Monthly Archives: August 2016

Do What Scares You

Just Do It!Have you ever been in a situation where something was going on (legally) but you didn’t take advantage of it because you were afraid? I have. Many times. Now that I’m older, I ask myself one question–“Will I regret not doing it?” The answer to that question makes all the difference.

I can “should have” myself for all the things that, looking back, I SHOULD have done but didn’t. But that doesn’t do any good for anyone. Time has passed, I didn’t do it, and I lived through it.

But there were times where I answered my question with a resounding “YES” and did things that scared me. I have gone parasailing, gone ziplining, given presentations, wrote blogs, and done other things that scared me. Do I regret any of that? NO WAY!

Regret itself is a wasted emotion. Either make the decision to do something that scares you or don’t. It’s your decision, you’ve made it, you should own up to it and learn from it. Just try it. If you think you might be sad when you don’t do something, for goodness’ sake, DO IT! If it still scares you and you don’t do it, try to figure out why and work on that so you will be ready to do it the next time.

Nike has it right–JUST DO IT! Don’t regret it, don’t delay it, don’t overthink it. Just do it.


Show Your Love . . . Before It’s Too Late

Tell ThemI heard news today that tore at my heart. The father of my grandchildrens’ friends was killed yesterday in a traffic accident. I had never met him nor had I met his family. But the fact that it will affect my family affected me.

I’m not going to go into detail about exactly what happened to him other than to make a few points, and these don’t necessarily have anything to do with the details, just things that come into my mind:

  1. You never know when you will lose a loved one or good friend. Tell them today that you love them. Don’t wait! Treat them each day like it will be the last time you see them.
  2. Please, please be careful when you’re driving. Put your phone away and concentrate on what you’re doing. Pay attention. When you are driving, drive. Don’t drive distracted. Don’t Snapchat in your car. Don’t record your carpool karaoke for YouTube. Don’t have crazy conversations with your friends. Just. Drive.
  3. Recognize that your vehicle is a weapon. It is very capable of killing someone and I can’t imagine the horror of living with that for the rest of your life.
  4. Pray for everyone. Pray for his family that is now tasked with learning to live without his physical presence. Pray for the young woman who was behind the wheel of the car that killed him that she can somehow learn to deal with that knowledge. Pray for the police officers who came upon the horrific scene and now have to investigate exactly what happened. Pray for all of the people who knew him and didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. And say a little prayer for yourself that you can do the things I’ve mentioned above to prevent another senseless tragedy.

Take care of yourself and all of your loved ones, whether related by blood or by love. And please tell people how much they mean to you TODAY.

Support The Arts

Support The (1)I just returned from a weekend in Las Vegas for the Barbra Streisand concert. She is, and has been since I was a teenager, my favorite musical artist. I missed her concert once when my kids were small because I couldn’t afford the ticket price. I promised myself that if she came out on tour again, I would do whatever I could to get a ticket and attend. I was able to see her about four years ago in Las Vegas, but it was nothing compared to this weekend. This time, her voice touched my soul. I have never listened to someone and just the voice makes my eyes start leaking. Lyrics have done that to me, but not just the voice. While the ticket price was really high and I can see how it is prohibitive for some, I am so happy that I was able to attend and once again mark it off my bucket list.

Who is your “must see” artist? Have you seen them yet? While I actually believe that some artists take advantage of their popularity by ridiculous ticket prices which many people cannot afford to pay, I think it is important to support the arts–the music, the plays, the concerts. To me, it is a shame that some schools are doing away with classes in the arts such as band and chorus in favor of sports events. With grandchildren in high school sports, I realize those are important too, but I don’t believe it is MORE important than those kids who choose to play clarinet instead of playing baseball.

If you have not been to a Broadway musical in your hometown, you need to do it at least once. Watching people who are doing what they love and are passionate about in the name of entertaining me is a wonderful experience that I love. If you can’t afford the local Broadway series, attend a musical or play by another local group. If that is still pricey for you, our local high schools have plays and musicals every year or so at an unbelievably reasonable price, so perhaps schools near you do the same. Check the internet as venues and schools all have webpages that should have that information.

There are also local symphony concerts, ballets, operas, choral concerts, band and orchestra concerts, and other arts events through local organizations (like the Phoenix Symphony) or high schools. Get out there and support the arts. It is an evening spent helping others see the fruits of their passions and helping you relax by listening or watching the arts in action. That sounds like a win-win to me!

Come Into My Room!

imageHave you ever heard the saying “If you’re smarter than everyone in the room, you’re in the wrong room”? It’s one of my favorites because it reminds me that I need to be around people who can teach me.

I’ve known a few people in my life who think they have nothing left to learn. I can’t imagine any time at which that would be true. It just isn’t. There is ALWAYS something you can learn. Even if you’re an expert, there will be something that changes or something that you didn’t completely understand at some point. And you should learn it.

Learning isn’t always about opening a book and studying or sitting for an exam or taking a class, it is watching how other people do things–including how they do the same tasks that you do but they do it differently. It is talking to people in your chosen career field about how they got there, what keeps them there, and what they’ve gotten out of it. It is reading what comes in and goes out of your company. It is keeping an open mind and really listening to people exchange ideas. You may not always agree with them, but you can usually get information you didn’t have before or learn something you didn’t know before.

In my professional association, I often hear people say they aren’t going to attend a certain educational session because it doesn’t pertain to the work they are doing   The problem with that kind of thinking is that you may not always have the same job you have now or you may not continue to do the same tasks in the job you’re doing now. In addition, you never know what tidbit you will pick up from a “totally unrelated” topic that will help you in your work now or a contact that you make or material you get that will help you with some task at your current job.

So hang out with people smarter than you. Regardless of what you think, I’m pretty sure that list is long. You don’t know them all yet, but they’re out there. Don’t ever think you’re the smartest person in the room and don’t ever discount learning. It is invaluable to your skill in your chosen profession and to your standing as an intelligent human being. You never know it all, so make a plan to learn — constantly!

R E S P E C T!

60isthenew60blog.comEvery human–and I mean every one–deserves respect. They can destroy that and have it taken away, but for the most part, they deserve it just for being part of the human race.

You can’t treat people that you perceive as beneath you as if they don’t deserve the very same respect you demand from those around you. The person cleaning the glass door that you just grabbed with five of your fingers instead of grabbing the handle deserves your respect for keeping that door clean of everyone’s (including yours!) fingerprints.

As I was walking into my office building this morning, I noticed something interesting. First, I put my phone away and was walking with my head up (shocking, I know!). Second, one of the building’s cleaning people was out picking up litter and cleaning the glass doors of our building. She looked up at everyone and smiled. The woman in front of  me was face first in her cell phone, so when the cleaning woman started to say “good morning,” she realized she was being completely ignored and stopped. I was right behind, looked her in the eye, smiled, and answered her “good morning” with my own. Just as the woman ahead of me was going to go to her desk to get her day started, the woman pushing the garbage can and smiling at everyone had already gotten her day started. They may do different tasks, but they are both on the same mission–get their job done to the best of their ability. That demands respect.

Our building also houses a lot of military personnel. I think there is an enrollment center there. They are always very friendly, but only travel a couple of floors, but most of them still say “have a good day” or some other kind of greeting. Plus they are working at their jobs to protect the freedoms I take for granted. That demands respect.

Well-behaved children in shopping carts trying to make eye contact or smile at strangers (probably completely ignoring their mother’s admonition not to talk to strangers) are interesting to watch. They smile at everyone hoping to get a smile back or a quick conversation. When you do smile back, some of them will giggle or say “hello.” Even they command respect.

Respect for another person is not difficult to give them. Treat them as your equal or, better yet, as your superior, look at them with your full attention, say something to them in passing, and move on. Do not ignore them or keep your head buried in your cell phone.

One of my greatest fears for my grandchildren is that they will lose the skill of dealing with human contact. All of their communication is through their phone, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Snapchat, or on whatever is the biggest and best newest social media network. They play games with other people–on the computer or television screen with a headphone set talking to them. They don’t even go into stores anymore because they can get everything on Amazon. They don’t have the opportunity to look at a stranger and smile and that is really unfortunate. I’m afraid of how they will deal with their boss once they are in the working force. I’m afraid of them losing their smile muscle from disuse. I’m afraid that they will never know the joy of sharing your smile with a complete stranger and getting theirs in return.

So the next time you are walking into your office building, or are at a store, restaurant, or bar, or just generally out in public, put your phone away, pull your head up so everyone can see how very beautiful you are, and smile at strangers. Better yet, if you see the cleaning person making sure your office building always sparkles, tell them thank you!

Our Pets

Libby (1)You’re either a pet person or not. If you are, you’re usually either a dog person or a cat person. We are dog people plus.

I’ve had a dog nearly my whole life. And they have each had a special place in my heart. They were each amazing in their own way and they were each very different. Each time we’ve lost a dog, we swear we won’t get another one–and then we do. And now we have two. My husband is a softie and a friend of his usually has dogs that people have dumped near his property in the outlying area of Phoenix. We went “just to look.” My first clue that we weren’t just “looking” was stopping at PetsMart on the way and buying a kennel, a lead, and a collar. That just doesn’t scream “looking” to me. So we brought that dog home. We have since added another rescue dog. I’m not quite sure how someone could have given this dog away because she is the sweetest dog we’ve had.

We have also ended up with two parakeets. They may have names, but they “belong” to my husband. I just feed and water them. I vaguely recall him calling them Ben & Jerry (but I try to block that so it doesn’t make me think of ice cream).

And finally, we have a African grey parrot. This is truly an interesting experience. She is sweet (if she likes you) and can be a little mean (if she doesn’t), but she is an amazing bird. She does talk and says things like “wanna go outside” (to harass the dogs), “time for night night,” “give me a kiss,” and “thank you” when you do. My husband is working feverishly to get her to say “Corvette,” but she’s not budging on that one yet.

As crazy as it gets sometimes worrying about pets and making arrangements when you want to go out of town, the unconditional love received from each one of them makes it worth it. They, of course, do have things that make me crazy–like when Libby escapes and we have to chase her down, or when Ruby chews up every piece of Post-It notes she can find, or when Smokey barks like one of the dogs is outside when we think they are inside, or when the parakeets screech to remind me they need water–but all in all, they are way easier to take care of than most living things, like children.

They each of their very own distinct personality and they each are very much a part of our family.


The Beauty of Weather

The Beauty of WeatherIt is hard when you’re in the midst of a weather emergency to be thankful for the outdoors (which naturally includes weather). I was “trapped” at home this morning because the washes in my neighborhood were running, so I couldn’t drive through them to get to the freeway. Well I actually COULD have, but then you would have seen me on the news with the byline “Stupid Motorist Law.” No thank you! It is a problem when it rains a lot on the Superstition Mountains, but that doesn’t happen very often.

I did go outside while the washes were running to take a video for my husband, who has engineered some kind of flood control that he keeps tinkering with, so I could show him that it seemed to be working. I could hear and see the washes on two sides of the house rushing by and pretty full, but the yard was fairly dry. SUCCESS! But while I was out there thinking about the damage that the rain could (and does) do, I couldn’t help but think it is rain! Arizona needs rain. We don’t always need it all at once like we get it during our monsoon, but we do need it. It is the rain that helps the desert plants continue to grow and blossom beautifully each year. The rain helps keep our lakes and rivers full so fish can live to be caught by a recreational fisherman or a child on their first fishing trip.

And then there is a rainbow. A true beautiful miracle. Rainbows can mean something special to each person. When I was recently in Albuquerque, I saw double rainbows. What a treat! It was beautiful!

When the sun is shining, that is something to be thankful for too. The sun helps plants grow and give us our necessary Vitamin D. It also creates the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets day after day.

Once the sun goes down, and after some of the amazing sunsets we have here, the moon rises and the stars come out. I’m really lucky to live outside of the city, so with not so many street and house lights, we are able to actually see tons of the stars–and they are beautiful!

So when you have a chance to enjoy the outdoors and your weather, slow down and enjoy it. Nature is something we have absolutely no control over, so our choices are to complain and stress out about it or to do what we can to prepare for it and then relax and enjoy the beauty of it. Relaxing and enjoying nature sounds like so much more fun to me.

The Heart of The Matter

The Hear Of The MatterSix years ago today (as I write this), my life changed forever. My 32 year old son had a quadruple bypass. He was in cardiac ICU for something like 10 days. I don’t know exactly because I spent every day and night there so had no real concept of time. I went home to shower and nap every few days, but spent the bulk of my time at the hospital.

You don’t expect your children to have such a major surgery at such a young age. He nearly died–more than once–which really gives you an appreciation for life. It can be taken from you in an instant.

The heart is a fragile thing, yet also one of the strongest. It can be broken, healed, bypassed, and filled with love. All of that with one small organ. It is in charge of the fact that we are alive, pumping blood and oxygen throughout our body so other organs and cells and other scientific things (sorry–science was not my favorite subject in school) can function as they are intended to.

It is the center of your emotional being. You either love or hate with the same heart. Typically your heart acts long before your brain kicks in. But when your heart is full of love, it is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. However, when you allow hate to creep in, it eats some of that away.

Hate is a horrible emotion. There are things that I dislike (like liver!) and even things I intensely dislike (like bullying), but I try not to hate things or people. There isn’t enough room in my heart for hate. It would push some of the love out of the way and “ain’t nobody got time for that”! I would much rather fill my heart with love.

So take care of your heart, eat healthfully, love intensely, exercise, and don’t hate. Your heart (and your cardiologist) will thank you. You only get one heart and it is so much more fun and rewarding to keep it full of love. In fact, just when I think my heart is full, something or someone else comes along and I add just a little bit more and somehow it seems to fit just fine. Love of other people, love of new books or movies, love of pets, love of new parts of the world, love of new parts of your neighborhood, love of anything you think is worthy of your love. And that’s part of the fun of this thing called life–finding more and more things to love. Don’t waste a minute of your life on hate. That only really affects you. The person or thing you are prepared to hate probably doesn’t even realize it or doesn’t really care, so it is only impacting your life. Is that what you want impacting your life? Or would you rather have things that you love making an impact? My choice is the latter.


-Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.- - Mother Theresa (1)They say that before you pick up a phone, you should smile. It makes your voice sound friendlier. I think it also changes your focus away from the work you were doing or the television show you were watching or whatever you were doing when the phone rang to the actual phone call. So now you are sounding friendly and ready for the conversation.

A smile is also usually contagious. Have you ever heard a child laugh and not smiled yourself? It is really hard not to. It’s the same on a crowded elevator or on the street. Practice smiling at people. If they are paying attention and you are able to meet their eye and smile, they usually will smile back. So not only have you given the gift of a smile, but you have received the gift of a smile. And it cost you nothing, but you received something valuable in return.

It’s a little more difficult these days with everyone walking around with their heads down looking at their phones. I’m really guilty of this myself and am making a conscious effort to be better about walking with good posture and looking at other people.

So try an experiment this week and look up and smile and see what kind of reaction you get. Are you willing to do that?