Dress for Success

I recently had the opportunity to meet a manager of a memory care unit in a nursing home facility.  I will not mention where or who this individual is, but I had to mention what my impressions of this individual were.  When I walked into our meeting, I was shocked to see how this individual was dressed.  She was wearing leather leggings, 5-inch heels and a crop top.  She looked like she was ready to go to a club or bar-hopping with her friends, not head up a professional meeting or be at a professional job.  It made it very difficult for me to give her the attention and professional courtesy that her position warranted.

This meeting caused me to spend some time thinking about the things that that we choose to wear.  I hear a lot of talk about people wearing what they want and dressing in ways that make them feel comfortable and express their individual identity.  I am all for that, to a point.  I don’t think people should have to wear business suits every day, for example, but by the same token, I do think that clothing and style choices should be appropriate to the situation.  This woman had the freedom to wear what she had on, and though I was an outfit that I never would have picked for myself, was fine for her if that is what she was comfortable wearing.  However, her position was a professional one that brought with it exposure to residents, families, medical professionals, administrators, and others who would all form their impression of this individual partly on what they saw.

Someone once told me to dress for the position I want.  Taking care to look professional for a professional role, I think, is important and says something about you.  It says that you have common sense, that you have respect for your position and for the expectations of others.  It portrays confidence and competence.  If you have a nice pair of slacks and a cute top on, versus tight leggings and a crop top, it affects how others see you and treat you.  It can even have an effect in your ability to do your job well.

This might be a “no duh” post to a degree, but I think that the fact that I met this professional very recently means that maybe it needs to be said out loud.  Just food for thought…

 

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It’s Been A Bad Day but I am Good

Today has been one of those days.  You know the kind.  The I-never-should-have-climbed-out-of-bed and Can-this-day-just-end kind of days.  I’m not going to go into a lot of detail because, well, first of all you (my reader) really don’t want to hear this list and second of all, I just really don’t want to retell it because it is just depressing.

Everyone has days like this.  As I sit here thinking about mine, I realize that I have a choice about how I respond to this bad day.  I can cry and get all worked up and bitter and angry, which quite frankly would probably be understandable.  Or I can choose to look for the things I can be thankful for and concentrate on those.

Today I am thankful that I have a husband who was home today to help me face and address all of the stuff that just kept piling on.  I can be thankful for my best friend, who lets me text her as I go to distress, and who loves me anyway.  I am thankful for our friend from church who is helping us deal with one of our issues.  I am thankful for this beautiful day, and that I was able to get outside for a walk this afternoon.  I have things to be thankful for that I can concentrate on rather than those things that are frustrating and can drag a person down but that are a part of life sometimes.

I have had a bad day today, but I am good.

 

 

 

Remember the Simple Things

This morning while I was driving to my internship I was listening to the radio.  The hosts were talking about a recent news report that stated that the people of Norway (I think it was Norway) are much simpler in their parenting and in what they do with their children, and as a result their children are happier.  They then shared their memories of their childhood and what stood out as the best things that they remember doing with their families.  All three hosts remembered very simple things like going for a ride or playing a game in the back yard.  I thought it was interesting that even though they had “bigger” memories, such as trips to Disney as a family, these trips were not the thing that stood out to them.  It was the simple things.

I couldn’t help but think about what I remember about my childhood.  I remember, and appreciate the trip to camp at the beach and going to Creation as a family, but I think the memories that mean the most to me are much simpler.  I remember going to yard sales with my mom and/or grandmother.  I remember going fishing with my dad, or groundhog hunting, or sledding.  I remember renting movies and watching them over a snack.  Even today grilling and having a picnic dinner or sitting around the fire pit is the kind of thing that my family loves to do together.

It really is the simple things.

My kids are growing up.  I wonder what they remember most?  Is it the big planned activities?  Or was it much simpler?  Did my husband and I do enough of the quieter, easy-going stuff?

I’ll have to ask them.

Keep it Smaller and Change the World

This weekend was a busy one for me.  On Saturday I attended an all-day women’s event at my church.  Then yesterday morning my husband and I attended services at church and then a class after church.  Last night we attended a home group meeting.  The amazing thing about all of these events was that each event discussed essentially the same topic, which was not something that was planned to be that way.  The women’s event was IF Gathering (IF Gathering website) and was pre-recorded at a recent, nationally-broadcast live event.  Our pastor preached on the next chapter of Acts in a series of sermons based on that book.  The class Sunday afternoon was an informational class about our church as we are fairly new and considering membership.  And our home group has been discussing the same book for months now….last night was just a continuation of that.  None of it was connected except for the fact that it was all centered around our church.  It all was connected because of the theme that just kept making itself known.

The great big word that sums up the theme is “Evangelism.”  It is a word that has come to mean such big things in our culture, and to those who are not believers it has come to mean scary, pushy things.  When one hears evangelist or evangelize, it is easy to conjure pictures of Jimmy Swaggert, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, and even more modern-day folks like Benny Hinn or even pastors like Joel Osteen.  I’m not trashing these people, so please bear with me here.  These people and their ministries are known for going really big…for having a lot of people and TV shows and a lot of opinions that they freely shared with the world.  I am not commenting on their righteousness or their correctness, I am commenting on their showy methods that attract followers.  So many of our local churches today put on a big show, try to do it up really big to attract people.  People feel like church should be entertaining…a show!  Again, I am not putting anyone down here.  I have been a member of or visited many churches who do it big who love the Lord a whole lot and who are trying to reach people for Jesus.

What I learned about this weekend is a version of evangelism that is quiet.  That is more personal.  That involves cookies and milk, coffee, time spent talking and being with someone.  Time building a relationship with someone, quietly, and sharing who you really are is more valuable than anything in making a difference in someone’s life.  When I think back over my life to the moments that have made a difference to me, the things that come to mind are moments with people, quietly loving on me and listening to me.  I can’t think of one big splashy moment that meant anything to me that didn’t involve the intimate interaction of another person.

I learned that my offering people a ride, or going to lunch, or inviting someone over to just hang with us and spending time being real is what I can do to change the world.  Showing love and consideration for others, sharing who I am, sharing my faith and what makes me who I am can help someone else to change.  It can influence someone else to love, to be authentic, and even to find faith.  I don’t have to wait until I can do something big to change the world.  I can care, and change the world that is right around me.  Like a pebble thrown into a pond, the ripples will grow and spread and make a huge wave of difference.

 

Will It Be Today???

I have become addicted to a giraffe.

I began to watch the YouTube footage of Animal Adventure Park in New York as they livestream their two resident giraffes, April and Oliver, as April is in the last stage of her pregnancy.  (Go to see here)  The intention is to livestream the birth as it occurs for educational purposes.

I started watching the feed and checking out the information on the park and on giraffes because I love giraffes.  The news media stated that “any minute” she would give birth to a baby giraffe.  “Any minute” has lasted since February 21 for me!  I don’t watch constantly, though I know of people who do, but I do check in periodically and I look for any updates that the park officially releases.  I have learned so much in the time that I have been watching about animal conservation and giraffes in particular.

Something that disturbs me is some of the people who also have come to watch this miracle unfold.  Some people are just plain mean.  They think that they know everything and have to right to say whatever is on their mind whenever it is on their mind.  I have seen criticism of the care the animals receive, the frequency and amount of food they are given, the stall size and even the fact that the giraffes are not let outside when there is two feet of snow and ice out there (a danger to giraffes).  People have set up fake sites to mislead followers, and fake go-fund-me accounts to try and scam well-meaning people out of their money.  It is a shame that something that was established to be so positive and so beautiful by the owner and staff of the park has been hijacked by selfish, greedy, and know-it-all people.

I stay away from anything but the park website and official feed in order to avoid most of these annoying people.  Animal Adventure Park does a wonderful job caring for these and all their other animals, and they are doing a great thing for animal conservation to allow people to learn about giraffes and follow along on this anticipated delivery.  The more I have learned, the more I desire to support efforts to help these animals in the wild.

I eagerly await the birth of this new life at Animal Adventure Park.  Will it be today?

But I’m Not Like That

My husband is amazing when it comes to talking to people.  The kids and I like to pick on him, saying that Daddy makes a friend wherever he goes!  It is amazing to watch him.  We are at the grocery store, he chats with people in line, or with the cashier.  We are at the park, he will talk with other parents.  We go to a sporting event or to church, he is always chatting with someone, getting to know them or sharing a joke with them.  It is one  of his talents, reaching out to people and starting a conversation.

I, on the other hand, really struggle in this area.  I am one of those people who remain quiet around people that I do not know.  Every once in a while I will garner enough courage to make a comment or two to someone, but for the most part the very thought of talking to a stranger, of being the first to start an interaction, scares me to death!  I go blank.  I literally lose any coherent thought as to what I could say.  I have had some interpret this as I am not the most friendly, or that I am a bit stuck up.  Then there are those who have taken the time to get to know me.  They usually describe me as very friendly and outgoing.  It is an interesting dichotomy.  I find it much easier to converse when I am acquainted with someone.

I used to spend a lot of time worrying and fretting over the fact that I am not like my husband when it comes to people.  I want to be more outgoing and garrulous, and less shy and off-putting.  I have learned something in my more than forty years on this earth:  One kind of personality and/or approach, is not right or wrong, it is just different.  The talents that we possess are uniquely geared toward the unique place we occupy in our world.  My husband is good at reaching out to people, at beginning and then building relationship with them.  He does this in his everyday world, and he does this in a career.  I am good at cautiously becoming a part of someone’s world, at slowing gaining trust and insight and sharing who I am in intimate ways.  This serves me well in the few, but deep friendships that I have maintained over the years, and it serves me well in my career as I work with people who struggle with dementia.

I have begun to spend time letting my husband be the outgoing one for both of us, and entering a conversation after it has begun.  I don’t worry about not being able to be the one who jumps in and gets it all started, I just worry about being the one who connects as I am uniquely gifted to do.

 

The Balloon

The other day I was sitting with my family in our living room and playing with our kitties.  (We have two black with white marking kitties, one male and one female)  My son has a balloon that he received as a gift when her graduated high school in June.  The mylar balloon is beginning to deflate a bit, but is still afloat.  Our kitties both love the string on the balloon and they chase it and try and grab it and go crazy playing with it…until they see the balloon.  I don’t know why, but they are both scared to death of that balloon.

I started to think, because I think about absolutely everything, and I realized that the balloon kind of represents life.  The string is the part that we see and interact with, the part that is normal and even enjoyable in the course of a typical existence.  Just like my kitties, we can interact with the string safely and have nothing to worry about.

But then…

The big, bad balloon comes at us!  It is something that the kitties just do not recognize and do not understand, so they are scared.  Invariably they run from it. Sometimes life isn’t something we recognize or are comfortable with.  Because it is scary and new to us, we want to run.

The trick, I think, is to realize that the whole balloon is good, not just the string.  Life can be a wonderful adventure that can be enjoyed beyond the boundaries of what is comfortable and known.  There is so much more out there than just what is right in front of us.  So many opportunities that stem from the scary “unknown.”

Don’t you love how my brain works?!

 

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