Monthly Archives: July 2017

Monday Motivator: And Then Suddenly It’s August

It’s hard to believe that August is upon us, and, while some friends and colleagues are either on or about to leave for vacation, many of us are feeling the inevitable ending of summer.

To be honest, summer has always been something of a disappointment to me. As a kid, I remember waiting all year for summer vacation, only to find it mostly boring, and then missing it as soon as I returned to school. Summer was like a beautiful myth whose reality never quite matched up to its description.

And this summer has been no exception. I had hoped to take every Friday off to work on some personal projects. Then, due to unforeseen circumstances, we were short-handed most of the weeks. But even on the few Fridays I managed to stay home, I made little progress on those projects.

I think I’m just going to have to admit it: I’m not a summer person.

Still, my thirty-day projects were a success. I’m still writing every day, and my office has been totally decluttered (except for the stuff that Charles still has in my closet). So I won’t judge my summer as a failure. It’s just that, in May when the weather is cool and the days are pleasant, I overestimate my energy during the hot days of July and August.

Still, whether your summer has been glorious, boring, or disastrous, tomorrow is still an opportunity to begin again.



Monday Motivator: Everyone, Just Take a Breath!

Apparently, there were several cars stolen in my neighborhood last night.  This is a bad thing. It means calls to the police, insurance forms to fill out, and time lost spent in doing those things. It also means a basic loss of security in a part of town that prides itself on being safe. So I’m certainly not minimizing this.

I found out about the thefts because I joined a neighborhood Facebook group.  I wanted to learn whom my neighbors considered good plumbers, dentists, etc. And I have gotten some good information. But, unfortunately, there is also a great deal of complaining about, well, everything.

Take this morning. In the midst of people offering sympathy to those who had their cars stolen, there were others who were complaining about the lack of police protection. Some were loudly proclaiming that my part of town was becoming like another part of town that has a reputation for crime, although Metro stats don’t justify the bad rap.

Part of this is a function of social media. Years ago, I wouldn’t know about these stolen cars unless the victim was a friend, neighbor, or colleague. Now we have instant knowledge of every major and minor crime committed moments after it happens, and it makes us feel afraid and threatened, even when crime statistics don’t support that fear.

For those of us who have lived in our neighborhood for many years, we know that we’ve never been crime-free. My condo community had break-ins before I moved in. My apartment community had a rash of smash and grabs. (The joke among my friends was that the thieves came to the top of the hill where I lived and saw my beat-up car, decided other crooks had gotten there before them, and turned around.)

Nowhere is completely safe, but social media can make us feel like every place is a war zone. So the next time bad news starts overflowing your feed, take a breath. Things may not be getting worse; it’s just that our methods for communicating bad things have improved.

Monday Motivator: Public Service Announcement about Summer

If you are like me, back in May, you probably made several sweeping statements about this summer. Here are some of the things that I was sure I’d get done:

  • Appointments for my dermatologist, ophthalmologist, and dentist.
  • My deck pressure washed and stained.
  • Carpet cleaning.
  • An unspecified number of articles, essays, and stories submitted.

Well, there’s more, but you get the picture.

At this point, I am probably at .003% completion level.

So if you are like me, let me go ahead and give you the bad news. Summer is more than half over. In just three weeks, the summer term will finish. In a little over a month, we’ll be starting fall semester.

You still have time to get those summer goals completed. But the time to start is NOW.

So excuse me while I get on the phone and make some appointments.

Monday Motivator: Sometimes Don’t Trust Your Gut

Last week, I received a message to call someone. My reaction was immediate and extreme. I became quite upset, sure that something bad was going to happen. My heart raced. My stomach churned. I was sure that the day could not end in anything other than disaster.

Why was I so sure of this? Well, it had happened once before, and my gut told me that this had to be round two.

So how did it end? It took one visit and one phone call to solve the issue, and all was well. The entire disaster had occurred only in my mind.

We tell each other to trust our gut, and we recount the times that intuition saved us from some horrible fate. But what we forget are the times our gut is just plain wrong. Mainly because it’s part of us, with all our prejudices, wrong ideas, and impulses. Our gut often simply confirms our biases.

Maybe a better thing saying might be “Listen to your gut after giving it a thorough questioning.”

Unfortunately, that doesn’t fit neatly on a t-shirt.




Monday Motivator: Happy Independence Day

There is no doubt that America means many different things to different people. I was brought up in a “love it or leave it” town, during the Vietnam War. But as I grew up, I realized that I was more the “love it and improve it” type. Probably the reason I’ve spent my entire career in education.

I read this story when I was a kid. And it has stayed with me all these years. If anyone asked me what America means to me, I can give no better answer  than “Yes, Your Honesty” by George and Helen Papashvily.