Finding humor in everyday occasions

OK, my last several posts have been a bit heavy, dark, melancholoy – sorry about that. Here’s a story that might make you smile – not really laugh out loud, but amusing.

My husband and I recently traveled to see our two youngest children, who are both in college at the same school. Our son is a freshman, and we have to keep reminding ourselves that college teaches kids so much more than physics and chemistry – there are so many life lessons that kids can learn outside the classroom while in college. (One could argue that many of those lessons should have already been learned, but with our son, that isn’t the case. He’s learning quite a lot about being “on his own”.)

Anyway, our son is pledging a fraternity which basically seems to involve being human labor for the fraternity brothers. During the weekend that we visited, our son was driving the brothers to a performance of a rap artist, “Wale”. We heard about the rapper (who, of course we didn’t know of before the discussion), learned about where the performance was going to be held and when and many other details about this event. Interesting to peek just a bit into our son’s world. The discussion recalled for me the kinds of discussions when I was a young child with my grandparents in which they would speak of some friend or occasion and I would have absolutely no idea of who or what they were speaking of, and despite their encouragement, I really didn’t care to know. It was sort of like that, only in reverse. I wasn’t likely to go download a bunch of his music and become a fan. But, we were interested in our son’s activities, but not really motivated to get a more in-depth experience from this musician.

So the next day, we walked to a Starbucks in a nearby hotel lobby to get our morning coffee. We were standing in line and none other than Wale himself strides by on his way out of the hotel. The young guy standing in line behind my husband was so excited. This guy was probably 21 years old and said, “Wow! That’s Wale! I’m so excited! I can’t believe he just walked by!”
To which my husband replied, “Yeah. Did you see his show last night at the (venue name)?” Well, you would have thought that my husband had asked the guy what planet he lived on. He looked at my husband (you should know that my husband has a full head of white – not gray – hair and is, shall we say, seasoned; meaning he can get discount coffee at McDonald’s) with this look of incredulity the guy said “You know who Wale is?” the guy asked. To which my husband proceeded to reply, “Yes” and give a number of other details about Wale that demonstrated he did. Of course all these details were learned only one day earlier from our son. Nevertheless, the guy was rattled. He had thought he was standing in line behind a really old guy and here this guy was cool enough to know about Wale. It seemed to force him to reevaluate his opinion of my husband. Anyway, it was really sort of funny in that ironic way.

I’ve seen a lot of this saying recently, and it really is true: “Pay attention to the little things. With time, you will realize that they are the big things.” This is a little story but it made me smile. What about you? What little things have made you smile lately?

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Live fully and don’t retreat

This quote is attributed to Mel Brooks, that brilliant, funny mind that brought us so much laughter. I love what it says and would love to live it out personally.

Have you read all the tributes to the late, great Steve Jobs, founder and saviour of Apple? One of his quotes that has been all over the blogospher is “You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” 

It was taken from a commencement speech he gave at Stanford University in June, 2005. He had already been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the time of the speech, so perhaps mortality was more on his mind. There are many wonderful bits of advice in that speech, not the least of which are his final words to that group “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

This advice is a bit different than that of Mel Brooks, but, to me, says a bit of the same thing – keep going, and be true to yourself.

Have you ever been at a life crossroads and had to choose a direction? Sometimes it feels like jumping off a cliff, sometimes it feels like a warm embrace, but both occasions require you to go forward, and not retreat.

I’ve been studying that a lot lately and have found inspiration in all those that seek to make a difference and elect to do things that are so very cool – especially, when I read about accomplishments by some that happen later in life.

What about you? What are you moving toward? How and where do you find the courage? What inspires you? Care to share?

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Silence is golden

Ever have one of those days/weeks/months where you feel generally in a slump? That’s where I am right now. I don’t have anything much to comment on (despite the fact that there is much going on in the world today). Hence the title of today’s post.

What do you do to bring yourself out of the doldroms? How or where do you find your inspiration or muse? What changes in scenery do you seek?

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Learn to admire without the need to acquire

So I read this on a blog recently (Newlywed Diaries – yes, I know….I’ve been married 21 years, but bear with me now….I got to this blog from another blog…Haven and Home and like the father in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” says, “So, there you go! Anyway, I digress!)

Do you ever find that you fall victim to the big, green-eyed monster envy? It is insidious. Some companies’ marketing approach is built on it. They show you stuff that you don’t have and work very hard to make you feel like to have to have it and you become very envious of those that do. Or, you go to someone’s lovely home and rather than simply admiring the lovely setting, the nugget of jealousy creeps in and you become envious of the owner of this house. Come on, admit it, you’ve been there. Maybe it came over you when you got an email from someone and you saw at the bottom, “Sent from my iPad2” and you realized you don’t have an iPad2 or even an iPad …..hmmmmm, that envy creeps in.

Well, the saying “Learn to admire without the need to acquire” seems to apply. I am going to work diligently to adopt this mantra. I really like it. It gets right to the heart of the matter. It doesn’t even send the guilt that “Count your blessings” sometimes does, at least for me. It simply suggests that we admire, without feeling that we have to do anything to try to match up.

I’m going to try it. What about you? What opens the door to your green monster of envy? How do you keep him at bay?

(I’m writing this upon hearing the news that Apple icon and master marketer, Steve Jobs, has died. What a legacy he built. RIP, Mr. Jobs. We love the products you brought to us.)

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Keep on keeping on….

I’m at that age in life when my world is again shrinking rather than expanding. It’s all part of that Lion King “Circle of Life” thing, but it feels funny. There was a time when everything that happened was big – big groceries, big family, big laundry, big, full schedules, big minivan….it was because we had 4 kids in the house. Busy was our usual mode.

Now, we are empty nesters. Our house is quiet. Our grocery bills are small and our laundry is light. Interesting change of pace. Some very nice elements to it. However, the change is one that I’ve yet to fully accept, if I’m being honest.

I’ve always loved quiet and solitary pursuits, but lately, it feels a little too much like a blanket over my head – a little bit warm and cozy, but also a little suffocating.

How about you? How do you handle transitions in life? How do you discover the next curiosity? How do you illuminate the smaller path?

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Finding a good fit

Several of my friends posted this image and quote online recently, and I found it really spoke to me! As I see it, sometimes the measurement we use to evaluate a person should be to determine “what is the talent they bring?”

In other words, being comfortable in your own skin, and allowing others the same thing. Each of us truly is a child of God, with talents and gifts the are divinely given. Why then, do we try to fit everyone into the same mold? (Maybe you don’t do that, but often I do!).

My children are a perfect example of this. Despite their shared genetics, they are very different from one another – different interests, different personalities, different goals. I am sometimes tempted to try to group them together and judge them by a common measuring stick. Of course, I shouldn’t be judging them at all, but that’s a topic for another post! Anyway, at any one point in time, I should use a clock to measure one child, a measuring stick for another child and a tuning fork for the next – you get the idea. Further, I can’t even use the same measuring device over time. For each child, I might need to use a ruler one day and a measuring cup the next.

While that presents a challenge, it also presents such blessings. Their rich diversity is what yields such a cornucopia of delight. I’m pleased that they are so different – both from each other and from me and their father. They all seem to “fit” differently in their own skin – sometimes better than other times, even. But, thankfully, they are forging their own pathway. And in the end, isn’t that when we are most happy – when we are forging our own path and comfortable in our own skin?

What do you think? Do you ever feel that you are being judged (or judging) by the wrong measuring stick? What unique talents do you possess and how do you get comfortable if your talent doesn’t line up with the one you are expected to use? How do you adjust?

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Mixed blessings

It’s Friday – whew! I’ve had mixed blessings recently. My youngest son is home from college, for the first time. He’s a freshman and enjoying the college experience, and willing to share it with me. However, he’s now in that strange sort of “man without a country” phase – he enjoys being home and we enjoy his being here, but he’s already, in just a few weeks, become accustomed to not having to live with our rules – “being on his own” if you will. He wants his evening to begin at 10 PM and that is tough for us – mainly because of when it means his evening will end – early in the morning.

I recall my mother relating a similar experience when my brother and I would return home from college and leave disarray, dirty dishes in the sink and piles of shoes and clothes and newspapers in our wake. She said my father, a very wise man of few words, asked her “Would you rather that they not be here and for it to be all neat and clean?” Sort of puts it all into perspective.

So, I’m working to see more of the “blessing” and to ignore more of the “mixed” part.

How about you? What sort of mixed blessings do you have each day? How do you tip the scale to blessing?

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