Blog Grogg

This morning I was running errands and decided to swing into my local coffee shop for a Highlander Grogg. This can caught my eye. It took me a nano second to get it. Then I really liked it. I quickly snapped a picture while the window girl was getting my coffee. I didn’t want her to think I was a demented stalker trying to get a photo of her. 

The saying reminded me a bit of yoga. At the beginning of every class, the instructor says “Whatever is on your mind this morning, leave it on the mat. Lay it down and take this hour to focus on your breathing. Rest your mind and strengthen your body for this one little chunk of time.” To which I say to myself “Yes, please.”

Why do we fear change? I’ve been addressing this a bit in my recent blogs. I ran across a few quotes about change and want to share them.

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending ~ C.S. Lewis

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change ~ Stephen Hawking

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails ~ William Arthur Ward

There is nothing so stable as change ~ Bob Dylan

I so love that last one. Change is indeed a sign of stability. And the opposite of that, no change ever, is definitely an indication of shaky instability. It’s an irony, of course, but many truths are. 

So do you want to complain about the wind, expect it to change, or adjust the sails? 

Yes, me too. I want to adjust the sails and leave my fear of change in the tip jar. 

Occasionally Never

I read a little saying today. Part of it I knew—Never reply when you are angry. We all know this is true. It is wise to never reply in an angry state, whether that be an email or a phone call or even a sharp little spat with your spouse, which can be a stellar tour de force.

The other two sentences in the saying, I am less familiar with. One is this; Never make a promise when you are happy.

That is a tricky one. My first thought is why not? Being happy is a good thing, right? On the other hand, after I mulled over these sayings, I get it.   

Occasionally we have those moments of delirious bliss when we believe that we are walking on sunshine and, as my friend once said, unicorns are pooping out rainbows. In those rare times we may falsely believe this is real life. And in that delirium may make a “cross-my-heart, hope-to-die” pledge to someone.

By the next morning we may be back in the tunnel wondering if that glow at the end is a way out or a train heading toward us. We will most likely at least be back to normalcy. Those famous last words may be haunting us by then and all we can think is “What have I done?”

The other is Never make a decision when you are sad. Basically the same concept, reversed. When we are in a dark place, frantically reaching for a rope to hold onto, we will do anything to find light. Desperation and hopelessness are definitely not the mindset for making sound decisions.

If complete honesty were a reality, every one of us would admit that we have been in all three of those places – angry, (jubilantly) happy, and so very sad. These are delicate places that must be held lightly as if cradling a tiny bird in our hands.

However, there is one thing about this little saying with which I take issue. We have also been taught that the word never is to be used only in the literal sense. In fact, we have all muttered the phrase “Never say never.”

So perhaps there is indeed a time to reply when angry, pledge a promise when we are happy, and make a decision when we are sad.

On that note, always be discerning. This time, that word truly fits.

Serious Sunday

This morning at church a friend of mine shared her story. I knew much of it but learned a few new details today.

It is a story of redemption. It is a story of years of darkness and lostness and aloneness. It is a story of life not making sense in the day to day. 

Her world was completely broken. She was standing at the edge of a cliff with the grounding disappearing beneath her feet.

But how encouraging to know the truth. The truth that in the middle of her pain, God was there. He was in pain with her. As parents we know that when a child of ours is suffering and in anguish, how great is our anguish, as well. I fully believe that the Lord grieves with us. 

I admit that I do not understand why God does not/will not intervene in circumstances. This is one of the (many) great mysteries of life. But I do know that He is a God of redemption. He is a God who will make all things right, in time. 

For my friend, He made all things right. He made it so right that this story could have only been written by Him. Her story made a complete circle that no one, not one person would have believed 40 years ago. It is still hard to believe except that we have the proof. 

And for those of you who know the photo, oh yes I did. 


Come Hell or High Water or a Hurricane

If you have watched TV or been on Facebook or read USA Today in the last day or two, you’ve seen the story about the considerate shopper returning her cart to the cart corral during a mighty storm.

The article in USA Today described her as an “elderly woman”. Ouch. Couldn’t they just have said an older woman? Elderly made her sound like she is 92. I found out that she is 70. Elderly? Come on, writers, you are better than that. I guess to a 30 year-old, 70 is elderly.

Sue Johnson was loading her groceries at a Walmart parking lot in the town of Hurricane in West Virginia. Yes, it really did take place in a town named Hurricane. But for the record, and I know this to be true from a resident, the town is pronounced ‘hurra-ken’, with a soft “e” sound and with the accent on the beginning of the word, not the end, as in ‘hurra-KANE’.

The wind picked up in a freakish manner, and Johnson stated that it was raining so hard it actually hurt. However, she was quick to add this no-nonsense statement “You can only get so wet. Once you are wet, you are wet all the way through.”

Johnson also stated that she has been shocked about the media attention. She made it clear that she was simply doing what she always did, return the cart. 

A good habit is hard to break, in spite of circumstances.

Honestly, I am much more impressed that she was doing the same thing she does EVERY.SINGLE.TIME she shops—the right thing. 

What a novel idea. 

Elevator Alleviator

The last Friday in July is designated National Talk in an Elevator Day. 

I do not love elevators. I mentioned that in a previous post. I mostly do not like to ride alone. Here is the thinking. If the elevator gets stuck, I want there to be another person on whom shoulders I can climb in order to crash through the ceiling lights to reach the escape door. I have seen Mission Impossible movies. I know there is one in every elevator. Right?

In the pre everyone-has-a-smartphone days, when riding an elevator with other people, the standard code was to stare up at the lighted numbers in silence. Now, the phone is a perfect prop to eliminate any possibility of eye contact. We’ve all done it.

What would we say anyway? Most likely these are people we will never cross paths with again so why bother with niceties? 

There may be a reason—human interaction. It is the same reason we choose the grocery line with a live person at the cash register. And to that point, do not be on your phone unless it is an emergency. It is entirely rude. I have witnessed far too many people going through the grocery store line, throwing their items onto the belt, yakking it up with someone about what they are wearing to the party tonight and not make one moment of eye contact with the cashier. It is crushing to witness.

The elevator conversation does not need to be soul searching questions about the meaning of life. It may be as benign as “That is a beautiful scarf you are wearing” or “It’s great to be out of the rain” or “Your baby has a lovely face” or a simple hello and then “Have a good day” when stepping out. Even one authentic smile can awaken the endorphins in another person and change their day. 

A couple of weeks ago I was visiting a person in a retirement home. When the elevator door opened, there was one small, frail-looking woman in her 80s. I quickly assessed the situation as to whether or not I could climb onto her shoulders to make the escape. I decided that was a no then gave her a kind smile and told her I needed the exercise and would take the stairs. 

Yep, I have my issues. As do all of us. 

The next time you are in an elevator, take a step of boldness. Don’t look at your phone or the lighted numbers at the top, make a connection with another person. Sure, it’s a risk. This action has the potential to be interpreted in another way, but the risk may be worth the endorphin spike you both may feel. 


I passed through the baby section of a store while en route to the restroom. Of course I have to find a bathroom while shopping. Doesn’t everyone?

This little onesie caught my eye. 

Here is the question. Do you really want your child growing up thinking he runs the roost? I certainly understand the needs of a baby. The struggle that this tiny little human is calling all the shots is real. It is non-stop care and sleep becomes a true luxury. 

But that time passes. One morning you awaken and that baby is eight years old. The next morning you awaken and that baby is 17 years old. You do not want an eight year-old and definitely not a 17 year-old believing they run things. Not that they will still be wearing a onesie that states “I run things” (God forbid), but they may be wearing it in their brains. The thought should never be there. 

It’s a subtle thing. It is insidious. But the mindset you develop with your little one is a hard habit to break when they are 10 or 20 or 30.

And along those same lines, I am not a fan of telling little girls that they are princesses. Of course, every little girl is daddy’s princess. I get that. Perhaps we need to define princess. 

Princess-ness should be thought of as a lovely flower that needs protection and care in order to grow healthy and strong, or as the protecting of a royal gem. A real princess does not kick and scream in the store because she cannot have a new tiara. 

A true princess is kind and generous. She knows that she has been blessed and is willing and eager to share those blessings. She is gentle and loving and humble in spirit. 

There are not too many things less attractive than a pretty 16 year-old who believes the world revolves around her. It’s plain ugly.

So at the risk of sounding like a cranky old lady, don’t buy the onesie. For one, Nike does not need any more of your money, and two, your baby does not need to believe he runs the show. You do not need to believe that, either. 

After all of that commentary, the little onesie could be completely innocuous. It is entirely possible that the little circle with the slogan means “I RUN things”, things like 5Ks, The Great Pumpkin Run, marathons, etc.

You decide. 

Wake Up!

I wrote a blog a few months ago about vanity plates. As a general rule, I dislike them.

My husband and I were out and at a stop light I could see a vanity plate ahead of us but could not read the words. When we got a bit closer I could see the printing and snapped a quick photo. 

In a coma, huh? That is not exactly confidence inspiring for a person operating a 4,000 pound vehicle. 

On the other hand, though I know nothing of his story, perhaps he is being a bit tongue-in-cheek in his moments of messaging. 

Maybe we are all somewhat in a coma. The truth is that many of us drive around, half awake, literally and figuratively. 

I want to be and make good effort to be a conscientious driver. I stay alert, watching my mirrors, watching my speed, not texting, keeping safe distances. But am I always engaged in my driving? Probably not. 

Usually on my mind are everything from what am I making for dinner to praying for my family to wishing I had chosen a different nail color to wondering about the meaning of life. To some degree, I may occasionally be in a coma.

But I desire to be in the present. I want to be awake. The sunroof will be opened on future trips. I want to feel its warmth on the top of my head and let it blow my hair, which will not help my look, but so be it.  

We will always have things on our minds, that is part of life. But we do not have to be in a coma. We can choose to be aware and awake.

I read that you should always assume that a person in a coma can hear. Hearing is usually the last sensory faculty to deteriorate when people are dying. There have even been documented cases when someone hard of hearing in their normal state can hear better in their altered consciousness. 

There you go. If you are in a coma, driving or not, it is very possible that your hearing has been elevated.

It is time to listen.  

Quiet Eye

I was flipping through the pages of a textbook that Noah is using for a summer school class. It is called Motor Learning and Performance, written by a couple of sports psychologists. I happened onto a chapter discussing the quiet eye. 

The quiet eye is a term first proposed by Professor Joan Vickers of Calgary University. It refers to a gaze behavior observed immediately prior to a movement in aiming tasks. An example of this is during a basketball free-throw. When a player prepare for his shot, he generally pauses with his eyes steady on the target before initiating the movement of the shot. The final pause when the gaze remains steady is defined as the quiet eye. Similar gaze behavior is seen in other aiming based tasks such as archery, darts, golf, football, hockey and other sports. 

Theories as to why the quiet eye is so effective as a trait of an expert performance appears to be based around the increasing processing time. When more time is taken to view the target before initiating the movement, more information can be processed sub-consciously about the target and what is required to hit it. 

The implications of this process are significant in the medical community, as well. The theory is that if QE training can improve the performance of athletes in various sports, can it also be used to teach more efficient gaze behaviors in the training of surgeons?

The other question is, can QE training improve the motor skill of children, particularly those with motor coordination problems?

Over the next few years, research will try to answer these questions. 

I’m not 100% on this, but I’m pretty sure I experience quiet eye when I am making a donut purchase. My eyes are steady on the target before I initiate the movement of my hand toward the subject. I then take final pause as my gaze remains steady. Suddenly, just like Inbee Park, I sink the putt and acquire the prize of chocolate-covered glaze on my lips. Victory!

A lot of money and research has been put into the theory of quiet eye. I proved that theory years ago without even knowing it. 

Serious Sunday

This is a Zimbabwean proverb from the Shona tribe, meaning that a person who harms another or borrows from someone will often forget, but the person who is harmed or borrowed from will always remember. 

Chop down a tree with an axe. The axe does its job, it cuts and destroys a once-standing, strong symbol of growth and life. The axe moves on to the next job, but the tree is forever changed.

When a person is distant from an event he or she has the mindset that the past is the past. It is forgotten and they have moved on. But often the victim is left ‘standing there with their guts hanging out’, as a friend once described personal pain.

Are you an axe or are you the tree?

I think we are both. I have been an axe. I have used words to hurt. I have also remained silent and utilized my axe in that form. In any manifestation, an axe brings pain.

I have also been the tree; having my bark shredded and my branches lopped off. 

Because we are human and live in a broken world, we are going to cause pain and receive pain. 

It is my thought that we must find a way to let go of the whole tree when we are injured. Allow the stuff underneath to die, as well. The gnarly and destructive unseen parts are where danger lies. Roots of bitterness cannot remain. They will continue to search out a new form, a new life in which to pour its poison. 

Some hurts come to us due to our own decision-making. And some hurts come to us from an axe-wielding insidious source. Of the latter, we have no control.

That is when we must choose ~ will we spend the rest of our days maimed and send our bitter roots into another life-force or will we choose to become firewood and bring warmth and beauty to others?

Serious Sunday.

Healthy Thursday

On this Healthy Thursday post, I want to emphasize the huge importance of mental and emotional well-being. I love the acrostic pictured above.

Those three small words at the top are the most important part of this message – Before you speak, THINK.

How quick we are to speak. The book of James in the Bible states this “Everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak.”               

We are all guilty of this – hearing someone talk but not really listening. We are busy thinking of what we will say next; how we can sound smarter or more experienced or wiser. Sometimes we just need to listen.

How amazing and beneficial would it be if we truly aspired to this methodology? It would change relationships, families, communities and the world. 

The next time you are ready to have a big conversation with a friend or co-worker or family member, ask yourself these five questions:

1. Is it true?

2. Is it helpful?

3. Is it inspiring?

4. Is it necessary?

5. Is it kind?

When you THINK before you speak, you may find you have very little to say until new habits are formed.

True, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind words may be a new language to learn.  

You will discover that this new way to converse is not only incredibly empowering to others, but paradoxically, when we lift others up, we feel better and we ARE better.

This stuff is contagious and it is most certainly something we want to catch.