Joy

Let’s start the week with a little joy – watch this video of a woman enjoying the snow. I dare you not to smile at her pleasure.

Let’s list a few things that she could complain about, if she chose to:

  1. it’s cold
  2. she’s getting wet
  3. she has no gloves
  4. she might fall

These are all good reasons to stay in the car, right? I’ll bet it’s warm and dry inside and she could watch the snow falling just fine. What does she choose to do instead? She gets out of her comfort zone and she plays in the snow. I love her giggles and I love that her son (behind the video) is laughing along with her.

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May your day be full of joy, even when you’re cold and uncomfortable.

May you have someone to share your joy. ❤

 

More Singing!

That title probably has some of you running for the mute button. Not everyone feels the joy of raising your voice. But even those of us without vocal skill (yet, there’s always hope…) can join in since it’s about the trying, especially if your friends ❤ you a lot.

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Did you know that singing is good for you? It releases endorphins, which helps with stress. Imagine your next big meeting, everyone’s all stressy, and you start a British style singsong…. Ha! Even that little bit made you smile, huh? Singing  is good but singing in a group is even better, improving your confidence and sense of community.

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Let’s sing along with a few secular Christmas carols this week. I’ve got Hannukah songs teed up for next Friday and I’m taking suggestions. 😀

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus debuted in 1952 as a Saks Fifth Avenue promotion and, did you know (?), was banned by Catholic Church in Boston for a while. After the lyricist met with the Archbishop, they lifted the ban. Here’s the Jackson 5 cover.

Up On the Housetop is the 2nd oldest secular Christmas song  (Jingle Bells is the oldest). Here’s Pentatonix’s 360 version (make sure you view with a Chrome, Internet Explorer browser since Safari doesn’t do 360).

Written by Irving Berlin in 1942, White Christmas became the best selling record of all time (Bing Crosby version). Collabro is a British acapella group with lovely harmonies.

Mele Kalikimaka (May-lay Kah-lee-kee-mah-kah) means “Merry Christmas” in Hawaiian. It’s a really kitschy song, first recorded in 1950 by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters. This version by the Puppini Sisters is a great update. We grew up singing this one so it’s a personal fave. ❤

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All I Want for Christmas is a recent addition from Mariah Carey (I couldn’t resist this Carpool Karaoke version!).  This version, though, was sung on the The Voice Kids Portugal. It isn’t polished but don’t you love the way the judges got into it? THAT’s the power of joy, the power of song. It helps that the judges have GREAT voices but I howled along just fine from here. 🙂 Both versions, Carpool and The Voice show the fun of singing together…. I’m just saying, again. 😉

Let’s go make some joyful memories!

 

 

 

I Think I Can

 

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Let’s start Monday with a pop quiz. 😉

Pick one:

  1. I can’t do that.
  2. I don’t know how to do that yet.

Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist has spent years studying how our mindset affects our performance and personal satisfaction.

She describes two mindsets: fixed and growth. In a fixed mindset, people believe their ability is a fixed trait, meaning it is what it is, they can’t learn new things (option 1). In a growth mindset, people believe they can develop a skill, meaning they can improve over time (option 2). This is a deep topic, worthy of a book (which Dr. Dweck has considerately written), //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=yar0dc-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0345472322&asins=0345472322&linkId=bf4422fb0e8b3725f406af01e494abeb&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” target=”_blank”>Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

For today, here’s something to nibble on as you go through your week: We live in an evolving world and we can choose to learn with it or stay in place. We can keep up with the stream of new data, new skills, new technology, new everything or we can be the rock that stays still in the middle of the river. Can you tell which one appeals to me? 🙂

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Learning requires

  • Curiosity
  • Exposure to things that are different from you and how you think
  • Listening
  • Being uncomfortable when you can’t understand or do something…. at first
  • Practice, practice, practice until you get better
  • Taking a chance that you’ll fail, sometimes publicly
  • Faith in your ability to learn

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Why does mindset matter?

Our mindset frames how we see the world and whether we’re willing to invest, to have faith in our ability to change, to do things differently.

Can you imagine telling a child that they’ll never get smarter? That they’ll never advance to the next grade?

Would we tell a new employee that they’ll never learn a new skill and so we won’t send them to training?

Of course not. We would have faith in them that they will learn and grow. So why would we tell ourselves these negative things? I’m not saying that we should all go back to school or tackle every new concept. I’m saying that, if you want to, you can learn anything you want. The real challenge is knowing what you want to learn, not whether you can do it.

By the way, if you’re interested in more from Carol Dweck, check out www.curious.com, where she has a weekly post on mindsets.

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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