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Inspire Me Today – REPOST

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What I Wish My Mother Had Told Me About Life and Men (via inspiremetoday.com)

We gravitate towards what we contemplate, so believe the best about everyone. Constantly extend grace, kindness and forgiveness to all mankind. Until we know who we are and why we were created, we risk the temptation of allowing other things and other…


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Gratitude – c/o Langston Hughes

I was chatting with one of my favorite people about my journey and prepping for a meeting and she mentioned – just tell them “Life ain’t been no crystal stair”. I knew I had heard that phrase and poem before, so of course I googled and below is the source of the “crystal stair” courtesy of Langston Hughes.

Well son, I’ll tell you
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
and boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor -
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s
and turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’ you set down on the steps
Cause you finds its kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now -
For I’se still goin’ honey,
I’se still climbin’
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair

Langston Hughes

POTUS and other acronyms

When did we start us the acronym POTUS for the President of the United States?  People love using shorthand or acronyms for many things.  One of the toughest  things in starting a new job is adapting to and understanding the culture and jargon.  I have learned to simply ask if I don’t know what an acronym stands for.

After a cursory research on the internet, William Safire writes in a 1997 article in the NY Times[1] detailing the origin back to the Nixon years and prior for operational designation for White House staff as far back as Kennedy.  As for FLOTUS, Safire’s article claims that Mary Todd Lincoln holds the first distinction for being called the FLOTUS.  I guess the primary question is – when you speak of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama do you use the terms POTUS and FLOTUS?  If not why not?

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK

Most of us know the story about Jack and the beanstalk.  In consideration of our current economic times, Jack’s story is timely and you might even have a Jack in your family or household.  Here’s the story of Jack and the beanstalk, it is a cautionary tale.  Jack and his family were struggling and desperate to do better, Jack was instructed to take the family’s cow into town and trade the cow for more provisions.  On the way to town, Jack is greeted by a traveler who tells him that he will trade his cow for these magic beans.  For anybody who has lost their money playing three card monty – you are Jack.  So Jack trades the cow for the beans and returns home excited that he has made a good trade.  Well no surprise when he shares with his family that he only has a few beans to share for the cow, his family member disgusted throws the beans out the window.

The story goes on that overnight, the beans grow up to the sky where a giant lives.  Jack on successive trips climbs the beanstalk and steal valuable items from the giant including a singing harp that arouses the giant who chases Jack and dies when Jack is able to cut down the beanstalk while the giant descends.  So okay somewhat of a good news story for Jack although I’m not sure how they handled the dead giant in their yard.  But back to present times.  Some of us in these economic times can really bargain and stretch what we have for maximum benefit.  Others don’t read labels or are still caught up in better times and shop at Whole Foods or Andronico’s and wonder why their dollar doesn’t go far.

Then you have people who seek  to gamble in its various forms because after all Jack’s trade was a huge gamble.  Do you buy lottery tickets, go to the track, go to the casino, play tunk or craps with your friends in an attempt to make a little extra money?  If this description is you, you are Jack.  Sometimes it works out and sometimes you come home with some magic beans when your family is expecting you to negotiate a decent trade.  I have no advice because for a lot of people gambling pays off, but for me just not enough.

BACK TO SCHOOL

As much as I love summer, my birthday and summer vacation, there is something about going back to school that I have always enjoyed.  I think it is the newness of back to school.  New school clothes, new school supplies, new teachers all make for an exciting time as I remember my school years.  I’m not sure if students still cover their books but I remember that was a big deal the first week.  You got your books and then you have to cover them.  I remember the old Pee-Chee and for those who don’t know what that is – just think a folder.  We would add an Afro to the cheerleader and modify the Pee Chee while we sat in class.

Seems these days like everybody is doing a back pack drive, which is a great thing because those donations help level the playing field.  Going back to school can be expensive and school culture is rough if you don’t have the right clothes and right backpack.  Most kids have started school by now and having their back to school nights.  That night when you meet your child’s teachers, see the classes, ask questions, all while sitting in those little desks.

Best wishes for a successful school year to students, their parents, teachers, and administrators.  It will be the holidays before we know it and good luck to all the seniors applying to college.

FOR BETTER OR WORSE

Next week my parents will celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary.  Observing them up close and personal all these years has been an education on maintaining a relationship.  For some time, I wanted to write a book not only about my parents but their friends who also are long-time married couples.  My delay at completing this book has resulted in some of the spouses passing but their stories remain.  Despite the sexual revolution of the 60s, my parents had a circle of 4 other couples who all have been married 40 or more years  or until death parted them.

My primary take-away from these couples and my parents is that if you knew what other people went through, go through to be and stay married, most people would either never get married or their perspective would be more aligned with reality to help them sustain their marriages.  We all have our vision and understanding of what we want in a relationship.  Most of us are quick to say what we won’t put up with and when the going gets rough, we bail on our relationships.  Claiming, most of the time, that we don’t want to be unhappy.  To me, the unhappiness claim is MISCONCEPTION #1.  First of all, how many of us are actually HAPPY ALL THE TIME, whether we are in a relationship or not?  Every day is not going to be a picnic.  I am not advocating that a person should accept some level of misery, however, when you balance work, kids, the relationship, etc, survival more than happiness may be a better approach.

Now that I am older, my mom shares more things with me now about her relationship with my dad and being older I can observe their relationship through a more experienced lens.  Let me just say, I am amazed at the things they have both been through with each other.  In preparing for my book, I did interview two of the couples.  This one story amazes me and strengthens me.  One of the couples shared a story wherein, the wife decided that she wanted to go to work.  She had been a working person prior to the marriage but had been an at-home mom when their first child was born.  Her husband did not want her to go back to work.  This woman got a good job and started work but here’s the crazy thing.  Because of her going back to work, they did not speak for A YEAR!  I still have to chuckle when I think about their story.  What I have learned from their story, from my parents and my own married life, is that you can’t make anybody do something or stop somebody from doing something.  How you manage those emotions and continue to work together is the key to longevity.

The overarching thing I do know about my parents and these other couples is the LOVE.  When I think about commitment, having each other’s back, family, and the living example of those vows we all hear at weddings, I see my parents and their friends.

TMI – Caller ID on your television

We love technology, our smart phones and our apps.  Life is so convenient, we can do everything mobile and when we are at home, we have technology – caller ID on our television screen.  How great this feature seemed at first, no need to get up from the couch and check the phone.  In the comfort of relaxation, you can decide whether to answer or let the call go to voicemail.

However, consider you are a single person entertaining a friend or guest and now while you are cuddled romantically on the couch with your love interest of the moment – here pops up girlfriend #2 or boyfriend-in-waiting  or worse yet that cute person that finally called (damn!) and then that awkward pause because you know you are not going to answer the phone and now your guest may or may not be discreet and respond to the caller id and ask “Are you going to answer that?  Heaven forbid, they recognize the caller’s name.

The smart guest will see this as the most opportune time to get up and get another glass of wine or better yet open up another bottle.  Now once your guest leaves, your mind should be ready to call your cable provider and delete this feature from your service because clearly it is causing problems.  Guess what, easier to get the technology than to turn it off.  You can’t turn this feature off like you can turn off the ringer or put your phone on vibrate.  Now Comcast might tell you that you can option not to have the caller Id display on your television but I have a few friends that if they were successful in getting the feature turned off , it came right back the next month like a nasty little rash.

On a happier note my favorite technology feature is the customized ring.  My mom has a different ring for me and my sisters.  I have another friend she has a different ring for each of her three boyfriends.  This is a convenient feature that allows you to know who has called without picking up the phone and looking at the caller id.  Brilliant!  Send me a comment if you have a solution to this caller id on the television problem – email in the name of love.

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