This year has been touch, difficult, and painful. The future is uncertain, clouded, and potentially tricky. The past is filled with a lingering touch that many are finding it hard to put behind them. There are many reasons to be discouraged. Your glass and mine is clearly less than full.

The scar on the right side of my head is not always visible to others. My hair covers the scar well. Yet, I always know it is there. The nerves are still finding their way back, so any touch is sensitive. My hearing is improving, yet the ever-present ring reminds me of what was. Surrounded by pain, chaos, and injustice, I have so much to be thankful for! read more

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The connection between projection and reality is often as long or even longer than we initially think. Yet, in the natural tension that exists in our lives we, I often find myself looking for immediate results from a decision made for the future. I realize the timing does not make sense, but it is as if I cannot help myself.

I establish a budget for the future and look for the impact of the savings to show up next week! We work to establish plan and strategies only to look for results in the tactics employed yesterday. It sounds strange, but evidence can be found in public opinion about government fiscal stimulus plans, intervention strategies, and political policy. Everyone was excited about new regulation for credit card companies (to protect individual consumers) forgetting that the implementation of the rules only comes two years from now! We transfer funds to large banks and then look within a few days and weeks to see the impact on the housing market. What happened to the normal processing time for a mortgage application, credit evaluation, and pricing decisions? read more

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For all of our rhetoric about need, wanting, and pushing for change, it seems that we are relying on others to actually make the change. As I reflect, starting with myself, our actions tell the story of closely held beliefs. We may not know that we have these beliefs, but our actions say otherwise. They include the following. Once we vote, everything associated with government is the responsibility of someone else. If it does not affect my community, family, or person, then it is outside of my responsibility. We are a community and part of a family, yet in the end, it is everyone for him or herself! read more

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“They were there a whole year, meeting with the church and teaching a lot of people. It was in Antioch that the disciples were for the first time called Christians.” (Acts 11.26)

Our days are filled with appointments, tasks, breaks, as well as many things that do not fit in a category. Demands consume us from the inside out. Exhaustion asks more from us than we can give. What we cannot accomplish often tries burden our bodies and souls with guilt. Long ago, I gave up trying to catalog my day. Each is filled with too much stuff. read more

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Footnotes & Friends

When people remember this year, they will highlight the past few months. Their talk will be filled with the details of their losses, how the chaos changed their lives, and how long it will take to rebuild. Maybe a few will remember a year filled with other details. In their stories, you will find the normal events of living, from births through marriages and even a few deaths. For most, it will only be in the footnotes, that you will discover where they spent most of their time.

As overwhelming as the economic chaos is on all of us, I will remember this year for very different reasons. Even as I begin to think about the big stuff, I find myself in tears because of the miracles that touched my life. I have been given a fresh start without a tumor in my brain. On top of that, friends blessed me, including those I never imagined touching my life. They extended a word when I desperately needed it. They stood by me when it was not popular or advantages. They pushed me upwards towards something better. Life unfolded in chaotic, stressful, and even painful ways. I find myself richer in every way because of the experience. read more

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When I hear the word tell-tale, I am immediately in orange fowl weather gear, a J-24, and sailing on San Francisco Bay. It is a magical space where time stands still! The bay is moderately rough with caps of foaming grey. The sea is running four to six. We are trying to squeeze everything we can out of the boat. Marcia is watching the tell tales, yelling instructions on how I should change the trim the sails. Everything pivots on her readings. She knows, I follow, and we sail with mysterious speed. read more

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We are at a turning point. The distress of the moment will pass, eventually. The uncertainty of today will give way to yet another way to worry about tomorrow. Even the loss that we morn, financial, emotional, or physical, will morph into something else. The question lingering with you and me is simply, what is next?

Years ago I arrived on the scene of a new job. We knew that change was required, but the details were yet to unfold! There were far too many people employed for things to be sustainable. Whatever tomorrow would be, I was certain that it was going to be different than the present. In an early conversation with my boss, she identified two people I needed to “fire”. She presented her perceptions and left it to me to investigate and take the appropriate decision. She was certain of the outcome, so I was left to take “the” action. read more

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Life often feels like I am alone in a battle. The battles are endless, piling on top of each other without logic or consideration. The relentlessness of the pressure seems to grow even as I struggle with the sense of being overwhelmed. It feels like my defenses are beginning to fail. Whatever I do, it is not enough. Whatever strength I muster fails to stand up to the assault. Even my cries for help seem lost in the chaos around us.

Everyone lives within a personal and unique form of hell. We fight our battles alone. We struggle to win, achieve, and preserver by ourselves. We walk as if we are the only individuals in the history of this world to face whatever we are facing. I would gently like to suggest that we do not need to remain there. read more

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I am competitive. I would like to add that I am only a little competitive, however that would be stretching the truth beyond recognition. I compete at and in everything! I constantly push myself to learn, grow, and improve in ways that allows me to be better than I was. The natural measure of success is that my results are better than others.

In my better moments, I realize that being good at something does not mean that one will always win. There are times when others are simply better than you are at something! No matter how good I am or strive to be, others are stronger, quicker, or come with more abilities. Winning is, to be blunt, out of my control. As I continue to compete, I have come to see that my job is to engage, play fair, and compete. I do not control winning. In fact, winning is not the ultimate measure you and I need to worry about. Other factors, giving it our best, competing with intensity and within the rules, and pushing to our limits are far more important than the final score. read more

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I grew up an unusual approach to Christmas. I do not remember getting the latest toy. We received vintage toys that were incredibly like the ones we had lost earlier in the year. When we shopped for gifts, the number one priority was not price or fashion. The attribute that defined “success” was that the present had the receiver’s “name” written all over!

As I look back, one of the greatest gifts my parents ever gave us was our unconventional approach to Christmas. I love Christmas! Gift giving is a language that is near and dear to my heart. Candidly, I really look forward to thinking about, finding (no matter how difficult or long the quest might be), and then giving. Receiving is fine, but now near as important as the fun I find in giving. It may have been unconventional; yet, the wonder these lessons created were and are truly priceless. read more

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