Monday Morning …

Homework 1

If we are enriched by the books we read, why aren’t I a lot smarter …?

A small selection of books partially unread or waiting on my desk to be absorbed and analyzed.  Not all the books, read and unread, which live in my house … just the  ones at the top of the list this week. 

Some represent paid work, some are volunteer efforts, and some are just for fun … All seem to me to hold value for me and others, if we simply read, reflect, and act.

The perception does exist among some that what we read is both a window into our interests, values, and beliefs, and a dandy measure of what we bring to a work equation.

With all this in mind …

What’s on your reading list?

Wondering where the time will come from in the Heartland ….


My Titles:

Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Positive Psychology by Todd B. Kashdan and  Joseph Ciarrochi

Take Charge of Your Talent: Three Keys to Thriving in Your Career, Organization, and Life by Maruska and Jay Perry

Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow

The Golden Years: Healthy Aging and the Older Adult by Christopher W. Bogosh

The Book of Psychological Truths:  A Psychiatrist’s Guide to Really Good Thinking for Really Great Living by R. Duncan Wallace

Extraordinary Beliefs: A Historical Approach to a Psychological Problem by Peter Lamont

Winning On Purpose:  How  To Organize Congregations to Succeed in Their Mission by John Edmund Kaiser

Three “Simple” Steps to Real Listening …

“Everyone hears what you have to say.  Friends listen to what you say.  Best friends listen to what you don’t say.”


Ever had  a relationship where the other person understood what you were not saying?

… A relationship where silence was okay, because you were linked enough to not have to use words to convey your mood or siutation?

If “Yes”,  lucky you:)

Really listening to someone as active listening asks us to do, is hard work.

1)  Empty your mind

In other words, forget about what you want to say.   Minimize or eliminate distraction.   Just listen.

Never underestimate the power of focused attention to another person.

2)  Hear the words and the meaning behind them

Once you have emptied your mind of things that get in the way, you can concentrate on the words chosen to convey some message and the images that come from those words.

Words are not generic … each has a specific meaning, based on the person’s background, culture, and emotional state.  Pay attention and analyze what words they choose and the tone in which they use those words.

3)  Hear the silence and the words not chosen

This is the most difficult, but is also the source of the greatest insight.

Think about what was said and look for the missing pieces.  Try this:  

If you were talking about the topic, what would you include?

What did you expect to hear that you did not?

How congruent is their tone with their word choices?

Well, this is actually the easy part … once you hear the unspoken words and feel the underlying emotion, then you have to respond accordingly.

…. Tomorrow.

Trying to listen beyond the sounds in the Heartland ….


Repairing the Roof

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”

John F. Kennedy     As quoted in Talent Is Never Enough Workbook (2007) pg. 59

Well, it certainly is easier and less messy to do what you need to do before you really need to do it.

Think about cleaning out the garage – never occurs to me on a cool and clear day, when I could pile things in the driveway and still have elbow room to work in a moderately comfortable environment.   That would be be easy:)

What are you putting off that you know you need to do now, while it’s relatively easy and clean?

Even more importantly, why are you putting it off?

Trying to ignore that stack of “stuff I don’t like dealing with” in the Heartland ….


Why Not …?

“Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want.  It is instead the realization of how much you already have.”


I have been thinking about fulfillment lately.

Those kind of thoughts have been increasingly with me.  You know, the ones which start out  …

“I wish I had …”

“If only I could  …”

“Why can’t I …”

Sigh … so many unfulfilled desires, dreams, hopes … so little time and money.

One could spend a lifetime wanting what they do not have.   

Or I could spend my time thinking these kind of thoughts …

“I have …”

“I can …”

“Why not?”

Why do these kinds of thoughts seem so much harder to entertain?  Sometimes we seem hardwired to be pessimistic and “glass half full” types.

When I find myself falling into negative territory, I do three things:

1)  Fix my physical:   Eat better, sleep better, exercise more, and drink water.  Avoid sugar and snacking.  Clean up the house.  Do the chores.  Play with grandchildren.

2)  Fix my tangible:  What I can deal with, I try to face and do.  What I cannot deal with, I try to put aside.  Pay bills.  Repair things I can repair.   Make priority lists to help me decide.  Have guests for a meal.

3)  Fix my spiritual/emotional:  I seek comfort in positive thought, prayer, and trying to do good for others.  I go to church.  I volunteer to do things.  I seek the company of those I trust.

About that glass half full thing …

The pessimistic sees the glass half empty.  The optimist sees the glass half full.

The realist drinks the water,  and refills the glass, and drinks more until he is no longer thirsty.   I like that option.

Actually, I’d refill it with beer, but that’s another story for another time.

Having a long, cool drink of water in the Heartland ….


Looking Both Ways …

“Knowledge is realizing that the street is one-way, wisdom is looking both directions anyway.”

Anonymous (not me)

Astute observation about knowing things and understanding the world.  Several helpful life lessons here:

Because things are supposed to be one way does not mean they will always be that way.

We move through most of our days expecting things to work the way we understand and expect them to work.   The lights come on, the coffee perks, and the traffic moves … all according to plan.

Until something does not work the way it always has.

Ever stumble over something you did not expect to be where it actually was?  Ever have someone drive a car differently than they are supposed to?

Prudence is almost always okay, even when it is not needed.

Much is made of the need for initiative and rapid movement, especially in this online, 24/7, fast-moving world.  Careers are made and extinguished in the blink of an eye, as our basic assumptions are challenged and our preconceptions wiped out within a very short time frame.   

We do not have decades to change direction and we cannot put the hard decisions off until “tomorrow”.

This does not mean we are excused from due diligence and following that quintessential motherly advice to “Be careful.”

Looking both ways takes more time and may make you look like a cautious person and even silly to some.   Just think how you would appear as a flatly squished victim.

Rules are rules, but behavior is up to each individual.

Some of us (including me) are real into following rules.  We like the comfort of knowing where our boundaries are and how far our limits extend.  Those who ignore or violate the daily conventions, rules, and laws are looked down on as amoral or childish, while we take great pride in “doing what’s right”.

Of course, those lawbreakers may get all the good stuff, but we have our righteousness on which to fall back:)

Rules ARE important, but the reality is that not everyone follows the rules and at some point, everyone bends or breaks those societal expectations.

Maybe they drive the wrong way down the street or maybe they simply do something different than you expected.

Okay, this really is not about looking both ways on a one-way street, although I do this, I taught my children to do this, and am teaching my grandchildren to do so as well.   This is about realizing that knowledge is based on what we already know and that’s not enough to be successful in life.

You have to know enough to know when to go beyond what you know:)

Trying to figure out what I know and what I need to know in the Heartland ….