Harmony

dog-howlI can’t sing, just ask those who’ve heard me. See that dog howling? Yeah, that’s me.😉 I managed to make it through choir (it was a small school, they were desperate!) but I now limit my vocal acrobatics to the car, the shower and my office (door closed, I promise).

Just because I can’t sing doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy listening to others…. especially groups who sing in harmony. One voice can be beautiful but many voices? Breathtaking. We’re deep into the holidays so it’s fitting that we celebrate Friday with a few songs that are all about harmony. Today, I’ve got a few traditional Christmas carols. The next couple of weeks, we’ll listen to some less traditional Christmas songs and also some Hanukkah tunes.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman is an English carol dating back to the 16th century…. here’s a 21st century version God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman – Pentatonix.

Do You Hear What I Hear, on the other hand, was written in 1962. The lyricist was asked to write a Christmas song. Instead of a commercial tune, he and his then wife penned a song pleading for peace since the nation was in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The lyrics are timeless given all that’s going on across the globe and here at home. Do You Hear What I Hear – Home Free

Finally, Silent Night was composed in the early 19th century by an Austrian for a church service. Nearly 100 years later, it became a notable moment in World War I when German and Western forces serenaded each other on Christmas Eve, a short truce in the trenches. Does that not inspire you to put down your weapon of choice (smartphone, tablet, laptop or pc) and call a truce to the angry rhetoric? Here’s a random group of strangers singing  Silent Night – Flash Mob at Macy’s. Wouldn’t it be cool to see this live, to participate? Regardless of your voice, there’s something meaningful in singing along.

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Have a glorious weekend, may it be full of harmony!

Mega Modern Family

The holidays are all about family and friends. Sometimes, you’re even lucky enough to spend some up-close-and-personal time with them. Let’s hope you make great memories and can laugh at the funny (and not-so-funny stuff).😉

Today’s Hump Day ad is Tide: Mega Modern Family Gets the Most With Tide HE These are things you just can’t unsee……It’s a great ad, showing off the product and engaging you with humor about a situation we can all relate to.

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I think that the Tide family and Modern Family (above) are related, don’t you? They’re both full of love, a little humor, a little snark and, above all, community. What would we do without each other?

Take a Chance

The next time you doubt yourself, I want you to think about someone else. There’s no question that your days are hard and you could use a break. Can’t we all? But when you’re having your worst day, I hope thinking about someone else inspires you to keep going.

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Take a short journey with me: Imagine being Grace Murray Hopper, born in 1906, the oldest of three children. Can you imagine a young girl living in the 1900s in New York City? Would you expect her to marry, stay home and raise the children? Or maybe she would work, most likely as a teacher or a nurse.  What are the odds that she would be not just a mathematician, but one of the leading computer scientists of the 20th century, a United States Navy Rear Admiral and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom? How many times do you think she heard the word the word ‘no’? How many times do you think she wondered if it could be done? How many times do you think she took a chance?

grace-murray-hopper-programmerMy dad brought me a couple of books when he visited last month, one of which was Computers: Their History, Present Applications, and Future by Shirley Thomas. Dad pointed out Grace Hopper’s role in computer programming, including her time at UNIVAC (now Unisys), where dad also worked. Among Ms Hopper’s accomplishments:

  • Attended Vassar despite being turned down the first time she applied.
  • Served in the WAVES (a branch of the US Naval Reserve), despite not meeting their physical requirements.
  • Developed the first compiler, despite no one believing it could be done, leading eventually to her work developing COBOL, the most ubiquitous business language to date.
  • Worked for the Department of Defense until she was 79, despite the mandatory retirement age of 60. (Congress had to approve her active duty status.)

Is it any wonder that she became known as Amazing Grace?

My favorite Amazing Grace quote is:

“The most important thing I’ve accomplished, other than building the compiler, is training young people. They come to me, you know, and say, ‘Do you think we can do this?’ I say, “Try it.” And I back ’em up. They need that. I keep track of them as they get older and I stir ’em up at intervals so they don’t forget to take chances.”

The next time you feel overwhelmed, I hope you remember Rear Admiral Grace Hopper and all she accomplished. I hope you remember to take a chance.

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Miles and Miles

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When I’m counting my blessings, one of the items on my list is my career. Among other things, it took us back to Texas, where I was born. During my childhood and then as an adult, we’ve moved frequently. After we moved to Dallas in the 90s, we always knew Texas would be home.

 

miles-cloudsThere’s something about the wide open sky and the never ending highways (all 80,000
miles of them) that makes me feel at peace. We now live in south Texas, where the weather is relatively mild and the big city is as close to a small town as you can get.

 

What better way to celebrate Friday, than with a little Texas swing? Asleep at the Wheel’s Miles and Miles of Texas is one of my favorites and I used to play it regularly on Friday mornings when I worked in DC. It wasn’t long before we Boogie(d) Back to Texas. Gotta love Ray and the rest of the band.😉

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A Million Things to Be

We are rich in opportunities. Sure, there are obstacles between us and our goals, but that’s life. Sometimes those obstacles are speed bumps and sometimes they’re brick walls. But what if there is something meaningful on the other side? Will you get stopped by the voice in your head that says, “I can’t”?

speedbumps

What do you see when you look around, the speedbumps, the brick walls, the can’ts?

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Or do you see the doors, the windows, the what ifs?

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It’s no secret that I see the what-ifs. (Unless I’m cranky, then I’m all about the I-don’t-wannas …. :D) I think this is one reason I really like this hump day ad, Free To Be – 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk and Summit. It’s well designed, cleverly edited and full of feel-goods. By the way, the accompanying song is Cat Stevens’s If You Want to Sing Out.

The ad ran this fall, during the peak of the election cycle, and Jeep did a great job of taking a very angsty, emotional time in the US and flipping it, reminding us that we’re better together. Jeep reminded us that, if we want to, we can see beyond our differences to that which makes us a community. My question for you: do you want to?

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Happy Hump Day, may you find more doors than brick walls!

 

We Can Do So Much

Have you ever been intimidated by a task? Whether it was achieving a personal dream or delivering a project at work, our tasks can be enormous.

How many times have you walked away from a goal because it seemed too large, too impossible? We all have that little voice in our heads that doubts whether something can be done. Sometimes, those voices come from outside.

“You’ll never make it.”

“It’ll never last.“

“What a mess.” 

“Why bother? No one will listen to you.”

I can’t be the only one that has heard these from family, friends and coworkers, can I?

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And yet, we find that we can achieve our goals. Some of you have gone back to school and gotten your college degree while working full time. Or you got  a long dreamed for promotion. Maybe you launched that project on time and on budget. You shot for the moon and made it farther than you ever expected. In other words, you managed to achieve your goal in spite of the challenges.

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Did you do it alone? Did you rely on family, friends and coworkers? Maybe a stranger lent a hand? Were you that person that lent someone else your support?

As we wind up 2016, let’s take a moment to appreciate those who helped us along the way. Let’s also stop to consider who we can support – whether it’s the local food bank or shelter, friend or stranger, I hope y’all reach out.

Press Play

Hey there, it’s Friday! How did you do this week? Did you get everything done? Did you enjoy it?

What’s the point in getting through the week if you don’t make the most of your experience? After all, it’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey.

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When I saw The Piano Guys Can’t Stop the Feeling – Dance Like Nobody’s Watching, I couldn’t help myself. I grinned, big. Here were all of these folks, Walmarting, getting their tasks done. Were they thinking, “this is gonna be FUN!”? How about you, when you watch, do you really expect these folks to break into a dance just because a boombox is waiting for them to press play?   I love that the shoppers defied the norm and showed us some spirit, sweet, sassy, and joyful.

What about the Walmart team? I love that they hosted the making of this video, it shows some spirit behind the corporate logo.

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I love that The Piano Guys delivered their message this way – we can only imagine how much fun they had, too. They got their job done (promoting their new album) and did it with style. They brightened someone’s day.

May your weekend be fabulous, may you spread a little joy, may you rise above the mundane and have some fun along the way.

Caryn