
Thank you, Denise, and your entire family for believing in me and our legacy.
Just for today, remember to tell people you love that you love them. Remember to tell people you appreciate, how much you appreciate them. It might just make your day as much as it does theirs.
As much as I believe clarity in communication is vital between humans, so it goes with GPS systems. I was driving a colleague to a dinner party at another colleague's home last night in my own SUV. As a starter, my friend had never been to Arizona so she was totally enamored with the cacti and the mountains. Great, I thought. She will have a chance to see some flora and fauna on our way to the dinner party. Not to mention the fact that we would all be at the home in time for a stunning Arizona sunset.
The first thing to note is that my GPS lady always begins the trip with "Follow the road". I always feel a bit like this is a rhetorical direction, because I am not planning on doing anything other than following the road. But....so be it.
As we get near the gated community to which we were headed, GPS lady told me to make a right. "Alrighty, will do" I told her, as I always want to be kind and courteous. As I began to turn right, I saw we were driving onto a dirt road. "Just curious....do gated communities in Arizona typically begin with a dirt road?" my friend asked. "Nope", I answered, but maybe they are just having work done, I thought. I thought I heard a little giggle of laughter from GPS lady but maybe not.
As we drove (slowly) down the dirt road, my dear friend began clapping her hands. "This is so much fun! I've always wanted to go off-road in the desert and mountains." "That's great", I smirked, "because I wanted to provide the most authentic Arizona experience possible. All of a sudden, we realized the dirt road was taking a very sharp decline down a hill as the road narrowed. Luckily, I was driving slowly or we both would have ended up with whiplash. We looked up to see two kids dirtbiking in front of us.
"you sure are silent, now, aren't you, GPS chica?' I remarked. Not a word!
As I turned around to go back out the way we came in (a harrowing experience in itself), I saw the GPS route re-calculate itself, looking like I should turn in the NEXT road instead of the original dirt one. "Oh! So maybe we just turned too early", I optimistically began.....
"Wheeeeee!" squealed my friend, enjoying the roller coaster ride.
Alas, as I made the next turn at the command "Turn right" from GPS Gal, I was despondent at seeing we were on yet another dirt road. "What in the world??" I asked outloud. "Whee!" said my friend. Total silence from GPS woman.
At this point, I admit other names for my GPS were coming to mind.
I looked at my friend and said, "Hope you are enjoying the scenery." "Why?" she asked, cautiously. "Did you bring me into the desert to strangle me, like in some bad horror movie?" "Yes", I deadpanned. "I only get to do that once a year and a consultant get-together seemed the perfect opportunity........" "No" I began again, "I just hope you enjoy the view of the sunset because I don't think we are making it to Ann's in time to see it from their veranda."
And still.....no sound from GPS Girl.
As we looked in front of us (the direction the GPS was telling us to go), directly in front of us......was a mountain. We both began giggling about "The bear went over the mountain...." but I turned around nonetheless.
When we finally were able to make our way to the guard hut at the gated community (which remarkably ended up being on a beautifully, well-paved road), the guard laughed when I told him our adventure. "Oh, GPS doesn't work to get here." Well, of course it doesn't!! We saw that the GPS had actually been correct. The house was located directly on the other side of that mountain! The only problem is we hadn't brought our helicopter to navigate the terrain. Next time, I thought.
As we drove down the road towards the gorgeous house in the dusk just after sunset, I heard GPS ________ say "Follow the road" in tandem with my friend saying "Wheeeeeeee!"
Just for today, we might want to use caution in listening to folks giving us direction and make sure they have our best interest in mind.
Let me start by saying that I don't particularly enjoy loading the dishwasher. Maybe I would like it more if my work was not scrutinized and re-wickered after completion. Yes, it's true. I may put glasses in where Dave would like the bowls to go. Technically, I may put in one plate one way and the next plate in the opposite direction. That just shows my easygoing nature, right? Au contraire say my husband.....and my sister......and my dear friend Michelle......and my husband's siblings.
You see, a few months ago, I wrote a song.....about the silverware.....in the dishwasher. You better come along with me, 'cuz it's not likely to get any more sane. Mayor of Crazy town? Maybe.
I'd be happy to hum the tune for you but the lyrics represent the five silverware "receptacles" in the dishwasher:
"Little spoon, Big spoon,
Little fork, Big fork,
Knives and other things."
I could apologize, but it is what it is----my organizational tool that people either find bat-poop crazy or quite logical. The reasoning, of course, (lest you question for an instant the wisdom in the practice) is that if you take 2 seconds to organize them into their little homes before the wash cycle, it takes seconds to drop them into their proper silverware tray receptacle after their bath.
Dave has just learned to shake his head and mutter something under his breath that sounds like, "Seriously, you'll put a bowl in there upside down knowing it will never get washed but you have to sing to me to organize the forks?"
Today, while teaching a workshop, I took a break to listen to a voice mail message from my sister. I so wish I could figure a way for you to hear her voicemail because the hearing it would be so much more powerful.
Her four-year old grand-daughter began the message singing (in pitch-perfect tone, by the way. Dawg! I am feelin' it), "Little spoon, big spoon, Little fork, big fork, Knives and other things" . Spot-on!! The song was followed by my sister saying, "And it moves to another generation."
My eyes teared up just a bit---not positive whether it was from being so touched or whether I was a bit sad that OCD apparently gets passed to grand-nieces. But no matter.....all is organized and well.
Let me start by saying I love food. Adore food, to be more precise. Being in NYC for work is.....well, it's cold right now, but besides that......a mecca for good food. I ate Thai food Wednesday night, met a dear friend for Italian food last night, and went to a Japanese restaurant for lunch today. Maybe I should also say "Don't hate, but I just don't 'get' Sushi". I understand that people all over the world are completely passionate about it and I want to like it, I really do, but....no.
But I saw on the menu that they had Bento Boxes for lunch specials and I thought to myself, "You've just walked all around Central Park in the snow and pretty cold weather" (don't even ask how many layers of clothing I had on to experience this phenomenon). "Why not try a Bento Box?" Add to that I was cold and the lunch special said it came with soup.....I'm in!
I walk in, ask for a table for one....so far, so good. The next trial was to remove 18 layers of clothing (about half) so I could open the menu. I ordered my Bento Box and a Diet Coke (Make new friends but keep the old, I always say), only to have the gal who waited on me return after a minutes to ask, "Did you really say you wanted the Teriyaki Chicken?" I nodded but looked around to see if someone might be shaking their head "No, no, no.....must not order that". No such input.
Miso soup came first. Perfect. Okay, really, it was just hot and that, in and of itself, was perfect. It came with one of those huge white, plastic spoons that makes me question whether or not it will fit in my mouth. It did---I was highly motivated.
Next came the Bento Box. Holy Cow!! Let me tell you what all came on this baby: a salad with ginger dressing, shrimp dumplings, a California roll (I'm not judging---I tried it), white rice and a good portion of Teriyaki Chicken and veggies. "This looks delicious", I said to the waitress. Smile. She walked away when I realized the issue. "Houston, we have a problem" I thought. No fork. Only chopsticks. Yes, I have tried them. No, I would rather use a fork.
So, I had to do the raising the hand of shame. "Can I please get a fork?" I asked. A collective sigh emitted from all members of the wait staff (I can't be certain of that last part, but I think that's what happened). She nodded slowly and went to find a fork (it actually took a few moments. Yikes!
I looked around the restaurant----NOBODY was using a fork. Dangit!!
After getting over my shame, I must say I truly enjoyed my lunch. The shrimp dumpling was delectable and the chicken, veggies and rice were excellent. I even semi-enjoyed the miniscule piece of California roll I put in my mouth.
A true success, I thought.......until the gal came to remove my plate and.......clang! clank! clang! the wicked fork fell to the floor! Just like in a movie where the slow motion scene begins, all eyes slowly turned towards me.
"Shameful" I think I heard a neighboring patron say.
I, on the other hand, was so proud of myself for stepping outside my comfort zone and enjoying it!!
Don't even ask how long it took me to put those layers back on to tackle the outside again!!
I am currently at 35, 000 feet (trust me, the captain just said so), on my way from Tucson, AZ to New York City, thinking about how grateful I am. Now, first of all, I haven't taken any drugs, lest you wonder how I could be grateful about going from a climate in which the sun set in pinks and purples over the mountains yesterday evening after a day of sitting in the 68 degree sun reading a novel and I am now headed to a climate of 8 degree temps.
I just read a quote that says something like: "The smile on my face doesn't mean my life is perfect. It means I appreciate how I have been blessed."
That is precisely how I feel today. I am grateful to have faith and serenity in my life, something I might have been lacking when I was younger.
I am extremely grateful to be married to a husband who is patient with my quirks and doesn't laugh outloud too much when he sees me doing the exact same things that used to annoy me when my quirky mother did them. Come to think of it, he may not laugh outloud at those times (like when I press "30 seconds" on the microwave four times instead of simply pressing 2 minutes for my hot water----it's habit) because he is silently contemplating whether or not he has to re-up the marriage commitment at 22 years.
I have three Labrador Retrievers who love me unconditionally. I know this because one of them (L.N., who just happens to be the largest, as luck would have it) sticks to me like Velcro every night in bed. I think she honestly misses me being a part of her pack when I am traveling. Dave misses me, then, even more as well, since L.N. exchanges me for Dave as her Velcro strip.
And, as I just turned in my first draft of my new book to the publisher (and I get ready for the onslaught of edits I will have to make before it is ready for print), I am extremely grateful for being able to do the kind of work I love to do---helping educators and administrators get even better at what they do via consulting, writing, and presenting workshops across the country. Granted, there are times I must endure airline food, personal habits of airline passengers that I may find questionable (oh no!! I just realized I forgot to put on deodorant this morning. I may soon be one of those people!), and possible delays or cancellations of flights, but the fact remains I love what I do and I'm doing what I love.
Just for today, my hope is that you are able to find those things for which you can be grateful.
Happy Communicating to all!