Friday, April 11, 2014

3 Things You Should Know...at the risk of stating the obvious

 Yes, at the risk of stating the obvious...
 I recently found out that some people don't know these things:
1. Milk comes from cows.
2. Eggs come from chickens.
And as my once tiny son ask,
"Mom, do cows come from hamburger meat?"
So...
3.  Yes, cows come from hamburger meat!
 
There ya' go!
At the risk of stating the obvious, 
those are the three things I think you should know.
 
You're welcome!
:)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

5 Tips For Overcoming Shyness

I'm shy.
Painfully shy.
As I child I remember hiding behind Mother,
not wanting to be seen.
 
Fifth grade was extremely difficult.
I remember talking to my mother.
Crying.
Waking from bad dreams at night.
 
I quickly realized if I were to survive,
I must learn to cope.
It took years,
learning,
growing,
developing to overcome.
 
It's still there.
Inside.
With our businesses and customers,
I can't come across as shy...uncertain.
This is what I've learned.
Maybe these 5 tips will help you too.
 
1.  Smile: 
 Make your eyes twinkle.
  Others are drawn to happy people and it makes them wonder what you've been doing. 
 
2.  Make eye contact:
 Practice awareness of your surroundings
 and make eye contact with other people. 
 As you do this you realize how many other people are struggling with similar issues.  You can see worry or weariness or shyness etched in their countenance too and you realize you aren't so all alone. Then it is easier to reach out.
 
3. Compliment the other person: 
You don't have to know someone to compliment them.
 People like to be noticed,
 to feel special,
 to realize someone is noticing them. 
Throw your attention off yourself and get them talking about their interests.  Mention their cute purse or shoes.  Tell them they are doing a great job.
 
4. Shake hands:
  Most generally, in American culture,
 when meeting someone new it is appropriate to shake their hand and clearly state your name
 ("Hello, I'm Rachel.  It's my pleasure to meet you.")
 I will be honest. 
 For me this is difficult, but I find it to be very effective, because it adds a personal touch that most people won't take time to do.  I try to always do this. Use discretion, occasionally it isn't appropriate.  With practice it gets easier.
 
5.  Mimic their body language:
Subconsciously, when you subtly "mirror"
the other person's body language, 
 they feel understood and barriers to communication come down.
 This takes practice too, because it is SUBTLE. 
 Did you read SUBTLE?
 
Those are the 5 things I've found most effective in overcoming my shyness,
 or should I say,
 trying to not appear painfully shy. 
 
Try it.
Make it a game.
You will see progress.
It takes time.
 
 I work at this constantly.
Sometimes I "flub up".
 
But I keep trying.
Now you know some of my deepest and darkest secrets.
And that is painful!
I think I will go hide in a closet...
and sew on a wedding dress...
to assuage my pain, you know!
 
My daughter tells me I make friends everywhere I go.
She thinks it's effortless.
 
Ah! If she only knew the truth,
the hard fought truth.
Honestly, she and I have talked about these things,
how circumstances in fifth grade shaped me.
 
I'm an "over comer"!
I want to teach her to overcome
now in fifth grade.
 
Are you shy?
What have you done to overcome?



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Funny Face!

 Isn't cropping photos an amazing thing?  
 I remember cropping photos in high school
 the "old fashioned" way with a slide rule "gizmo thingy".
I think we called it a "cropper".
  And even back then I thought it was amazing.
It is one of the fun things about photo editing...
in my opinion.
  A cropped photo can certainly change your perspective.
It can tell a different story.
 A  "cropped mind set" can form your perspective too.
Perspective is the way WE see things,
not the way our spouse sees things,
nor the way our children see things.
And OUR perspective comes from
our experiences,
our emotions,
our current circumstances,
our current peer pressure.

I enjoy trying to see life from different perspectives.
In my mind I imagine a different scenario and try to think how I might see things differently if the situation were changed.
I try to feel and see things the way others may feel and see.
I know ultimately it is impossible, but it is fun to try.
Just like cropping a photo!
 
Is it hard for you
to put yourself in another person's situation
and try to see things from their perspective?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No Foolin' Here

 "Are you foolin' me?" 
 I chuckled to myself
 as I looked out the  upstairs window
 of the sleeping porch. 
 The redbone coon hound pup
had perched himself on the
 "seesaw"
 or "teetertotter"
 or the "up and down thingy"
 of the play set. 
 Yeah, what do you call that thing? 
Have you ever seen a dog on a playground?
 Well, there he sat, pretty as could be. 
He had scooted the board sideways and off track.
 He seemed quite proud of his accomplishment. 
 He saw me taking his picture too,
 and slowly looked away,
 modestly,
 then slowly back again.
No I'm not foolin'.
 
  I was overjoyed to see
 that there is green grass peeking through
all the brown in the lawn!
How does that happen?
The earth has been frozen solid for weeks
and yet the roots revive with the slightest hint of warmth and sun.
 
For about "five glorious seconds" I could almost believe
that Spring is just around the corner!
 That's no foolin' either!
Soon we will be doing more
 than walking back and forth
 across the floor boards of the porch,
from the door to the steps
and the steps to the door,
 as the temperature warms up
 so will the awesome conversations we have here.
 
 Someone,
 the other day, was asking about my blog.
Why I've been silent they wanted to know.
 
I overheard my husband's response.
"Well,"
 he said, 
 "she hasn't been gone because she wants to be gone. 
 And it's certainly not because she's been sitting around doing nothing."
 
ah I LOVE him...I'm gonna keep him
 
My husband says to tell everything!
 
No foolin'.
 
What do you do when the ideas won't stop?
Your brain is full?
well sort of
Your heart is full?
yes certainly
The stories keep coming?
Life keeps happening?
 
There is so much adventure
and sorrow
and joy
and insight
and love
 
and highs
and lows
and change
 
and above it all a place of
quiet Peace.
 
What do you think about it all?
 
 
 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I've Said This Before ~ I'm Saying It Again

When I was a kid,
not so very long ago,
 I can remember my mother, Ernesteen Frances, saying,
 "When my daddy died, I just wanted to lie down and die too, but I realized I couldn't just lie down and die just because I wanted to, so I kept going."
My parents were tenacious,
faithful,
dependable,
stick to it,
finish the project,
keep working for a better tomorrow,
see the good,
help others,
kind of people.
So when I feel my hope fading,
feel my faith quaking,
my trust ebbing,
among other things, I remember their example,
and I put on my
 "Ernesteen Frances Smile"
and square my
"Gordon Wilson Shoulders"
and I...
Don't Quit
(I've shared this poem before on my blog but you need to read it today...I just know you do...I do too!)
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than...
...It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
anonymous
 
Of course, I have no idea of the challenges some of you may be facing, but I've lived long enough to know that everyone is dealing with something.
And some of you have shared your stories with me and my heart breaks for your loss, your grief, your uncertainty, your frustration.
 Please be encouraged to keep seeking for truth and wisdom for every situation you face.
  Life is lived second by second...all adding up to today and tomorrow and another day and it all passes so quickly.
Don't quit making each second be the best it can be.  It may not be perfect.  In fact it may be gut wrenchingly hard and difficult and yucky and awful blah, but always strive to make it the best possible in the middle of awful.
Or you could go eat some ice cream...
OR
popcorn.
Yeah, popcorn always works!




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 
My parents, Gordon Wilson and Ernesteen Frances Easley, are in the center of this photo. 
  It includes my nine older siblings, a brother in law and my parent's first born grandson. 
I am not in it. 
I treasure this photo. 





Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Just Waitin' For A Chance To Chat!

It's NOT because I have NOTHING to say...
 
Oh no, it's just because I'm careful what I say,
 
How I say it
 
AND
 
When I say it!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I'm Just Not Gonna Tell You All That Stuff

I could tell you all about the Christmas decorations being down and put away. Or I could tell you how once they were put away we painted two rooms, starting one at 10:30 at night, but I'm not gonna.
And I could tell you how a flash flood came up in our yard and street  late on a Saturday night.  Or I could tell you how much I miss you when I'm not here and you aren't here, but I'm not gonna.  Well I guess I just did.
And I could tell you how I think every wedding dress I work on is the most beautiful one I've ever seen...usually.  But I've got two more coming next week and a bridesmaid's dress too, so we will see!
Or I could tell you how breath takingly beautiful the snow was.
And I could tell you that at 15 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, it was nearly impossible to clear the  state roads and Interstate, let alone the side streets and county roads. I mean, I wasn't trying to clear them personally,
 but it appeared the "official street cleaner off-people" were having trouble doing it.
And I could tell you how much I loved driving around in the snow one night taking night time snow photos.
And I could tell you how beautiful I think these pine trees are.
And I could tell you how much fun it is to just watch people, when I'm supposed to be watching our Indiana Pacers pull off a win against the other team.
And I could tell you how my sons laughed when they saw this sign because they said I could have made it. 
 When all along, what I have said is,
"Remember we don't live according to the status quo. We do our best. We don't have to be like everyone else." 
 I guess they heard me say something different!
And our daughter couldn't figure out why they thought it was so funny. 
 Bless her heart.
I love her.
I will keep her.
I will keep the boys too!
And I could tell you how much more fun it is to sit on the porch when the flowers are blooming,
 but I realize you probably already know that.
And I could tell you about fixing a broken zipper in a certain college student's backpack because buying a new one would be a colossal waste of money. 
 At least that's what he said.
But if I told you all that stuff I figure it would probably bore you.  And I could tell you how just because I'm not posting here,
 every single day right now,
 doesn't mean I don't have anything to say. 
 But life sometimes gets in the way of posting. 
 However today, yes today, is the day I have to take time to tell you this. 
 I'm not exactly sure why today is the day, but it is.
January 2008, was the last time I was back to the home that I grew up in.  It was important to me to go down to the native stone basement and take a photo of this appliance that our family called "the deep freeze".  This is where we kept our frozen food.  With 10 children, this was a very valuable item for my mother to keep her family adequately fed.  I'm pretty sure in 2008 this old chest freezer was still working. 
 
Years before, after I graduated high school and wanted to go to college, I was having a discussion with Mother about the cost of college and how we would pay for it and such concerns that were weighing me down.  My parent's were living "the Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace lifestyle" probably before Dave Ramsey was even born if I'm truly honest about it, though I don't know how old Dave Ramsey is. 
I knew that loans were out of the question for college, and my parents never ever had a credit card, so we just did things a little differently, I suppose.  Well yeah, we did things differently.
 
Anyway, as I was voicing my concerns about expense and college and money, my mother stopped me with her soft wisdom and said, "Rachel, you know when Carlton (my oldest brother) went away to college, I was so overwhelmed and fretful.  I had no idea how we were going to make it and live and pay for college, but I remembered that we had just bought "the deep freeze".  It was brand new, and I knew it still had value.  I realized that if we had to we could sell "the deep freeze" to pay for Carlton's college and we would be fine.  Now all nine of the other children have gone to college, and it's going to work out for you the way it is supposed to work out."
 
And it did.
 
And it has, I guess.
 
I think Carlton went to college in 1955 and there in 2008 still sat "the deep freeze".
 
I wish I could be like Mother.  My husband says I probably am.
 
I will be honest. My heart breaks for my family and friends who are struggling with life issues, death of loved ones, terminal illness, financial struggles, children with problems and you know how the list goes on.  It seems no one is exempt from struggles.  In our humanity there are situations that we simply can't fix.  It just has to work out the way it is supposed to work out.   There are concerns in our life that can give me overwhelming fear, if I let it consume me. I absolutely cannot bear the weight of it. I have to keep bringing myself back to the arms of the Great Shepherd, where I have no needs. HE knows best, provides best, IS best.  I can only try to do my best to dwell in that place of PEACE.  I try to make the best decision each minute and trust that it will add up to a life lived well.
 
So, "the deep freeze" old, rusty, dinged up from use, and even spray painted to spruce it up again,  since the summer after graduating high school, has been an icon of provision, and a landmark to remind me to hold steady, stay the course, have faith and trust, even when I feel it ebbing away.
 
So nope, I'm not gonna tell you ALL that other stuff...only this: "the deep freeze"
 and for some reason,
today was the day.
 
Hold on you guys. 
 
Until I'm back, I send love and prayers your way.