Forever and Ever

Woohooooo, it’s Friday!

Do you need an antidote from all the drama this political season? How about a throwback song? Randy Travis was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame (finally!) and I think we should celebrate with his Forever and Ever, Amen. “I’m gonna love you forever and ever, forever and ever, amen.”

forever-and-ever

May you have a glorious weekend with someone you love. 😉

Move Along

Wow, we made it! I haven’t been so glad to see Friday since…. Ummm, well, last week. 😉

Friday dance.gif

It’s been a bear of a week, hasn’t it? Just when you start to whine about your challenges, stop and think of those around you. I find it’s easier to let go of the frustration by empathizing, which means focusing on others and their experiences. This not only helps you shift your focus from you and your misery but also opens you up to supporting others. Isn’t that what community is all about?

Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day makes me think of how hard it is to be isolated. Even though it’s a melancholy song, I find myself humming it. It’s also a great crowd-shout song for road trips….You know I can see y’all motoring to this. 😉

Need something a little more upbeat for your Friday? All American Rejects Move Along is an anthem to picking yourself up after a fall.

“When all you got to keep is strong,

Move along, move along, like I know you do

And even when your hope is gone

Move along, move along just to make it through….”

And I can’t help adding Traveling Wilbury’s End of the Line. It’s got me grooving while I clean up email this morning, imagining setting off on a great adventure.

I’ve got road trip music on my mind (can you tell?) – May y’all have great adventures this weekend!

Caryn

Love You Dodo

Love in the age of electronics means being able to laugh at yourself. Seriously. Haven’t you ever sent something by accident – either to the wrong person or typed badly or gotten help from spellcheck? Of course you have. It’s not the mistake that matters, it’s how we react to it that counts. Like wrinkles, it’s our reactions that give us character. They become the evidence of a life well lived.

When I send a text to my husband, I often sign off with an “xoxo”. This is so automatic that I frequently send it to coworkers. Usually, this is when I’m doing too many things at once. (Uhh, that would be anytime I’m doing more than one thing at a time….) Fortunately, it’s a loving mistake. They reply with things like, “love you too, boo” or “awww, that’s sweet”. I even get, “bet you were sending this to Martin” (that’s Dear Husband or DH).

So, now it’s the day before Valentine’s Day and I’m sending a text. I’ve got the recipient right – DH – but not focusing on the keyboard or the blasted spell check. DH is running an errand for me and I meant to send him, “xoxo” By the time I notice “xoxo” has become “dodo”, the text is gone. Poof. Sent and forever in the ether.

IMG_6397

One of the best parts of our relationship is that we laugh. A lot. Fortunately, this is now just another one of those moments. He knew what I meant and he could guess how it happened. Will he forget it? Of course not. Years from now, he’ll be sending me texts like “Love you dodo”. It’ll be an inside joke. It’ll give our relationship a little more depth, another line that defines us, evidence of a love well lived. ❤

How much do you love me?

IMG_3468

Before

 

I was thinking a lot about forgiveness this weekend, after I had a discussion with a retired minister. The conversation started with us discussing something my husband, Martin, did. A couple of weeks ago, when I came home, Martin greeted me with, “How much do you love me?”

IMG_3466

Before

 

Hmmmmmm. As a conversation starter, what does that inspire in you? My reaction was A) What did you buy? or B) What did you do? In this case, it was B; he’d seriously messed up one of my finished pieces (y’all know I knit, right?). It was a gorgeous wool vest that shouldn’t be machine washed because it shrinks – seriously shrinks, as in, fits-a-child-shrinks.

IMG_6221

After, compared to another version that is original size.

 

Anywhoways, the point is, hubby did something and was worried about my reaction. Sweet, right? I couldn’t get mad; it actually made me laugh to look at it. (It also made a bunch of my fiber friends laugh…) And therein lies the point of the discussion with the minister.

IMG_6215

After. Definitely after.

 

She (yes, she; bet y’all thought it would be a he…), she said that this was very forgiving of me, as if it cost me something to not get mad about the ruined vest. I thought differently – it would cost me wayyyyy more to get mad. Here’s why: First, I appreciated that he felt bad (after all, he did ruin it) but I also felt bad that he felt bad. People make mistakes and we need to give each other room to do so without judgment; empathizing with them is part of this and judging others degrades your relationship in my view. And really, what’s more important to you, the relationship or the mistake? Getting angry about it would put the emphasis on the mistake and not on him. Since he’s so much more important to me than any object, it makes sense, right? It also helped that it made me laugh (one reason I married him) and that he didn’t mind when I shared a picture of it with some friends and we laughed ourselves silly. I ask you, did forgiveness cost me or benefit me?

 

Our friend Patrick models the new-and-improved vest, errr, hat.  Whaddaya think?

Our friend Patrick modeling the after version as a hat.         Whaddaya think?

Why this topic, this day? Because today is when we honor the Reverend Martin Luther King, Junior. He’s famous for many things; one of my favorite quotes on forgiveness is his:

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” – Martin Luther King, Junior.

Not every instance of forgiveness is easy. It’s usually quite difficult but that’s beside the point. Forgiveness is often more about how we think of the world and forgiveness, or a lack of it, affects how we act and how we influence others. If you get a moment today, think about forgiveness. It’s one way to honor Reverend King’s legacy.

It’s All Good

Happy Friday! Get down, get Funky! I usually send out a note to my coworkers on Fridays with a Funky Friday theme. We started out with watching old Soul Train videos and it expanded from there.

Is it work related? No, not at all. But… it gets us up and dancing and brings a common grin to everybody on my email. Shared experiences bring us together and, for a national team, it’s a challenge to accomplish this. We don’t get to see each other in the halls or go to lunch. We’re on conference calls nonstop and it’s too easy to miss the personal connection. What to do then? Inject a little humor (have you seen the hair on those Soul Train vids? Priceless!) and a little musical inspiration and you have something that gets us up out of our chairs. Totally worth the few minutes of distraction…

Today’s song is one of my favorites – its retro funk sound is not only perfect for my Booty Shaker playlist, it’s also got really good lyrics. Basically, its message is that it doesn’t matter about our differences –

Hollywood, or in the hood, it don’t matter…

Tight fade, or long braids, it don’t matter…

East coast or west coast, it don’t matter…

Either way, it’s all good.”

This is Robert Randolph and the Family Band’s Ain’t Nothing Wrong with That. Time for a little chair dancing!

US versus Them (uhh, that means all y’all who are not us and, no, I don’t find that at all confusing)

We’ve been watching “The Bridge” lately, a show on two police detectives trying to solve crime on the El Paso/ Ciudad Juarez border. It’s highlighted the us v them mentality that seems to be everywhere in politics these days.

What is the difference that happens on the border of our country? The U.S.-Mexico border seems to be so much more controversial than the U.S.-Canada border. Why is that? What makes the difference in our perception? Do we see Canadians as more like us than Central and South Americans? I’m willing to bet the Canadians (especially the French-Canadians) don’t see themselves the same as us on the south side of that particular border. Are Canadian immigrants OK and Mexican immigrants not? Do we have different objectives in each of these cultures? Or does it just feel different on the inside of our culture?

US versus Them – What’s really the difference in these two groups of people, except their labels?

I live in a city where 2/3 of the population has Hispanic or Latino ancestry and 40% of the households speak a foreign language (likely Spanish) in the home. In many ways, this is a city where the residents are as at home in the U.S. as they are in Central or South America. Do we love these neighbors any less than those who have European ancestry? Many of them are U.S. born of immigrant parents. Do we love these first-generation people any more than someone who has just arrived from another country? I struggle with why many in our nation condemn people who are “other” (other than themselves, meaning of different backgrounds) when, at some point, our ancestors were also ‘other’ to the residents of our nation. Can we not accept each other as individuals, without judging stereotypes?

This belief that “we” are somehow superior to “them” is known as ethnocentrism. It lacks humility and requires broad assumptions about others. I think I can safely argue that the British had this same ethnocentrism about the American colonies, and look where that got them.

I’ll leave you with this quote, it seems appropriate for a time in which we’re debating immigration and our role on the world stage. It’s as appropriate now as it was in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border? Pablo Casals, Spanish cellist and conductor (1873-1976)

Wag more. Bark less.

DSC_0005

Fierce protectors, resting after a long day defending the palace.

All right, I think I’ve found my favorite slogan ever: “Wag more. Bark less.” Isn’t that awesome? We’ve got two large dogs so I may be biased about this obviously dog oriented philosophy. Our Weimaraners are good natured girls but they think they need to guard us from the hordes overrunning the back fence. What may look like an innocent rock, leaf or squirrel to you is, in reality, the next invasion of barbarians. Are dogs innately suspicious? Is it that simple? Or do they have justification for suspecting all kinds of nefarious things in our idyllic backyard?

You’ve probably heard the parable about two travelers coming upon a farmer on the outskirts of town. When the first traveler asks the farmer what kind of people live in the town, the farmer turns the question back on the traveler and asks what kind of townfolk lived in the traveler’s previous town. “A bad lot”, the first traveler answers. The farmer then advises this traveler that they will likely find what they have before. When a second traveler approaches and asks the same question, the farmer again responds with a question. This time, the traveler says they were good people and that he will miss them. Guess what the farmer says? OK, I know. Y’all have heard this before. Then you totally understand the relationship between my dogs and those travelers. The farmer tells the second traveler that he will likely find the same kind of people in the town, just like where he came from.  Like my dogs, the travelers see the same things and interpret them differently, one sees the negative, the other one sees the positive. In the case of the travelers, it is the type of people. In the case of my girls, it’s rocks and leaves masquerading as danger.

Some of you are mumbling (as the mother of a teenage boy, I have supersensitive hearing, the better to hear mumbles with….), “If it walks like a duck, talks, like a duck….” Well, I’ll give you that one. Sometimes people are bad and rocks are dangerous. But you have to think about the big picture – are all the people in your life bad? Is every rock a menace? If so, to paraphrase the farmer, maybe it’s you, not them. This brings me back to the simple joy of “Wag more. Bark less.” I think that’s a GREAT motto to live by. I’d rather see the joy in things. Yeah, so once in a while, I’ll get a nasty surprise. Does that mean I should always be looking for it from perfectly nice people? I’d like to have more faith than that. I’d like to wag more and bark less.

On the Hunt

On the hunt for barbarians, they could be anywhere, maybe even up in that tree.

References

 “Wag More Bark Less” is the slogan of Buddy Biscuits dog treats – http://www.cloudstar.com//prodcat/Wag-More-Bark-Less-Treats.asp

For more on the travelers and the farmer, see this excellent telling of the parable (scroll down to The Two Travelers and the Farmer): http://www.wisdomcommons.org/virtue/151-optimism/parables