Posted in Mind

Who’s Kind to Hotel Lounge Players?

During my time in Nashville I noticed acts of kindness … good, sweet kindness, one person to another … doing things they won’t have to do. I want to be kind and since I learn by observing and by writing, I wrote down a few things I saw … and decided to share them with you.

Think Kind Bracelet Project #1photo © 2008 Debra Roby | more info (via: Wylio)

Kindness at the Dream Year Weekend:

Dream Year was held at Cross Point Church, so Sunday morning we attended one of their four Sunday services. Pete Wilson is the pastor … and he’s a rock star. No, actually he’s a country star. He and his family were in Taylor Swift’s “Mine” video this past summer. So his world is busy … but I saw kindness all around him as he stopped and talked to many people in the lobby, including a handshake and a hello to me.

Kyle Reed, the tech guy, graciously put my pictures into a powerpoint … and then apologized profusely when circumstances beyond his control made it impossible to show them.

I saw many open doors for others and clearing other people’s trash off tables. (and you know how gross that can be – especially when your finger accidently touches the leftover food that might have touched the other person’s mouth … yeeaw)

Kindness around town:

Technology made some kindness possible. As I got into town, I tweeted something about arriving in Nashville. Katie Strandlund promptly responded WELCOME!!!! sorry it’s so dreary. But, it’s a great place nonetheless. if you are a coffee drinker check out Crema! :) I checked out Crema and it was the perfect coffee shop to spend my free hour in.

Another day and place, a cafeteria waitress fell over herself to show me the vegetarian options after I asked if one of the dishes had meat in it … she even offered to make me a special dish for me.

Drumroll please … the kindness award goes to my roommate – Jamie!

I met Jamie once two years ago and we’ve connected sporadically online. When we both booked Dream Year, we decided to room together. Jamie’s a busy gal! Her day job is in law enforcement. On the side, she’s a life coach and dreams of helping others find their extraordinary purpose.

Jamie might be from the upper peninsula of Michigan, where there is nothing but snow for about 350 days a year (that may be a slight exaggerate) but she is anything but cold. I saw her show kindness to people that I can easily ignore.

I drove by the homeless men on the street corners selling newspapers thinking that I should buy one. Want to know my wimpy excuse for not doing so? I didn’t want to roll down my window in the cold – pathetic!

During a conversation about something else, Jamie happened to mention that she bought a paper from two different guys. Two!

She rolled her window down twice!

On Monday evening, the entertainer in our hotel lounge played, sang and told jokes trying to get his small audience involved. No one was interested … each person was lost in their own world or in a conversation with someone. I wished he would just play … you know, serve us with good music while we relaxed. Why should we have to give him any energy? Jamie clapped after each song and before we left, she walked up to him, encouraged him in his efforts and wished him well.

Jamie … I know you weren’t working as a coach that weekend, but I think I owe you for the coaching about kindness you gave me by simply being you. Thank you!

Kindness … I saw. I learned (hopefully) I aim to do the same!

What acts of kindness have you done or seen someone else do lately?

Sunday Sayings … ‘Impossible’ Dreams

This is the notebook cover designed by Mitch Bolton for the Dream Year Weekend I was at in Nashville. This picture doesn’t do justice to the notebook … it is one sharp notebook.

The producer of Dream Year, Ben Arment explains the cover … “The cover is JK Rowling’s handwritten storyline plots for Harry Potter, which is the perfect “demystification” of a great dream. All inspiration requires perspiration.”

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Ben is all about encouraging others to pursue their dreams … soak up the following quotes Ben had in the notebook about believing in your dream even when others don’t.

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” -Decca Recording Company, rejecting the Beatles, 1962

“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” - Lord Kelvin, President, The Independent Scientific Academy of the UK, 1895

“Wasting her time. She’s too shy to put her best foot forward.” -Drama School that dismissed Lucille Ball.

“The telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.” - Wester Union internal memo, 1876

“There is a world market for maybe five computers.” - Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

“He is too stupid to learn anything. he should go into a field where he might succeed by the virtue of his pleasant personality.” - Thomas Edison’s teacher

“Lacked imagination and had no original ideas.” -The reason a newspaper gave for firing Walt Disney.

“You’re not good enough.” - Ben Arment’s first boss when he proposed the idea of producing a large multi-media event.

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Just as each of the first seven quotes was proven false with time … so was the last one. Ben can produce great multi-media events! Congrats Ben on some great productions so far … STORY 09, STORY 10 and Dream Year Nashville. I look forward to seeing what you produce in the future.

Those events are now all in the past … but there’s more happening. If you want motivation to pursue a dream you have or help in figuring out what your dream is … there is a Dream Year Weekend happening in June in Washington DC. I encourage you to consider attending it … info here.

You are unique and you are enough. You have as much value and potential as the next person … so think/process/pray and then dream impossible dreams. Why not? All the people in the above quotes did and they are/were just people like you.

Do you have dreams … that seem impossible?

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Hobos and Tramps

It’s Silly Saturday. As a kid, I often said this ditty, so I taught it to my boys. They all three learned it at an early age and can still say it today. Over the years, if they tried to excuse bad schoolwork by saying they can’t memorize things … I’d remind them that they memorized this well.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitos and bow-legged ants,

I come here before you
To stand behind you.
To tell you something
Which I know nothing about.

On Tuesday,
Which is Good Friday,
There will be a Father’s Day meeting
For Mother’s only.

Admission is free,
Pay at the door.
Pull up a chair
And sit on the floor.

Our guest speaker will be Mr. Cucumber
Who sailed down the Miss Sloppy River
With the Declaration of Independence in his right hand
And the Star Spanked Banana in his left.


I wrote this from my memory and I think my cousins taught it to me … so in my mind they are the authors. Google brings up many versions of it with a lot of potential sources, ranging from 1960 to 1480, so who knows.

Have you heard this? Do you have any poems/verses from childhood that you can still recite?
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Thankful Thursday – Post 11

If it won’t be for my recent trip to Nashville, I’d have to force myself to find things to be thankful for today — I arrived home Tuesday evening in time for a major snowstorm starting on Wednesday morning. Since I prefer warm temps, a bright sun and the beach, I’m ignoring the snow and thinking about the past week.

I am thankful for:

1. Four days of rooming, reconnecting and running with Jamie.

2. Meeting Alice Sullivan, my editor (feels so odd to type my in front of editor) Because of all the obstacles and options in the publishing industry I’ve hired an editor before I even try to publish. Not only am I thankful that I met her … but I am so thankful for her, she is perfect! Funny, smart, real and wears funky clothes. Plus she doesn’t like pink either! And she also prefers handshakes to hugs … when we first met, we were both trying to be friendly and warm, so we exchanged an awkward hug. She paused a second and said, “You’re not a hugger either, are you?” Love her!

3. Meeting Rachel Held Evans … author of Evolving in Monkey Town. What a fun evening! She’s working her fingers to the bone for her new project, Biblical Womanhood. She was having a Sewing Saturday, so I went over thinking I’d help her with some sewing projects. Instead I sat around, talked, ate pizza, drank wine and did nothing constructive while some sharp college girls knitted scarves all night. I tried my hand at making a Proverbs 31 sash, but the sewing machine refused to cooperate with me. (guess I blew my chances of being in the book or I’ll be in as the Proverbs 31 fail)

4. Reconnecting with Gayle … she lived in my area years ago, but has been living in Nashville for the last decade or so. Found out she is a writer for the country music scene for The Boot – AOL’s country site. Cool! Check out her latest articles here.

5. Being able to run again. I am thankful for this everyday, but was especially thankful when Nashville had one warm day (temps near 50) and Jamie and I did a 5-mile run/walk through the city. There’s something about running in an area that makes me feel like I’ve ‘connected’ with it better.

Your turn … what are you thankful for today?

Let the Planning Begin!

Last Thursday when I arrived in Nashville, it was cold and it snowed about an inch. I was miserable and told you about it.

Yesterday Nashville warmed up with temps near 50F … yeah! Jamie and I went for a run/walk through the city along the river. I love running in a new area. I love warmer temps. I was happy all day.

Between the difference in the weather while here and the thoughts/ideas about pursuing your dreams and passions I heard at the Dream Year Weekend … I’ve come to an important conclusion.

'pensi+grain' photo (c) 2008, Roxanna Salceda - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
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I’m done saying ‘someday’ … today is the day to being making plans. To take a step or two down the path towards living the life I (and Jerry) have dreamed of. To stop procrastinating. To begin planning.

Jerry and I have only lived in Pennsylvania. For the past twenty years, we have often said we are moving south ‘someday.’ In 2003, we sold our business, house and everything except our necessities (we were  minimalist before being minimalist was cool) and we planned to travel for about a year. While traveling, we had frequent conversations about where we’d live when the trip was over.

We hadn’t made a firm decision about where to live when I was injured in the accident that ended the trip about four months earlier than planned. Naturally, we moved home to family and friends … there’s nothing like being near loved ones during a time of crisis.

Fast forward to today … about 6 1/2 years post-accident. I’ve recovered well, but my injuries/scars complain more in the cold. This weekend I’ve decided, I am done complaining and it’s time to take action. I still love my family and friends, but I’m finished with winter! Done … can’t do it anymore.

Let the planning begin!

Our criteria is … warm temps and water … so should it be near the coast of South Carolina, Florida or Texas? Or somewhere else?

Yes, there are many things to think about … most importantly our boys. The older two are in college, the youngest graduates from highschool in June, not sure what his next steps will be … so we have lots of brainstorming to do.
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This post is part of a Blog Carnival and the word today is winter. How appropriate on the day I decide I can’t take more of winter.
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Posted in Thankful

Things I am not thankful for:

Most Thursdays I do a post about things I’m thankful for … yesterday I did one. I think being intentional about finding things to be thankful for is important. It makes me aware of all the good things in my life.

But in the interest of living a balanced life … I offer you today’s post … Things I am not thankful for:

Snow

Ice

Cold

Ice

Cold

Snow

I’m in Nashville this weekend … happy, happy to be here. Great meeting Alice Sullivan (she’s editing my book) last night … looking forward to the Dream Year Weekend starting tonight.

Incase any of you need a geography lesson … Nashville is south of Pennsylvania, it’s not as far south as Florida, but it’s south! So I headed south thinking I’m getting away from the snow/ice/cold crap that PA is getting today.

So excuse me Nashville … an inch of snow last night and 20 degrees? What the … ??

Taken from my hotel window, should have gone outside to get a better picture, but had no desire to freeze.

I had plans to find a local trail and enjoy Tennessee air, but now I’ll be hitting the dreadmill. Next conference/event/etc. I plan to go to better be in Key West, FL!

It’s Key West for me … where would you like to attend an event at?

Thankful Thursday – Post 10

Lists are a blogger’s friend and being thankful is your friend … and if it isn’t, you should change that.

Lists are a fun and easy change of pace … you don’t need to write creative sentences, think about describing things accurately or try to explain complex issues in less than 500 words.

And being thankful is an important key to a happy life … and should happen regularly. As I go through life, I try to be aware of things that I am grateful for.

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1. Weather above 30F last Sunday and two running buddies to do a five-mile run with … the first official training run for the half-marathon I plan to do on April 9th.

2. A fun party with friends on Sunday evening.

3. Guest posting, a new venture for me. Shawn Smucker and I exchanged guest posts — yesterday he posted here on my blog and last Wednesday I posted on his site.

4. A safe flight to Nashville this morning (this is called positive thinking, because I posted this at 5AM before I headed to the airport for my 8AM flight)

5. The fun of dreaming about this five days to Nashville. Meeting the editor I hired to help make my book sellable, meeting old and new friends, and attending the Dream Year weekend.

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Being thankful should be contagious like yawning … so it’s your turn now, leave a comment with something you are thankful for … it could start a chain reaction.

One Spoonful at a Time – guest post by Shawn Smucker

It’s a year of firsts for me … today I have my first guest poster!

Shawn Smucker is a writer who has been involved with some cool writing projects that have included soft pretzels, Amish, big feet and “blessing’s, stupid“. Shawn blogs at Shawn Smucker … where he loves to explore the meaning of serious things like purpose and identity and some not so serious things about living in Paradise. (yes, he seriously lives in Paradise)

Here’s a great piece by him about making time to do things you are passionate about.

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A lot of people walk around these days like they’re in prison. I know, I know, they are free to come and go as they please. They aren’t serving a sentence behind bars…but you wouldn’t necessarily know it if you spoke with them. Or watched how they live their lives.

“Back to the old grind,” they say on Mondays, or after holidays.

“I hate my job. I wish I could do what I want to do,” they say.

“Thank goodness it’s Friday.”

Any of these sentiments sound familiar? Most people don’t even know they’re trapped inside a prison. Most people don’t realize there is an entire world of purpose and vision and excitement waiting for them. As Henry David Thoreau said,

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

* * * * *

Ever seen the movie Shawshank Redemption? It’s basically the story of a man in prison. All appearances would suggest that this man, Andy Dufresne, is going about his daily routine as someone who has given in to serving out his life sentence. He helps in the library. He takes care of the warden’s bookkeeping, he wanders aimlessly around the prison yard.

But appearances can be deceiving.

* * * * *

Do you ever feel like you are living in a prison? Do you ever feel trapped by your life? There’s something you can do: each and every day spend a little time doing something you are passionate about.

At first it seems like a small thing, really…writing for thirty minutes, or running a mile, or working in your garden. But there is something waiting for anyone who commits even a small amount of time to doing something they love.

Freedom.

* * * * *

Years after Andy is incarcerated, he escapes. Turns out that every night he was using a tiny rock hammer, usually used to make small stone sculptures, to chip through the prison wall in his cell. He covered the hole every day with a poster. And each day, when he appeared to be wandering aimlessly through the prison yard? Andy was actually emptying out spoonfuls of dirt from inside the rolls of his jeans.

It took him years and years to dig that hole, one spoonful at a time.

The final scene of the movie shows Andy walking slowly down a crystal white beach in Mexico. It’s a striking contrast from the gray drabness of the prison.

Freedom is always a striking contrast from an imprisoned life.

* * * * *

I ask again: do you feel trapped by your life?

Do just one thing you are passionate about. One spoonful at a time. And one day you’ll realize.

You’re free.

Posted in Thinking

Confusing Verses at JesusNeedsNewPR

Sometimes when I read the Bible, certain verses confuse me … totally confuse me. They make no sense. I’ve thought about doing a post with some of the odd verses asking you what you think of them.

Today Matthew Paul Turner did a post called Insane (Inspired?) Bible Verses! where he posted some confusing verses … so instead of me doing my own post, go read them at Jesus Needs New PR.

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the questions he asks … What do you think about these verses? Are they inspired?

Sunday Sayings – Body, Mind, Spirit

A few sayings from various sources about the connection of our body, mind and spirit … and the value of taking care of each one.

3 treesphoto © 2009 Melody | more info (via: Wylio)

If you nurture your mind, body, and spirit, your time will expand. You will gain a new perspective that will allow you to accomplish much more. – Brian Koslow

A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. - A Proverb

To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. ~Buddha

How do you nurture your body? What about your mind? And your spirit? Is one of the three easier than the others for you to nurture?