LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the category “travel”

Saw Something Wonderful Today…

http://newvision2012.weebly.com/-10-countries-with-female-soldiers.html

I am traveling today. Which means I was up way before the sun, shaved, showered, downed some quick breakfast, loved on the Gang of 5, kissed Susie goodbye, checked seventy three times to insure I had my passport, drove an hour to the airport, finally convinced myself to pay the extra money to park in the garage, noticed after the nearly three mile trek to check-in that I had once again packed way too much crap, and after taking off various clothing while thinking how absolutely barbaric the whole security thing is, finally made it to my gate with exactly two hours and three minutes before my flight departs.

Now what to do?

One of my favorite pass-times is to watch people and the airport is one of the very best places to do it. This morning I got to gawk at everyone from a twenty something guy wearing a pair of well worn boots, slacker jeans, hoodie, and an International Harvester tractor hat to a woman wearing Chanel haute couture talking to someone on her cell phone about the latest Bulgari fragrance. As I looked around at my fellow travelers, my mind began to wonder what kind of people they were. Were they kind? How do they make a living? What were there thoughts? If we could talk, what would I learn from them?

The call came over the PA system for all first class passengers (which I am not one of) to prepare to board. To be honest my eyes and mind were still in the people oogling mode, but I suddenly became aware of a well tailored gentleman who oozed confidence, style, and power stepping out of the line and making his way toward where I was sitting. He stopped in front of a young black woman who was dressed head to toe in the desert camo uniform of the United States Army. He knelt in front of her extending  his boarding pass and with a silky smooth voice said, “Thank you for your willingness to serve our country. How about you take my first class seat?”

I shed nearly as many tears as she did.

Be encouraged!

Sort of Like Responsibility…Part III

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Wife-Bumper-Sticker-Decal/dp/B001P1PCWY

Most of you who read this blog know that I am deeply in love with my wife, Susie, and she was/is a major contributor to all that is good in my life. Her love, patience, sweetness, and guidance has been the one constant over the eighteen plus years we have been married. While not every moment of those years has been perfect, the sole reason for them not being was/is me.

During the days of my youth and far too long into what I was calling adulthood, I was always drawn to the darker side of life. If there was so scum to rub in, I was there. Nearly everyone who knew me figured I would end up in prison for life or dead. It just seemed like the way I was headed. She literally saved my life.

Susie is a woman of phenomenal intellect, yet able to talk to any one regardless of their age or station in life. I’ve seen her totally enthralled in conversations with:

  • A five year old short-stop on our Grandson’s Little League team.
  • The Metropolitan Bishop of North America and Australia for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
  • The mail lady.
  • A homeless man on the streets of Monterey, California.
  • The lead singer of a death-metal band from Norway.
  • A lady in the nursing home who just wanted her to keep on singing.

She has the type of personality that is rarely flustered or confused and is never mean. Her basic being is happy, compassionate, and above all loving. Even back in the day, my friends would say, “Dude you better quit screwing (okay, actually they used another descriptive word for sexual coupling, but you get the idea) around and marry this one…especially before she realizes what a waste you are.”

She is also, a raging incredible cook, who can make a tasty meal out of nearly nothing. During our early leaner years, I would often look around the kitchen cabinets, pantry, refrigerator, under the bed, and in the glove box and find absolutely nothing…and I mean nothing…no crackers, no bags of chips with only those crunched up little tiny pieces stuck in the bottom corners that nobody ever throws away, no crusty peanut butter jar with the lid stuck tight, nothing, nada, not anything…the great food void.  She would come home and I would ask what we were going to have for dinner, her reply was always the same…”Oh, I don’t know, let me look and see what I can find.” Thirty minutes later she would yell for me to wash up, dinner was served, and it would be this fabulous collection great tasting food, to this day I have no idea how she did it.

During the eleven months and three days it took me to run across the United States, Susie took care of everything. She made contact with our host homes, lined up speaking engagements, coordinated meetings, kept the mileage and rotated each pair of running shoes, doctored my left foot, did the laundry, had the oil changed in our support vehicle, got me breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus multiple snacks each day, dealt with police officers, wrote our newsletter for family, friends, and supporters, gave me a massage at the end of every day, kept track of the total miles I ran, and did all of this without ever once breaking stride. She smiled, giggled and was supportive of my every whim, which I am ashamed to say were numerous.

Susie is the rock that holds her three sisters and their families together. Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are all celebrated at our home, with Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day all being rotated. The general family consensus seems to be that everyone simply enjoys hanging out at the home Susie created. Family and friends often remark about how peaceful it is…and it is… because of her presence.

She possesses an incredible singing voice which she has used with our local Philharmonic Orchestra for the past seven years. She also plays banjo, guitar, piano, and I long ago gave up trying to get her out of any music store under an hour, because she has to “try” every instrument in the place. She reads and writes music, like the rest of glance through the USA Today…in other words, with ease. She can identify any song ever recorded dating back to the late 40’s.

She writes poetry and music, pursues photography with a passion, paints (oils and acrylics), writes computer code, runs, cycles, swims, is accomplished in all types of crafts, and lately believes she wants to try her hand at composing a rap song about our new start-up company. I have come home from my travels to find her:

  • Installing a new floor in our laundry room (a complete new floor, she had stripped it down to the stringers, or whatever those boards are called that the first layer of plywood gets nailed to).
  • Hanging new doors in our bedroom, guest bedroom, and one of the bathrooms.
  • Teaching our, then three year old, Grandson how to make guacamole.
  • Putting up new insulation in our book barn (large barn w/climate control that holds 70,000 volumes of books).
  • Creating a new garden.
  • Using a leaf blower to usher a 4 1/2 foot long black snake off the back porch.
  • Changing the oil on all our vehicles.
  • Splitting and stacking wood.
  • Bathing our 165 lbs. Husky.
  • Rearranging all the furniture in our living room (actually she has rearranged all the furniture in every room of our home several times).
  • And last, but certainly not least, I have come home to find a note on the dining room table (where we leave all our correspondence  for one other) that read, “Out for a 10 mile run…your dinner is in the frig…glad you’re home…I missed you…I love you…S.”

I married up.

I married WAY up.

Every good thought you have ever had, as a result of reading this blog, is directly related to her presence in my life.

This post is dedicated to her…thank you Honey…you are my everything. Amen.

Be encouraged!

Before We Go Any Further

Stop Sign 2 Clip Art

PLEASE LOOK AT THE DAY & DATE

OF THE LAST POST

THEY DON’T MATCH

Here is my point…lying and believing are intertwined. Someone once commented they believed people wanted to hear a lie just as often as they wanted to be told the truth. While I”m not ready to whole-heartedly embrace that philosophy, I do believe there is a connection between lying and what we want to hear.

Do I believe there should be a NO LYING DAY? Absolutely. I would love to see the concept reported on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, the news wires, and go viral. What a great concept. The realty will probably fall far short.

Why? Because many of us are simply comfortable in our lies. It is where we live and work. Our lies are no more a distinct separate part of our existence. They are part and parcel of who we are. We have lived and breathed them for so long, that our lies feel like the truth, and the truth now feels as strange as lies once did.

We operate in a world that not only encouraged the use of falsehoods, but actually, it many respects rewards it. Whatever the reason for lying, we are masters at justifying it. All the way from “everybody does it” (which is probably true) to “it wasn’t REALLY a lie.”  If we want to, we can find an excuse.

I have received several emails and comments about this subject. Many writers were intrigued by the question of morality it raises, others were more interested in the philosophical underpinnings. There were writers who complained of my over-simplified explanation. The point is, the issue of lying, deserves to be a topic of conversation. It needs the light of us blog writers, the press, think tanks, TED talks, church groups, and folks sitting around having a few beers. In my heart I believe change bubbles up. Only when we the common folk, the 99%, the silent majority, or whatever it is we are going by now, rise up and say, “Wait a minute! This is an issue. Lets talk about it.”, we are going to continue to experience an erosion of truth it all its forms.

I hope this post causes you to think. After you think about lies, and truth, and the role you play in it, maybe you will talk. Start a conversation with a loved one, or your child, the neighbor, your pastor, those in your study group, or any one who is willing to listen. With all my heart I believe change bubbles up. And, just maybe, some day we really will have a day of NO LYING.

Be encouraged!

 

From Those Who Comment…

This post is purely inspired by those who commented on Lying–Maybe…Maybe Not.

Lem Usita writes at www.identityspecialist.wordpress.com. His post show a deft knowledge of leadership and how it ought to work. Her posts are filled with practical, rubber-meets-the-road type of information that I personally crave. I am the just-tell-me-what-to-do-and get out-of-the-way kind of guy, and Lem tells you what and how to do it. He wrote:

You bring up an interesting idea for me – this idea that lying takes on different forms depending on your stage of development – pick your developmental theory. I need to think about what a lie looks like in light of this. Do you have any articles that talk about this?
Thanks for the post.

I responded with:

Lem, first of all let me say how much I enjoy your posts regarding leadership. I would like to swap a few emails, or even a phone call or two , to discuss my experiences in leadership development at a Global 100 manufacturing firm. I think you’ll find the stories interesting.

Developmental theories are kind of like a bad haircut, everyone has had one, but their idea of what it is differs widely. Lying when we are younger is often seen as punishment avoidance. Q.-Did you spill the milk? A.-No way, the cat did it. As we age lying is the result of peer acceptance or is seen as a useful tool to gain something. Such as Q.-Hey Dad, can I have the car keys? A./Q.-Did you get your room cleaned like your Mom asked? A.-Yeah, pretty much (Reality-room looks like a bomb went off in it, but you told the guys it would be no problem getting your Dad’s car and promised to pick them up at 6:00). By the time you have graduated from college and entered the work force, the lies start to look more like CYA. Q.-Did you get the Jones Report done? A.-Yeah, you’ll have it on your desk when you arrive in the morning. (Reality-What the hell is the Jones report?)

If you look at Maslow and Metamotivation, is it possible we are seeking fulfillment of our Being Needs via lying through our teeth?

I don’t have any articles which speak directly about what I’ve written. However, I have pulled from Psychology Journals, books, magazines, newspapers, and friends who I have bombarded with questions, concepts, and theories. While sitting around having a few beers I have often pulled the topic of our conversation from whether the Yankees will pull it together to make another run for the pennant to when do our dreams become reality?

I drive my friends nuts, but as long as I’m buying, they seem to hang around. lol

My email is stephenedwards922@gmail.com. Give me a holler and maybe we can exchange phone numbers. By the way…what do you think…when do dreams become reality?

Another comment I received was from 5kidsmom. She writes at www.carnivalcommunications.wordpress.com. Her writing is clear, pure and cleverly insightful. I have always deeply enjoyed her thought process and delivery. Also in the interest of honesty; her and I have discovered we share remarkably similar, yet different perspectives, so we have agreed to collaborate on a book. She wrote th:

oh my….
>>>>>”Some men (not all, ;) have to lie about ‘WHY’ they lie!!<<<<<<
Rack ’em up boys!! Keep lying about why you’re lying, we’re listening LOL! What he doesn’t realize is….while little boys are lying to their mothers, (???FEAR??) little girls are being taught by their fathers, BOYS LIE!
Too late MacIntyre—-we’re onto you, and just like you, we started ‘getting it’, from a very young age!! That’s no lie ;) One more thing, boys lying to their Mom’s didn’t really make life easier, it probably just sparred them the consequences. So come on guys, you lie because you’re afraid of the wrath lol!

I responded:

Gosh, this lying thing has started our own little personal firestorm. Why? Well probably for two reasons. 1.) We all do it. We aren’t exactly proud of that fact. We don’t go around saying, “Alright! I just told another whopper!” Truth is we are ashamed. We are ashamed, because even after all we’ve been taught (programmed?) we still know it is wrong. 2.) We have all been lied to and it is frustrating. It hurts and we clearly understand the world (shoot, forget the world, even our little lives) would be a better place if everyone would stop.

Boys lie to girls, girls lie to boys, men lie to women, women lie to men, men lie to men, women lie to women, employees lie to bosses, bosses lie to employees, companies lie to customers, customers lie to companies, races lie to other races, nations lie to other nations, and I’m relatively confident if the human race ever encounters extra terrestrials, we will lie to them too.

So the bottom line is, “What do we do?”

This is too good for just a reply. I’m going to take this out and put it on the big screen. I will have a post forthwith, which will answer the question, “What do we do?”

WHAT DO WE DO?

Here is what I propose:

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20,2012 IS A NO LYING DAY

START EMAILING YOUR FRIENDS & EVERYONE IN THE WORLD YOU KNOW! TELL EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING YOU COME INTO CONTACT WITH THAT WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2012 IS A NO LYING DAY. WE WILL TELL NO LIES FROM MIDNIGHT TO MIDNIGHT.

NOW GO

BE ENCOURAGED!

What have we learned?

I want to start this blog with a note. I write about honesty, but there is also grace. I spent a large part of my life lying. Lying about my motives and who I really was. I learned the hard way, honesty is the best policy.  Corny as it sounds, it does indeed work. So this post isn’t me looking down from the mountain top lecturing the poor fools who can’t make it. It is me shoulder to shoulder, encouraging, desperately trying to say, “Hey look these things can be corrected and we will all be better off for it.” Thanks for reading…be encouraged! With the deepest respect-Stephen Edwards.

I have watched with interest the stories of Greg Smith with his public resignation letter in the New York Times and the retraction of Mike Daisey’s monologue regarding his visit to an Apple factory in Guangzhou, China by Ira Glass on This American Life. Google either one and you can find several hundreds of thousands of sites. All of this attention prompts me to ask two questions; First, why all the attention? Secondly, what have we learned?

Why have these two stories generated such intense scrutiny? The news outlets have poured forth with in-depth reporting of the facts, op-eds of what, why, and how, and rolled out the experts to express their opinions. I have talked with several people personally, as well as electronically and they all have their own view.  But why? How did these two stories vault into the public psychic and news cycle so predominantly?

Here is where I add my own humble opinion. The reason for the white hot attention these stories are generating is because they touch on a core value we all possess to some degree. Some of us have it to a heightened degree, while others have it remarkably less, but we all have it. That value is honesty.

There is some spark within each of us that values honesty. When Mr. Smith writes in his NY Times op-ed letter, “…the interests of the client tend to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.” something inside of us resonates with a loud “Yeah!” Because we all have, at least on some level, had the experience of being treated like a walking dollar sign. I fully understand businesses’ need to make money to survive, but the need to make a profit doesn’t necessitate your company having to rape me for every nickel and dime you can squeeze out of me, then kick me to the curb, and tackle the next victim. I know the words I’m using paint a florid mind picture, but it is simply what it feels like at times. When the cashier tries to entice you to upgrade your account, every single time you are in the store or when visiting your local computer store you are repeatedly taken to higher priced items, even though you have expressed your desire to stay within a certain, much lower, price range.

To my ears Mr. Daisey’s repeated claims that he stayed within the boundaries of truth as recognized by the theatre world, which are different from those acknowledged by the world of journalism, ring hollow. It sounds far too much like an individual caught doing something wrong, but who doesn’t want to stand up and simply say, “I lied.” I have just come from reading his blog and Mr. Daisey has gone on the offensive with Mr. Glass pointing out a number of indiscretions he believes This American Life has participated in regarding their reporting of the Apple factory issues. There are simply too many discrepancies between what Mr. Daisey says and what is truth. One of the most glaring is when he claims his translator’s name isn’t Cathy, but Anna, and her cell phone number has been disconnected and she is unreachable. Then Rob Schmitz, a reporter for Marketplace, who lives in Shanghai, went out out and found her. He found her by Googling Kathy, translator, and Guangzhou. These three words gave him her cell phone number, which he then used to call her and verify she was the actual translator used by Mr. Daisey on 2010 trip to China.  It is about honesty.

The second question; “What have we learned?” is much more difficult to answer. The backlash to both stories has already begun. Goldman Sachs sent a news release which basically said, (and I’m paraphrasing here), “What is the problem Mr. Smith? We are here to make money for our investors and that is what we do. They pay us and we produce, that is how it works. We do not apologize for making money, that is our job.” Conveniently ignoring the fact, one is capable of making money without sidelining the interests of the client.

Mr. Daisey claims he stands behind his monologue 100%. He posts on his blog (http://mikedaisey.blogspot.com/), “What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism.” One of the basic tenets of logic is something cannot be both true and not true at the same time. I was raised to believe truth is truth. 

What have we learned? I’m not sure, but this is what I have learned. The writer of the book of James in the New Testament has some good advice. He says, “Let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay.” I like that. Although it was composed over a century ago the truth it contains is still as accurate as the day those words were committed to papyrus. Just do it right. Be honest. That way you never have to look over your shoulder and the people reading your words or listening to you speak never have to wonder either.

Be encouraged.

A few thoughts on yesterday’s post…

As I was writing yesterday I began to think of a story I had heard some time ago. I am great at remembering stories and people, but not so good at remembering where I heard the stories or where I met the people. So if I am ripping this story off of you please forgive me. Leave a comment and I’ll make sure you get full credit.

A few years ago there was a study done that went into kindergarten classes and asked the little students how many of them could draw? In every instance 100% of the children raised their hands. Then they went to third grade classes and asked the same question, this time 2/3 of the class raised their hands. Next they went into fifth grade classes with the same question, but now only about 1/4 of the students raised their hands. The final class they asked were freshman in high school. The response had dwindled to less than a handful who believed they could draw.

So what has happened? Is there a mysterious ailment that afflicts adolescents causing them to lose the ability to draw? Or do they quit because art now becomes another class they need to get through? Or do they become preoccupied with “other stuff.”

I am no psychologist, but here is what I believe, at least, begins to contribute to the falling number of students who believe they can draw. They begin to listen to themselves and others who say, “You can’t draw.” Now maybe they aren’t that direct, instead they hear these words, “What is that?” or “That’s dumb.” or “Yeah, whatever.”

These words set the tone. They are not encouraging. They don’t make you feel like you are making a good effort. Back in my youth we called it a bummer. They bum you out. They cause you to doubt. To believe what you are accomplishing isn’t very good and not worth the effort.

I wonder what would happen if we praised the art work of every child. No I’m not saying we have to proclaim each child the next Picasso, but if we encouraged the effort, the concept, or the idea. Not all children can draw, but I suspect that are a lot of drawers out there who don’t draw because somewhere along life they got the idea they weren’t good enough.

What if this is true, not only with drawing, but also singing, writing, playing an instrument, creating, thinking, wondering, traveling, exploring, love, and/or life. What if this type of dwindling belief in what we can accomplish is active in sports, business, religion, in our governments, in our schools, in our hospitals, in our families, in our lives.

Is there really only one Lance Armstrong? 

Is there really only one Usain Bolt?

Is there really only one Martin Luther King Jr.?

Is there really only one Gandhi?

Is there really only one Desmond Tutu?

Is there really only one Richard Branson?

Is there really only one Steve Jobs? 

Or are there more? Maybe even thousands more, just waiting for the right words or combination of words, so they can excel. So they can break the shackles of mediocrity and soar. How high? We don’t have a clue. But we’ll never know if we don’t encourage.

Be encouraged.

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