Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is Chivalry Dead?

I was walking out of the store, cradling my drink and trying to keep from spilling it as I shoved my wallet back into my purse.
A group of siblings had just reached the entrance as I opened the first set of doors. Their mother trailed a few feet behind. I held the heavy door open so the kids wouldn't have to struggle with it.
Four little girls skipped in ahead of their brother - he couldn't have been older than five. The little boy politely held the outer door open for his mother. He smiled up at her earnestly as she thanked him. I held the other door open for him, expecting him to hurry through behind his mom.
He waited. I waited.
I looked at him. He looked at me.
For a few seconds we both stood there, still holding the doors for each other.
"Go ahead," I encouraged. "It's okay--"
He cut me off with a shake of his head and a shy smile.
"Nope," he said, opening the door a little wider.
He was determined.
I grinned, unable to hide my pride and delight in the little gentleman. This child was actually going to hold the door for me. Already a sweet gentleman at such a young age.

I thanked him on my way out. He gave me a high five.

Here's to the hardworking moms who teach their sons kindness, respect, and courtesy.
To the sons who listen.
To the daughters who are grateful.
And to the little stranger who reminded me:
Chivalry is most definitely not dead.

Don't worry, little ladies.
The future is looking pretty bright.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


A huge thank-you to THIS lady.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Difference

Consider the definitions of two elementary words: listening and hearing. To hear is defined as “to perceive by ear.” To listen is described as “to concentrate on hearing.”
Our culture today widely accepts hearing and listening to be interchangeable, one and the same. Unfortunately, we are disregarding the difference between the words and the fact that we, as humans, are programmed with an exigent need to communicate. Without effective listening skills, we cannot effectively communicate, and without effective communication we cannot effectively build natural human relationships. We are slowly but most definitely losing the ability to shape and support those bonds.
How often do we catch ourselves merely “hearing” what others are trying to say? How often do we actually remember the words spoken? Listening has an influence in every aspect of our life; work, school, home, and in our social lives. Just hearing can only get us so far. Listening provides us with necessary knowledge as well as testifies that you can actually listen. When we practice convincing and direct listening, we are proving to others that yes, we care, and yes, we have the desire to understand what they are sharing.
Catching and understanding the difference between hearing and listening is such a crucial quality. So many times I have tried communicating a point to someone who just couldn’t listen. They didn’t know how. The thought briefly wisped through their mind and was lost in the void. I felt unimportant and neglected. The listener (or “hearer”) couldn’t even remember half the things I said, most of which were actually important to me. This revelation broke my confidence; I felt as if my opinions didn’t matter. Whether the topic is more trivial like peanut butter cookies (and how I truly don’t like peanut butter) or actually a thought worth knowing, I’m constantly finding myself in “bad listener” situations.
What if we treated our managers and coworkers with such disrespect? What about our spouses or children? Our friends and neighbors? Obviously the outcome wouldn’t be too positive. By failing to communicate correctly we bar ourselves from keeping close those who are important to us. People begin to mistrust us and feel that their thoughts and words are not important enough to be given our attention. It takes a shot at their confidence, making them even less likely to trust you with their information.
Every person communicates differently. Sometimes we really are listening but don’t seem to be paying attention. My father, who has been struggling with hearing problems all his life, has to physically and visually show that he is listening. We’re never quite sure if he actually heard us or not until he’s able to prove it. By establishing a habit of making eye contact, showing a reaction in his expressions, and responding to comments, he has proven himself as effective listener. If we couldn’t see his response we would assume he was just hearing, or wonder if he was even hearing at all.
From experiences like these, we see that effective communication and listening relies on more than just hearing. Listening requires concentration. Concentrating on what you’re hearing can include making direct eye contact, acknowledging the speaker with your facial expressions and responses, not interrupting, and showing the actual desire to hear what the speaker has to say by remembering it in the future. Ascertain that you actually are understanding and processing the content. In many cases people forget these simple qualities of listening and revert back to the norm of “hearing” instead.
There is nothing to be gained by simply hearing except an appreciation of the sound of a rainstorm and fear of the rumbling thunder. Listening – real, genuine listening – brings knowledge, trust, success, and confidence. We would do well to understand the difference.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Finding Beauty

Remember this goal?
Some days are more difficult than others.

Today I have to dig for it.

But it's there.

There is beauty.

In music.
In friendship.
In the gray, overcast sky. Just waiting to rain.
In chocolate.
In technology.

There is beauty.

In creativity.
In kindness.
In laughter.
In work.
In family.

There is beauty.

In summer. (It's almost here.)
In my curls, which just happen to rock today.

In responsibility.
In time.
In life.

There is beauty.

Ah, there it is.
I found it.

(P.S. My teacher just told me I'm fabulous. Pretty sure that's beautiful, too.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Brother: D


He's not posing for the camera.
For once.
It's kind of a big deal.

And I'll be forever grateful.
He is a gift.

Brother: M


Yes, he looks like a gremlin or something. I know.
He truly is a little monster.
I love him.

For the Love of Cons


How long have I had these things?
Five years. (At least.)

Where have they taken me?

They've seen people. Places. Things.
They've seen tragedy. They've seen greatness.
They've seen love and heartbreak.
The best of times. The worst of times.
They've tracked through mud and tread on soft marble.

What else will they see before I completely wear them out?
That's my question.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Goal: March

Look for beauty everywhere. In every place. In every person. In every situation.

Observation and optimism.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

So let's behold it.

Bana Nah Nah

I just can't get enough.

Reasons to Celebrate: 03.03.2011

1. Billy Joel was on the radio this morning. And then it was The Beach Boys. I'll take some Uptown Girl and I Get Around any day.

2. And it's kind of nice outside. Ba-boom. Scratch that - it's really nice outside.

3. Rockstar Recovery lemonade drinks at Rite Aid were 3 for $5. I bought 'em.

4. Tax return: received and deposited.

5. I've already filled up several pages of my notebook. I'm thrilled. Random thoughts.

6. I have a new goal. Stay tuned.

7. Forgiveness. It's more than saying, "Sorry."

8. It's March. Whaaaat?

9. Mindy is in my CD player at work again. Happy, happy day.

10. I'm dropping off my film tonight. Woot.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why Not?

Today I bought this little beauty here. And it looks like this:
"Why not? Anything can happen."

It even has little inspirational quotes scattered throughout.

This is what I'm living by.!

And guess what's going in the notebook? All my random little thoughts and adventures I experience throughout my day.
My goal? To write in my notebook daily. At least once.
Maybe twice.