Getting Up The Next Day …

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”

Vince Lombardi  As quoted in Into the Gauntlet (2010) pg. 181

Well, it might be a little about HOW you get up too …

In one of those little life coincidences, this quotation comes in the order the day after I learn of a dear friend’s cancer.   My thoughts over the past day have been much about how we deal with what life presents to us.

We will get knocked down … as sure as God made little green apples.

No surprises there.  Life has an apparent randomness to it and events happen without notice, without reason, and without checking first to see who deserves a better deal.

I hate this phrase, but it fits:   “It is what it is.”

Railing about the unfairness of something does little to address the reality.  Being upset may feel good for a while, but that gets old rather quickly.    Despair only leads down and that spiral does not end well.

So how to get back up when you are lying flat on your back with the wind knocked out of you?

Here’s one prescription from another dear friend and the husband:

“In the meantime we are focusing on healing prayer/meditation, right thinking, trusting God, and giving attention to the many avenues of health and support that are so very important. Thanks in advance for your love and care. It means so much in a time such as this.”

The simple faith, acceptance, and positive attitude I see in these words works for me.  If you are lying on the floor and struggling for breath over what life has handed you, maybe they will help you some as well.

Hurting and looking for comfort in the Heartland ….


3 Thoughts about Why “Doing It” is Overrated …

No, not THAT “Doing It” … I mean the general notion of experiencing something and drawing lessons from it.

Yesterday, I posed the following question while blogging about bags:

In a world of constant and fast-paced change, how valuable is experience?

My personal response is that experience is incredibly valuable … as long as we consider our experience using the following filters:


Consider the environment and situation in which your experience occurred.   All other things being equal, old experience is less valuable than recent experience ~ things change and what was valid “then” may or may not still be useful.

Yes, ultimate truths do exist, but we tend to treat cultural and temporary knowledge as eternal, which they ain’t.


Are the experiences we have providing the same lessons?   If they are, why do we need to keep learning the same thing?

I am a big believer in making new mistakes on a regular basis.  When I make the same mistakes, I am either not paying attention or I am resisting learning the lesson.

What about you?  New mistakes or old?


We learn from both positive and negative experiences, so both have usefulness.  However, over a period of time, we should be getting better at critically and creatively evaluating our actions and making better decisions.

I take great satisfaction in applying “lessons learned” earlier in my life to the present.

I have no greater regrets than when I do not do this.

So, pay attention to the quality of your experiences, the transferability of your learning, and how things work out for you each time:)

Finally, a thought from someone who seems like an old friend …

“The difference between school and life?  In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test.  In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”

Tom Bodett, who is keeping the light on for ya:)

Looking for that friendly and always-on light in the Heartland ….


“This Job is Killing Me” … Seriously!


Is Your Job Killing You?     

Well, this is an important question:)

Click on the question to see a fascinating infographic Delano Taylor (a regular contributor to “The Daily Infographic”.  Thanks to David Kanigan for bring this to our attention.  

Much to ponder about the causes, manifestations, and strategies to deal with job stress.  We have been talking about this for years and the current economic situation is just making things even more stressful for those working in organizations.

I’m tempted to focus on some of the more startling items in this report:

Karoshi (Japanese for “death from overwork” which may be the root cause of 10, 000 deaths of managers, executives, and engineers last year in Japan.

Your co-workers may cause you stress through “inappropriate or just different personalities and work styles – well, yeah:)

Most stressful jobs:  Commercial Pilot, Public Relations Officer, Senior Corporate Executive, Photojournalist, Newscaster – Okay, I get the first three, but Photojournalist and Newscaster fascinate me by their presence on this list.

Forget the trivia – here’s the helpful stuff:

Here are your instructions:

1)  Pick the side which applies to you ~ for many, the correct response here is “Both”

2)  Do what the list says … consistently, cheerfully, and relentlessly.


Any questions?

Trying to decide which side to work on first in the Heartland ….


Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy … But Why?


… and I am not asking about gentle satisfaction or giggly fits.  I mean really joyously happy … like that guy above.

Let’s face it … lots of us are not really joyously happy.  We have periods and instances of happiness, but not the sustained glow that many of us probably wish.

Some possibilities:

Money?  Fame?   Success?  A shot at American Idol?  A shot at being President?  The ability to vote for President? 

Our own reality show?   Writing the great American e-book?   More three-day weekends?

Quitting your job?  Getting a job?  Opening your own bar/coffee shop/boutique/porn store?

Children?  Well-behaved Children?  Children who act their age?  Children who honor their parents as the parents wish to be honored?

Regaining a lost love?   Finding a new love?  

Being at peace?  Being in the driver’s seat?

  A second chance?  A first chance?   One more chance?  The possibility of chances?

Please feel free to add possibilities to suit your personal dreams and aspirations.

As we continue to think about happiness, we pause for news from the rest of the world …


Okay, not the WHOLE world, but 24 countries were included in this IPSOS Annual Happiness study

First, some interesting findings:

1)  77% of those surveyed indicated they were “happy” and 22% indicated they were “very happy”.  This in November 2011 – just a few months ago and during one of the most turbulent times for the global economy in the history of the world.

2)  The United States, my homeland and the envy of the world (or so we say) came in with 28% “very happy”, which does not even put us in the top five.  We may be big and powerful with many fascinating technological toys at our fingertips, but that apparently does not make many of us all that happy.   “We’re Number 7” may be our new cheer.

3)  Indonesia leads the list with a whopping 51% “very happy”, with India, Mexico, and Brazil close behind, while Russia, South Korea, and Hungary were at the bottom.   Some of the more populous countries apparently are full of relatively happy people.

Here’s the complete list and partial results from the website – for more, click on IPSOS Annual Happiness study.

What This All Means:)

Nothing much, really … Happiness is ultimately a very personal situation and very subjective.  Go back to my list of possibilities and notice which ones resonate with you.  Someone else will have different values and desires. 

Happiness is what you make of it … and it is pretty much within your control.

As millions of posters convey in one form or another, you cannot always control events, but you certainly can work on how you respond to them.

So what if we are number seven?   You can choose happiness today, if you choose to do so.   For some handy tips on how to do that in great detail, go visit Gretchen Rubin over at the Happiness Project.  Take a cup of coffee with you, get real comfortable, and browse around.  Sample the collected wisdom of those who have chosen happinesss

It’ll make you smile ….

Getting real happy regardless of what events hand me in the Heartland ….


Singing the Small Group Blues …

Being in a small group makes me crazy …

I have participated in small groups, facilitated small groups, and created opportunities for small groups in the military, higher education, church, corporations, and community groups.

Some of these small groups huddled in the corner of a fellowship hall in a country church while the snow piled up outside, others convened with coffee in hand in slick and new small group meeting rooms in a corporate headquarters with climate control, AV to your heart’s content, and logoed company shirts.  Others were on the back of an M60 tank, in a hospital, or in a classroom on a campus, and some have happened in the quiet and beautiful woods of a retreat center, where you can hear yourself and other living things breath.

Some groups have lasted less than an hour and others have met regularly for years.

I have been in groups with small children as part of their therapy, with adolescents and young adults seeking, with co-workers trying to figure out how to get along better, with professionals trying to update their skills and knowledge, and with people expecting, needing, and giving support while we all deal with life issues.

At this point, I know several things which are generally true about being in a small group  … Continue reading