All Kinds Of Kinds! Recognizing Our Superpowers!

It Takes All Kinds Of Kinds!

World Globe

 

“Ever since the beginning, to keep the world spinning, it takes all kinds of kinds.”

From lyrics “All Kinds Of Kinds” by Miranda Lambert

 

My husband and I entered our local airport in the early morning hours one day last May to catch a flight for a combined work/play vacation to Puerto Vallarta.  We were just a few of a handful of people in the airport terminal at the time, so we couldn’t help but notice the energetic disposition of an airport employee who greeted the ticket agents with warm regard and polished the metal fronts of their individual ticket counters with meticulous care!  I wasn’t sure whether this person was just coming on duty or about to finish up his work shift, I just knew that in the few minutes I observed him, he had made enough of an impact on me that I seemed to feel a little less weary and made a mental note to approach the rest of my day with a more positive outlook–after all, I was going on vacation!

Once settled in our seats on the plane, my husband and I observed a disgruntled passenger in the aisle that an airline attendant appeased with charming finesse!  By now, I couldn’t help mentioning to my husband how great some people were at their jobs!  Not that I hadn’t noticed before, but with little else to really occupy my time, I was a captive audience!  As my husband adjusted a pillow behind his head, he simply stated, “That’s what makes life so great–most of us work hard to find our niche, then we try our best to do really well at it!”  Pretty impressive wisdom, considering it was very early and my husband was about to go to sleep!

Since that day, I’ve tried to do better at noticing all the hard work others do–especially when it impacts my life…

Yard Construction  www.mytributejournal.comI think I’ve mentioned, oh, maybe at least a few dozen times, that we’ve had some yard construction done around our house this summer!  The workers who came to re-coat our foundation were some of the hardest working guys I’ve ever seen!  It was a hot summer, but the heat never seemed to bother them!  It takes amazing skill to apply the cement mix.  These men are truly artists at their profession!

Taking pride in a job well done!On a quick trip to the store to buy more drinks and treats for some of the men working at our house, I was helped with my grocery sacks by a kind, energetic worker gathering carts in the parking lot!  I had my two grnaddaughters with me, and after we’d gotten back in the car, my oldest granddaughter, Makena said “It was sure nice of that guy to help you grandma, and he was so happy!”         

Home Construction  www.mytributejournal.comI was in awe at the coordination and attention to detail that was required to pour the cement for our new driveway!  The contractor worked as hard as the rest of his crew members!  A couple of the young workers were his sons–I mean we’re talking really young guys here, and yet the skill set they had obviously learned from their dad on the technique of finishing cement was amazing!  You could tell they took real pride in a job well done!

Yard Construction  www.mytributejournal.comYard Construction  www.mytributejournal.com

I am reminded of the expert skills of some talented and diligent workers every time I set foot out my front door! 

My husband works in the financial planning field and helps others budget and invest their money.  He does a lot of retirement 401K work too.  He is well versed in the nature of our crazy roller coaster economy and plans his investor’s money accordingly.  He is patient and kind as he reassures clients of their financial futures; it seems that many often view him as an extended family member!  I also love that my oldest daughter’s husband knew that he wanted to work with numbers when he was about twelve years old.  Shane is a math wizard and a great CPA, and seems to know the tax laws like the back of his hand!  I work hard for my money, but find that paying the bills and balancing my checkbook is about as far as I want to venture into the financial world, so I am very appreciative for those who know how to help manage it!

Taking pride in a job well done!  www.mytributejournal.comNaja is a housekeeper on the women’s unit at the hospital where I work.  Naja came from Bosnia and doesn’t speak a lot of English, but always greets you with a smile!  Naja goes out of her way to make everything neat and clean.  The floors are perfectly polished and the patient beds are beautifully made by Naja–she doesn’t miss a thing!  I once asked Naja if it was hard for her to go home and clean her own house after work, but she just laughed shyly and told me that she enjoys making things nice for everyone.  The patients especially take note of Naja’s hard work.  Naja constantly inspires me to do my job better!

I work with doctors and nurses who are a credit to their profession and are fun to be around and considerate of others, despite the long hours spent at the hospital.  As my son-in-law, Cole, works to finish up his last year of medical school, I know he will be a valuable asset to the medical field, and not only because of his keen ability to grasp the ever-expanding knowledge base that is required to be a doctor, but also for his desire to be genuinely kind and caring as well!

Medical school!  www.mytributejournal.com

Watching my father during his many years in the teaching profession, I know how hard he worked, and I realize that being a teacher is one of the hardest jobs in the world if it is done right!  More on this topic coming next week!

Finally, as my husband and I waited for our flight on that morning last May, I saw that most of the other early arriving travelers were military personnel who were leaving for deployment or making a transfer to another base assignment.  Words are not sufficient to describe the selfless, courageous work of these brave people!

Army training  www.mytributejournal.com  Recognizing  Our Superpowers!

Superpowers!  www.mytributejournal.com

This is a saying on a cup I recently received as a wonderful gift.  It made me stop and think what I might be capable of in my life if I worked like I really believed that I did hold some sort of superpowers!  In all the various roles we take on each day, how much better would we be at the things we wanted to accomplish if we conducted ourselves as if we actually held magical abilities to help make life better for others?

After being more observant of other’s abilities lately, I’m starting to believe more and more in superpowers! 

Superpowers  www.mytributejournal.com

 

 

Since I’m required to wear scrubs at work, I have to at least let my shoes show that I’m willing to go the distance, so to speak!  Ha!Running shoes  www.mytributejournal.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyone you’ve observed lately with the extraordinary ability to be amazing at what they do, no matter the circumstances?  

–Mary

Old School Values And Modern Technology–Finding A Good Balance!

Old School Values and Modern Technology–Finding A Good Balance!

apple-ipad-10I think many in my generation, (middle age by calendar years, but forever young at heart…) often find themselves at the cross roads of doing things with an “old school” mindset and becoming more adept with modern technology!  I’m constantly amazed at how my two granddaughters seem to have innately mastered the one-finger glide needed to view pictures and cartoons on an iPad, and yet, I also marvel at the determination and stamina of previous generations and how they often relied solely on the strength of their own ingenuity to help them live, and even prosper, without the modern conveniences and technology we enjoy today.  I suppose a valid concern of every generation is that the next one to follow will find a good balance between the use of modern technology to ease the workload of their lifestyles and old school values and know-how to help them maintain a sense of self-reliance!

Appreciating Both Old School Values And Modern Technology

My father relates a story in his autobiography about how at a relatively young age, he began to help his father at their dry farm by driving the tractor to plow the fields.  He writes that at first when the tractor would have a breakdown, he’d stand on the top of the tractor and wave his hat for his dad to come and make the necessary repairs.  However, after my dad was given time to watch and learn how the repairs were made, his father then let him know that he wasn’t to wave his hat anymore and instead, he was to try and make the repairs himself, except where it was impossible to do so!

“Through this work with my father, I learned to use tools, repair all kinds of things and work hard at the farm.  The lessons learned there have been a great strength to me all my life.”

My mom used to say that it was wonderful, and even kinda sexy, (say what?) to have a husband who was handy and could fix about anything around the house!

Vintage tractor

I imagine that the large brimmed hat pictured above would have been easy for my grandfather to spot as my dad waved it in the air!

Besides stating that he was grateful for the things learned during those early years of hard work at his family’s farm, my dad also commented on the fact that this knowledge served to help him be very appreciative for the advances that modern technology brought to farming.

“Through the years, from the time that I was 15 until now at age 77, (1991) the machinery in farming has changed drastically.  Earlier on, it was slow and the breakdowns in the equipment were all too frequent.  It took a long time to get the work done.  Now machines are fast, they are easier to service and are designed for operating in comfort.”   

quoted from LeRoy Jorgensen’s autobiography

New John Deere tractor

My father often talked about the air-conditioned luxury of his new John Deere tractor cab.  As I recall it even had a cassette tape player in it too!  Life was good!

Maintaining Old School Values As We Use Modern Technology 

My parents didn’t live to witness the full emergence of computers and cell phones!  I think they’d be both fascinated and overwhelmed with all the changes of modern technology today!   I have a hard time keeping up with it myself and find that it can be a blessing and a curse at times as I try to stay somewhat current and updated on everything.  I hope as a society however, that we never let technology stalemate human interaction all together.  How many times lately have you seen families out to dinner together where each family member is either talking, texting, or playing games on their cell phones, and invariably only look up when the food is served!  On the flip side, I have to chuckle when I read about certain families who are seemingly happily settled in modern-day suburbia, but are going to great lengths to raise farm animals and forgo any of the gadgets and conveniences of modern technology to “get back to the basics” of old school values and work skills!  When I mentioned this to my oldest daughter, she anxiously exclaimed that since it was usually up to the parents to help their children with their chores and other responsibilities, she’d be content to just be able to teach her children how to pick up after themselves and put things where they belonged, to have them help around the house and yard, and work hard in school, as well as mind their manners and talk with respect!

I think finding the right balance between raising our children with a good set of values that will help them become contributing members of society, while helping them use modern technology wisely, will always be an age-old dilemma.  It definitely seems like it will take a concerted effort on all our parts to make the mindful decision to continue to rely on each other and share our knowledge and know-how in more personal ways as we integrate all the advances in technology.  I would feel sad for any generation that didn’t get to know the joy of gathering on porches or leaning over fences to exchange greetings and share stories…or one that might not realize the sheer satisfaction that comes from building or repairing something with their own hands!  There’s also a wonderful sense of security that comes from knowing that if you were to wave your hat, so to speak, you could count on any number of neighbors, friends or loved ones to come running!

Here are a few examples that I love of how “old school” and “modern technology” mingle together to make for a great outcome!

Modern record player for old school vinyl!

My son-in-law invested in a high-tech, “modern” record player so he could play his “old school” vinyl records.  It’s fun to see how excited Cole gets when he goes to an old vinyl record store, (and it does my “old school” heart good) and flips through the eclectic assortment of music to find the perfect selection to add to his extensive collection!

I think the ultimate compliment for any parent, is to have their children say they want their kids to have a childhood like they did growing up!

Bike

Like her mom when she was young, my granddaughter, Makena, enjoys playing outside and riding her bike.  Her cute, “decked-out” bike, along with her bike helmet, make for the best blend of “old school” outdoor activity and modern equipment and safety!  

Bike riding!

Marli follows her big sister’s example–complete with bike helmet! 

Vintage journal

My husband is a financial planner and relies on various computer programs to help lighten the burden of all the forms that must be completed for his line of work.  But I love that he’s still so “old school” when it comes to keeping a journal!

My oldest daughter, Malia, has a great group of high school friends that she keeps in touch with via various social networks throughout the year, but I’m impressed that they also make the effort to get together once in a while, at a condo or hotel, to “catch-up” over a long weekend spent together!          

What I’m learning now is…

As a nurse, I’m as grateful as anyone for all the advances in modern technology and research.  However, you can’t underestimate the healing power of kind words and a soothing touch combined with the modern medicines and machines.  What I’m learning now is that like most things in life, we’ll always need to reassess what defines a good balance between using modern technology and the more personal nuances needed for lasting relationships!  

What types of things do you do to try to reach out to those you love and associate with in an “old school” kind of way?

–Mary      

           

Work Smarter Not Harder! A Job Well Done–The Revised Version!

Work Smarter Not Harder!  A Job Well Done–The Revised Version!

The title of this entry comes courtesy of my son-in-law, Cole and my daughter, Mandi–but more on that a little later…

"Work smarter not harder" image

…since getting home from my son’s graduation a few weeks ago, I’ve felt somewhat overwhelmed with trying to get caught up on everything that got neglected while my husband and I were away.  Besides going back to work, many household chores and yard projects needed our attention, as well.  I was also trying to get things ready for my son and daughter-in-law’s visit for a few weeks in their transition from dental school to Oklahoma, where Jake will do some advanced  training.  Forget a job well done, I was barely skimming the surface of everything I needed to accomplish!  My poor husband, who seems to take most things in stride–most men do, why is that, I wonder…it’s kind of exasperating!  Anyway, my husband would get home from work and start vacuuming in hopes that the hum of the motor and clean floors would lull my heightened anxiety level into a more zen-like state!  Even a mental reminder of my father’s sage advice to “have moderation in all things” just wasn’t working for me either.  Before drastic measures had to be taken to insure my well-being, I took it upon myself to seek the advice of trusted family members and friends and asked what they did to make their workload go more smoothly.  In doing so, I was able to calm my nerves a bit and ease back into more efficient productivity once again!

  • First, from my husband, I’ll title them simply–

Painting supplies        “Tom’s Tips”  

It’s all about preparation…blue painter’s tape, drop cloths and quality paint rollers, etc. are key to making the job go easier!

Also, be patient and take the time to broaden your knowledge base when working on a project…further frustration often comes from diving head long into a project (which is what I’m prone to do) and then getting blind-sided by obstacles that could have been anticipated by doing a little research up front.  By watching and asking questions from those “in the know”, Tom has tackled anything from expertly painting several rooms in our home, to “distressing” furniture projects.

Distressed furnitureDistressed table legs

  • Second, from my daughter, Malia and my son, Jake–

         It’s about making lists!

Making lists

I usually like lists too–I’m pretty sure I taught my kids to do them, but this time it seemed like I was like a character in an over-acted sit-com, scrunching up paper after paper and throwing them into an overflowing garbage can because my lists just got too long and intimidating!  Besides a “To Do” list, my friend Kellee, also gives her four boys a time frame to have the list completed–that way they have a little more freedom to choose when they want to finish doing the items on their list!  Kellee told me that when her boys have a little say as to when they could do their jobs, it made a big difference in the effort they put forth!  Just like my mom, Kellee, conducts inspections to make sure the finished chores meet her high standards!  These lists seem to work for Kellee, her boys are all hard workers!

  • Third, from two other friends, Janica and Sharon–

Don’t be afraid to enlist a bit of technology to help the job go quicker! 

Janica told me recently, that her most pressing project lately has been to finish a scrapbook for her youngest son, Brett.  The fact that she has completed baby books for her two older sons, but not for Brett, since she has been working full-time, has been a source of frustration for him.  Brett has been living in Alaska and informed his mom that his book better be waiting for him when he gets home–which is in a few weeks!  Janica said, “Thanks to modern technology and the magic of online photo books, I’m making progress!”  Janica also mentioned that this project has reminded her to “live in the moment and try hard not to procrastinate!”  

Sharon is another good friend, and she makes beautiful quilts.  Although this is a hobby for her, the patterns Sharon uses often need to be adapted to her taste or to the preference of the lucky person she’s making the quilt for; she said it has been “fun” (?) to figure out how to digitize all the embroidery on her computer, then transfer it to her sewing machine.  Sharon told me, “If I do it this way, I don’t have to do any of the sewing by hand!  Yeah!”  After all, it IS about finding a way to make a project easier!  Kudos to you both, Janica and Sharon!  (I’ll confess that for me, sometimes using technology doesn’t always make the job easier!)

“My Favorite Things” Quilt

made by: Sharon GrayMy Favorite Things Quilt

  • Now for the final “Coup de Gra’ce” from Cole and Mandi–

When I wrote to ask Cole and Mandi if they had any useful tips that helped them accomplish projects with a little more ease, Cole sent me an answer in his usual succinct style:  “Mandi and I have a motto in our family that we thought would be applicable…”

“Work smarter, not harder!  It’s all about efficiency…”

Love it!  Now what I need to do is figure out how I can do that on a more regular basis, and incorporate it better in my life!  Thanks Cole and Mandi!   

I’d love to hear some of the tips you have that help you work “smarter not harder”! 

–Mary