Listen…

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…can you hear that snowflake hit the ground?

I know I’m a few days early for a New Year’s Resolution post. But that’s not really what this is. This is a post about making a positive lifestyle change. A permanent change. A change that will make me a better person.

It won’t be easy. The important things never are.

As decent human beings, we strive to learn, to do good things, and be better people. Becoming our authentic selves takes time, dedication, and—what I’ve realized lately—it takes good listening skills.

We are all guilty of interrupting our companion to interject our next thought, our next idea. With close friends and family, it is a dance we do, and it is generally accepted and expected. There’s a rhythm and a flow to these conversations.

But what about with strangers? I’m one of those people who have trouble remembering names. I think it’s because I don’t listen well enough. I’m too busy being shy and insecure. Being an introvert. I’ve been too busy listening to the negative speak in my head…no one wants to hear what I have to say…no one will remember my face, my words, or my ideas…

I’m over that now.

Now I’m ready to grow into a better listener. I’m ready to sit in the stillness between the words and soak them in. Be mindful. Give the words as much time and space as they need to take up residency in my memory. Slow down. Be in the moment. So rather than answer reflexively with platitudes, I can respond with thoughtful confidence, praise with genuine heart, and comfort with loving care.

I want to learn to listen so hard that I can hear snow flakes falling, fish swimming under the surface of the water, and leaves hitting the ground.

Wish me luck! Mindful listening is the new black.

You heard it here first, folks. winky-kiss

 

 

Please stop the GROSSNESS!

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I don’t rant often. My last one (about paper towels) was posted two years ago.

But I can stay silent on the abc (already been chewed) chewing gum epidemic no more.

This is the ghastly sight I see when walking up to the front door of my local drug store. Come on, people! Seriously?! You just spit your foul gum onto the sidewalk for others to step in? GROSS. Grow up already.

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Just because your mommy isn’t there with her hand held out – to take your sticky gum – like when you were a kid, doesn’t mean it’s okay to throw it on the ground. There are garbage cans outside most stores. There are store receipts in your purse or pocket that work perfectly well for this purpose…there are tissues, new and used, scraps of paper everywhere…but a healthy percentage of you think the best idea is to spit your nasty gum on the ground?

Even if I don’t step on your disgusting refuse while it’s still wet (which is a whole other rant) I will step on it because THERE’S SO MUCH… so many of you seem to do this that it’s damn near impossible to avoid stepping on it.

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PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE. Stop the grossness! If you can’t throw away your used chewing gum in a proper way, then STOP CHEWING IT!

Thank you.

End of rant.

One Good Thing

WTWAMy new motto is; “Do One Good Thing” for myself every day. Because, let’s face it, if I don’t take care of me, and make myself feel special, it’s likely not going to happen. That’s not a dig on my sweet husband (who is my biggest advocate and cheerleader, or my friends and family), but it speaks to the truth that I must feel worthy, by treating myself special, before anyone else can. Anyway.

This past week, I did one good thing for myself all week long! I attended my first writer’s academy (not a conference—big difference). West Texas Writer’s Academy in Canyon, Texas. #WTWA

Everything from the campus, to the faculty, to the food and the other writers, met or far exceeded my expectations. I’d  heard ‘this was the best thing I’ve ever done for my writing’ from more than one person beforehand, and I came away with the exact same sentiment.

Wow! Every day my brain was filled to capacity with information that, when put into practice, will make me a better writer. It was the most positive, supportive environment I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing, and the friendships I made will be with me a lifetime—that’s what happens when you find your tribe. I’m already looking forward to attending again and again, and putting into practice the long-term goals the week helped me define.

Do yourself a couple of favors; do one good thing for yourself today, and every day. Then, go find your tribe.

You’ll thank me, and you’ll be better equipped to go out and do one good thing for someone else…which is the reason I believe we’re here.

Holy Guacamole

There we sat. Three generations of strong, smart women — sharing bowls of queso, chips and delicious guacamole. My daughter and I on one side of the booth, my Mom on the other.

We barely had an hour for lunch, but we were making the most of it.  Angela, our oh-so-cute waitress took our orders and poured iced teas. It was a noisy Monday lunch crowd, but we managed to converse, laugh and enjoy each other’s company.

Until, when we were about half way finished with our meal, three 30ish men were seated in the booth behind us.

Their crass conversation halted my ability to hear anything but them. It centered on the Tinder App, and on-line dating in general. On conquests. On drinking. On swiping right, and on the preferred size of women’s breasts. They bragged and they shared, and it went on, and on, and on.

At one point, my daughter leaned in and whispered, “I can’t help but…“ “Eavesdrop?” I finished her sentence. We both laughed, rolled our eyes and did our best to maintain.

“I hope Grandma can’t hear,” she said.

“Me too.”

Soon, it was time to go. I asked Angela to bring me the check.

I was buying this lunch…

…until Angela returned moments later and announced, “Your check has magically been taken care of!” Her smile was bright, and it was clear she enjoyed delivering such news. And then she was gone.

The three of us shared a brief moment of confusion, exchanged questioning looks, and then burst into smiles. It was a first for all of us.  Holy Guacamole!  Someone had just paid for our lunch. I glanced around the crowded restaurant, searching for a familiar face, or one holding a secret.  But the generous benefactor remained anonymous.

“I guess we’ll all be paying this forward,” my precious child said as we stood to leave.

Yes indeed.

Merry Christmas!