Posts Tagged: support

Jan 11

Snotty People


You know, people seem so hypersensitive these days.  What brought it to my attention is that I just completed an email and I found myself having to choose my words so carefully as not to offend anyone.  It wasn’t even an issue of consequence.

Personally, I believe I have the responsibility to be attuned to people and situations and work hard at approaching others in the most sensitive and appropriate way possible.

I do this for a couple of reasons.  First, I’m a nice person and I want to be sensitive to other’s needs.  The other reason is that I am lazy.  When dealing with people, particularly in a business setting, part of my goal is to minimize obstacles and resistance.

I found that if I am not sensitive and careful I end up spending extra time removing the obstacle and then the additional energy dealing with tender emotions.

But… the world is getting all screwed up.  What use to be the natural demands of relationships (learning about each other and being sensitive to each person’s particular needs and issues) has become a frustrating hassle.  This is because our society has morphed into a mass of hysterical, hypersensitive, self-centered, pansy butt cry babies.

Humm… that wasn’t very sensitive was it?  I’m embarrassed to say, but I don’t have much patience with such people.

Personally, I can find offense with virtually anything, and I don’t even have to look hard.  This may sound odd but I believe being offended is a choice.

I am of the opinion that most insensitive things are done out of ignorance not intent.  What this means to me is that some people choose to be offended when there was no intent and some people can choose not to be offended where there was intent.

Unfortunately our political environment has led the charge in both hypersensitivity and intent.

Side Note: Whatever your political persuasion you were probably thinking about the other side.  The reality is… both sides of the political spectrum are hypersensitive about silly stuff and both take mean shots.

A good indicator to me about the state of our hypersensitive society is that it is refreshing when I see someone of prominence choosing not to get caught up in the hype and choosing not to perpetuate the silliness.

As I said earlier, I believe most people (excluding politicians) don’t mean to be insensitive.  They are either not attuned or uninformed.

But, unfortunately there are other people in the world who are just outright snotty.  They are cruel and self-centered speaking and acting with the intent to hurt.

I don’t know what it is, but there are some people who feel it is their calling to set people straight.  They see themselves as the purveyor of truth and of course the preferred method of providing truth is a blunt object with the intent not for good but inflicting as much damage as possible.

Just so you know, there is a difference between wheeling truth and speaking truth.

I don’t know about you but I do want truth in my life and finding people who speak truth to you is a gift indeed.  Those who speak truth do so with intent also.  But the intent is to build, heal, support, encourage and challenge.

People who wheel truth use it as a convenient weapon.   People who use truth as a weapon are cowards.  It allows them to lean back with a smirk and brandish the all powerful comeback of, “I was only telling the truth.”

Regardless of the way something was presented we have a choice.  Personally I choose not to be offended.

So what do I need to learn from my ramblings today?

Humm… do you think that I could be hypersensitive to people who are hypersensitive?

See you Monday.

Oct 10

Something’s Burning

I’m back… well sort of… all of me less one gall bladder.

I have chalked this whole medical surgery thingy up as another chapter in my life.  This experience has changed my perspective about some things and rooted me more deeply in others.

Just so you know, this was a significant event for me.

Side Note: I’m sure for many of you a gall bladder attack and surgery would not come close to registering on your significance scale.  For me… let’s say it got my attention.

It was significant because I have been very very blessed to have excellent health.  It was the first time in my life that I really got a whiff of my mortality and the vulnerability of our bodies.  I can’t speak for you but my mortality has always been neatly tucked away somewhere behind the mental curtain that separates the black hole of the mind and conscious life.

You always know that you’re not going to live forever but for me the reality had never peeked around the edge of the curtain, thus… the significance.

The big question for me now is, what do I do with this new information?  It’s kind of like finding out as an adult that you have a half brother that you knew nothing about… what do you do with that information?

I tend not to over react or jump to immediate conclusions.  I usually let things simmer and bubble on the back burner.  Eventually it will get tended to because the tantalizing aroma routinely draws you to taste the stew or the smell of something burning demands attention.

As I said, I have to let it simmer but one thing crystallized quickly.  This event solidified the fact that I’m not really afraid of dying.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready to go over the rainbow with Dorothy and Toto.  But having mortality catch my eye as it peeked around the corner confirmed that I’m good as it relates to eternity (very nice feeling).

Side Note: I did ask God that I would prefer that I not die on a ship.  (I was on a cruise)

There are four other things that I quickly learned from this health scare.

1. It’s also nice to know that you’re loved.  I found out that my wife isn’t too anxious for me to take up residence somewhere else.  It was a good feeling to know that she was really concerned when I had my attack vs. being of the mindset of beginning to place furniture as they say.

2. To be more empathetic to people’s health issues.  It wasn’t that I didn’t care it was that I was unaware.  You don’t know what you don’t know.

3. Learned better how to deal with friends that may be sick or going through issues.

Historically I would be somewhat tentative contacting a person or engaging when they were sick.  I have pretty good awareness so I know I won’t hover or bug people but I won’t be as reticent to call or engage.  I really appreciated the calls and efforts friends made to engage.

4. I have an ego to protect.  This is a weird one.

I had the gall bladder attack, as I mentioned,  while my wife and I were on a cruise.  They thought it was a heart attack at first.  The morning after the attack we were docked and the Doctor told me he had an ambulance ready to take me to the hospital.

I hate to admit it but the first thing I thought of and said was that I wanted to walk off the ship.  I was not going to let myself be wheeled off.

I am still unpacking this one.  My immediate response surprised me.

Well, I’m gonna put the pot on the burner and let it simmer.

Talk with you Monday.

May 10

Water from a Dry Well

Hi, good to see you again.

The title pretty much describes me today.  Have you ever felt empty?   I am not talking about emptiness of the heart.

Emptiness of the heart:  The dull ache that comes from an inner void. 

This is the intuitive knowledge that something is missing or incomplete.  No matter how hard one tries to push it back into its place it seems to seep out the cracks when alone or at night.


I am full in heart but empty in being today.  I’m drained and feel I have nothing to give.  But that is the time I must step out.  Historically I would have blown off the blog.  But I am reminded of an amazing principle… absolutely amazing.


For my non-Christian friends this story is from the Bible.  Now don’t go discounting what I’m about to say until I have finished.

This is a principle that applies to anyone regardless of their beliefs.  But for Christians it will have broader implications.


There is a story in the Bible about a poor widow who gave her last few pennies at the Temple.    Christ was observing and told his friends that this poor widow gave more than all the others who gave huge amounts of money.

Side Note:  Let me stop here for a moment.  I have heard this story my entire life and it was always told in relation to money and giving.  I now believe that money is by far the lesser point.


He observed all the giving and said that she gave out of her poverty while the others gave out of their abundance.

This story provided one of the most amazing ah ha’s of my life.  God has a marvelous way of smacking us in a way that really gets our attention.  I am not talking about a smack that is negative but a “Wow, I could have had a V8” smack.

People tend to give things that they have the most of.  It’s human nature.  Giving of any sort with the right motive is good and honorable.  But there is a giving that transcends the realms of known and makes a very ordinary act sacred… even Holy. 

I am talking about those acts where people are giving (albeit little) the last they have.

  • The single mom who is tired to the bone and their child needs attention and she musters her last ounce of energy to provide extra tenderness to a needy child.
  • The man at work who holds his tongue when every fiber of his being is yelling for fairness.
  • The parent who will forgo the badly needed pair of shoes to provide the fee for the elementary school outing.
  • The teenager that risks their fragile reputation because they dare to defend someone needing a friend.

I in no way believe that the writing of this blog today merits anything special.  All I know is that I am tired and I feel dry.  I thought of the poor widow and was inspired.  I knew I was suppose to write.  So I did.


Apr 10

Snake Bite

Well, I guess it’s time to get moving again.  Every now and then you need to stop and just hang out and talk but now back to the task at hand, climbing the mountain.

As most of you know this is a journey that I started January 4th of this year.  It has been rewarding and pretty interesting.  I have gotten all kinds of responses, most of which have been very supportive and individuals happy to cheer me on.  I thank all of you who have encouraged me along the way.

I have not had anyone discourage me but I have had others who look at me with a vacant stare and slowly nod politely with a… “That’s nice.”  All the while their head continues to slowly nod in a mechanical motion and you can see in their eyes… “Why in the world would anyone want to do that?”  But once again I can’t pay any attention to their non-interest.

I think I am beginning to get a handle on this “not worrying what people think thing” and glibly make a statement about not paying attention to people’s non-interest… then I am quickly body slammed to the mat by reality.

Let me explain what I mean.  Something very interesting occurred about two weeks ago.  A friend showed me the web statistics section in the behind-the-scenes portion of my blog site.  I am not a techy person so this was new territory.  This statistics section reveals all kinds of data but in particular the number of visits I get on the blog.

Interesting Statistics (to me anyway):

  • This blog has had over 7,000 hits since January 1st.
  • Averages about 500 per week
  • 39 different countries (mostly hackers probably – 4 from China)

True Confession: Of the 7,000+ hits, I am probably 1,000 of them.  The first few weeks I checked in all the time.

Now I have a new dilemma.  I have enough ego and competition in me to cause me some trouble.  I catch myself checking all too often to see how many hits I am getting.  This is not a good thing.  It causes me to think too much.

Yep… you guessed it… it plays right into my need to please people and have people’s approval.

But here’s the learning that applies to us all.  We embark on these personal journeys and make real progress.  But whatever we struggled with has a way of sneaking in and catching our attention at the most unexpected times.  It’s kinda like someone you broke up with and you end up regularly seeing them in the background with that Fatal Attraction look.

It’s frustrating but that’s just part of the process.  The spurned object of our former devotion does not exist without us.  It needs us for existence.  So it keeps showing up in a new way, trying to recapture our time, energy and devotion.

“New level, new devil.”

- Joyce Meyer

What ever we struggle with will show up in different ways to catch us unaware or just waits until we let down our guard or our resolve.

So we keep trekking up this mountain enjoying the company, enjoying the new scenery and keeping watch for those snakes that hide waiting for the right moment to bite.

Let’s face it, if you are an explorer you will get bitten.  Here’s the good news, you will never die from the bite.  You only die if you panic and run away… running pumps the poison to the heart.

You must calmly remove the snake, release the poison, realize that this is part of the process, and continue.

So I continue… with a limp and patched up ankle.

See ya Thursday.

Mar 10

A Helpful Hint

Howdy, good to see you again.

Our last couple of blog entries have been pretty heady so I needed a break from thinking too much.

Side Note: About six weeks ago I wrote a blog entitled “Walkie Talkie” where we talked about how walking through nature has the mysterious ability to break down our barriers allowing us to be more open.

That blog entry focused on the gift of deep meaningful conversations.  But the other gift that comes from being with someone with whom you feel safe and comfortable is that it frees us to share our joys and fun.

So I thought it would be a good time to share a story or two on our journey.  Maybe I could trade helpful hints on miscellaneous stuff.

With that said, to my pleasure and probably to your chagrin, I have decided to share something odd that happened last summer.  This is also a helpful hint for home owners… well… helpful is a relative term.  We’ll see how helpful you think it is after you read my saga.


It was a sunny warm July day.  Like most days of summer, this was one that had a particularly strong way of summoning you outdoors to tackle distasteful chores.

The Distasteful Chore: Removal of dead limbs in trees

We have several very large trees around our house.  The removal of some of the limbs was pretty easy but others proved to be a challenge.  These were the limbs that were large and high.  I’m talking about limbs of significance.  Any of which, if allowed to remain, could severely hurt someone if they fell.

So here I am, a man who is past his daredevil 20’s and reluctant to climb and hang 40+ feet into the air (actually it was probably 20 feet but it looked 40).  What does one do?

I did what any red blooded man would do… get some other sucker to help.

The Sucker: My brother visiting from Texas

As the task unfolded it became quite amusing.  But I must say we were very creative in the way we brought to the ground the demon limbs.

Tools Required:

  • One tennis shoe
  • One ball of twine
  • One lengthy piece of rope
  • Two willing and slightly naive men in the mood for adventure


  • Two lawn chairs
  • Two giggly wives who amuse themselves by setting up a make-shift audience to observe the splendor of two men bringing down limbs

The first task is to attach the twine to the tennis shoe.  Then one must throw the shoe over the identified limb.

This is tricky… and it is more difficult than it may appear.  The aerodynamics of a sneaker is not conducive to throwing.  But they are durable and soft enough not to bring harm if by chance it should fall on someone or thing.

Once the shoe has been precisely launched the twine is then tied to the rope.  This allows you to pull the rope over the limb so the real work can begin.

After the loop of the rope is positioned properly around the limb, the two men can begin their task.  With hands firmly grasped to the rope, the two men pull in unison.  Of course the challenge is UNISON.

After a couple of introductory tugs and then a unified grunt and pull the limb comes crashing down.  All of this to the pride of the pullers and the delight of the audience.

Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I’m sure my brother appreciates me blasting the story across the web.

Maybe the next blog we’ll return to more serious matters but thanks for letting me relive a fond memory with my brother.

Arrivederci, see you later.

Mar 10

The Voice Again

Whether you hear it or not there is a voice calling… a zephyr voice so slight that it easily gets lost in the noise of life.  It is a quiet voice that catches our attention in odd, obscure ways.

Maybe it is something we heard, read or saw that quietly touched something.  A place inside we weren’t even aware of until it got our attention.  We were stilled by an odd curiosity or being intrigued by something obscure or out of character.

What or who is this voice?  Is it destiny… premonition… God… heartburn…?

Literature has mentioned this voice for centuries in terms of… the call of the sea… the call of the mountains… the call of the wild, or any other sort of descriptor that compels us to step beyond where we are into the unknown.

An Interesting Event:

I was just interrupted by a knock at the front door.  I was a bit frustrated because the knock caused me to break stride in my flow of thought on this all important blog of mine.

I opened the door, there standing before me was a very nervous, awkward young Boy Scout (about 11 would be my guess).  He was appropriately attired in his scouting shirt patches and all.  He was going door to door selling mulch for his troop.

I was stilled.  I knew immediately that this was not to be a casual, “No thank you.”

When I first saw him his eyes quickly shifted from my face to my chest and then made their way to my feet.  This is where they stayed most of the time except with an occasional glance upward as comfort allowed or the sales pitch demanded when presenting the brochure.

His father was standing a couple of feet to the side with that… you’re on your own but I’m here to help you posture.  His non-verbals spoke clearly of support… but also protection.  Not physical protection but the kind of protection you give to a child that seems to have been on the “outside” and who knows the ramifications of being so.

Side Note: Some of you reading know what it means to be on the “outside”.  This is not foreign territory.  It is not a pleasant place to be.

The blog… my interrupted flow of thought… my frustration, quickly were put in their place because there was something beyond my here and now.


The voice calls us out and calls us to.  This time it was “to”.

You see, this journey is not one of selfish insight.  It is a journey of wholeness.  And wholeness is never selfish.  The voice always takes us out of self, never toward self.

The “Be Prepared” scout did not need me to be patient or attentive as he explained the benefits of purchasing mulch in bulk.  But I believe it made his stop at the next house easier.  And that’s important… especially if you are one who has been use to struggling.

I never want to allow the noise of life (or this blog) to hide the gentle call.

There is a voice… constantly calling… voice beyond view that beckons us to something.

How is your hearing?  If you aren’t open you will miss amazingly great and precious opportunities to grow or touch.


Feb 10

The Vacant Look

The page is blank and I face the screen with this dazed stare.  The same kind of void look you only see in the eyes of zombies in “B” rated movies.  Or a better example is the completely vacant look of the young cashier who must make change manually because the electronic register has crashed.  No one home!

My mind is empty and creativity no where to be found.  I guess you might say I am resting on a rock.  I know that sitting on a rock sounds weird but it makes a little sense if you have been following the trek I have been on.

So I guess today my mind was tired and decided to stop for a rest.  Maybe I needed it after the weighty stuff we have been talking about in the past couple of blogs.

Pretty sad if you ask me…  nine entries and I need a rest already.  I need the rest because writing is not an easy task for me.  I don’t feel very competent at this writing thing so the energy expended is greater.  Have you ever notice how much energy it takes to do something that is so easy for some other people.

Let’s face it.  When a person is naturally gifted at something they tend to wonder why it is such a challenge for someone else who is struggling.  I do the same thing.  I have a few talents that come so easily and naturally that I believe it should be easy for others.  In fact, I’m sorry to say, I’ve gotten frustrated with people because I thought they should know how to do something so simple.  Guilty as charged!

Question: (for those who have children)

Which do you value more regarding your child,

  • Success or effort?
  • Comfort or risk?

Someone told me one time that most people are talented enough to be mediocre.  It’s true.   Most people have enough going for them to get by.

I don’t know about you but I’m tired of getting by.  But making the decision to step out is risky.  The world around us will try (not maliciously) to keep us where they are comfortable.  Weird… our change makes it uncomfortable for them.

There are two important lessons here for me.

  1. Step out (which I’m doing with this blog thing)
  2. Give space to those around you who want to step out.  In fact encourage.

I ran across this poem a few years ago that to me sums up the need to encourage.

The Average Child

by Mike Buscemi

I don’t cause teachers trouble;
My grades have been okay.
I listen in my classes.
I’m in school every day.

My teachers think I’m average;
My parents think so too.
I wish I didn’t know that, though;
There’s lots I’d like to do.

I’d like to build a rocket;
I read a book on how.
Or start a stamp collection…
But no use trying now.

’Cause, since I found I’m average,
I’m smart enough you see
To know there’s nothing special
I should expect of me.

I’m part of that majority,
That hump part of the bell,
Who spends his life unnoticed
In an average kind of hell.

So I am stepping out.  And I am not going to let anyone discourage me.

Anyway… at least I can make change if the electronic cash register goes down!  So there!

C U Monday.

Jan 10

The Mountain

Climbing mountains can be hell.  I’m not cussing again, just stating fact.

When you start it’s not too bad… slight incline, new adventure, good company, anticipation of what’s ahead, feeling fresh.  All’s good.

But like most things starting is not the problem, its keeping moving forward when things get tough.  And as we all know, anything of significance will have tough spots.  In fact, I tend to believe that the tough spots are in direct proportion to the significance.  But the good news is… the joy, reward and pleasure are multiplied all the more.

I bring this up because some of you have taken a bold step to join me on a journey.  This risky journey we are going on is going to have its rough patches.  I am not saying this to discourage you but to prepare and challenge you now (while things are still easy) to reaffirm your commitment.

Side note: I know that some of you are scratching your head right now trying to figure out what I am talking about.  You might want to check out the first blog entry “A Bottle in the Ocean” , it will give you a clearer picture.

I am committed to this adventure.  I look back on my life and see the road cluttered with too many with good intentions.  I’m not beating up on myself because I don’t think that I am that different from most people and more importantly I don’t want the clutter behind me to cause me to stumble as I move forward.  I mentioned in an earlier blog entry that movement is key not speed.

Don’t worry this is not going to be a “when the going gets tough the tough get going” pep talk.

But I do want to encourage you.

I have a very dear friend who is a runner… I mean a runner… the marathon type runner.  In fact she qualified for the Boston Marathon.  Very cool!  Anyway just so you know I am NOT a runner.  For some reason I find it boring.

But I digress… when she started running marathons someone suggested that she put her first name on her running jersey.  At first she thought it kinda goofy but gave it a try.  She was amazed at how much it helped.  All along the 26+ miles total strangers would cheer her on by name.  This was especially meaningful when around the 20 mile mark most runners kick into survival mode.

In marathons there are crowds all along the way clapping, cheering, supporting, etc.  But the supportive roar (albeit nice) is generic.

But the personalized cheers of, “Go Vickie”, “Vickie, you can do it!” made a difference.

It will be tiring but let’s keep at it.

See you Monday.