Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Blustering Came The Wind

Don't, Sir, accustom yourself to use big words for little matters.” ― Samuel Johnson

Recently I was listening to a colleague complain of a slight taken upon him by another person. The words used were "...he stabbed me in the back." The remaining parts of our conversation were filled with an over abundance of colorful verbs and exaggerated adjectives. It felt as though this person had a compelling reason to convince me of the wrong that was enacted upon him.

He had me at hello.

In actuality, it did not take all of the bluster to convince me of the wrong. And in all of the bluster, the wrong did not rise to the explanation of a knife being inserted into the back of this person. So why was the use of a bloody physical attack needed as the described result of a wrong done by another? Does exaggeration have to be so bold in order to prove one's point?

Is it self importance that we feel the need to do so? Well, sort of it is, but a few reasons people explain things in exaggerated ways are;

- To communicate a certain trait: In the case of my story, was the fellow trying to exhibit his strength to sustain a bloody blow of a knife. That no matter what befalls him, he is a survivor and cannot be defeated?

- To prove something: Maybe he felt I would not believe or consider his concern valid without the graphic explanation. He really was not injured by a knife firmly incised into his back. This could be a common sign of low self esteem. While he raised the wrong to such a high level, did he really think it would have generated greater belief on my behalf?

- To support a point of view: It is said that many people would rather be believed even if they knew their argument is invalid rather than changing their opinion or admitting they were wrong. To me the knife in the back description has always seemed quite over the top in any explanation.

Can we just call it "Twitter Bluster"?

I have a healthy respect for what social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook can accomplish in keeping all of us connected. In business I use it as a tool to teach others how to be succinct, to the point, with their updates on various subjects. With a pre-defined number of characters, how well can you get that point across quickly? Think of it as the 30-second elevator pitch to the division vice-president or to a promising new customer.

But these social media sites have also given birth to the "age of unfettered bluster" in making our point known. Our politicians are not the only ones, but we ourselves have raised the level of exaggerated noise to new levels of just noise. In all of this noise, we are simply trying to shout louder than the next person. We are likely trying to be more important than the next person.

Take the story of a gnat sitting on a bull's horn for a long time. Eventually, he asks the bull whether he would like him to leave. The bull says he had not realized the gnat was even there in the first place and will not miss him when he is gone.

Self importance will soon be forgotten if ever noticed in the first place.

The wind blows through the grass, bending it for a short amount of time. The wind is here and gone, unseen, only temporarily noticed as is the exaggerated word. What remains is the grass, standing tall and proud.

Stay inspired my friends!

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Swimming In Life

There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.” ― Michel de Montaigne

I would have to guess that the older we get, the more we realize how much we do not know. Of course we know a lot of things. We attend school, we get our degrees and through years of work the knowledge grows exceedingly within us.

But we learn to know what we do not know.

There are depths of learning that are described in different ways. Norman Webb defined these as DOKs or Depth of Knowledge stages. Another descriptive way has to do with water. Learning can be like walking into the water, finding the depth of what you know and understand.

In Webb's use of the DOK Wheel, there are four levels the first of which is DOK-1. This is the simple ability to recall and reproduce data, definitions, details, facts, information, and procedures. This level is known as knowledge acquisition but I call it wading into the water ankle deep.

The second or DOK-2 is the building of skills and concepts. This means making a decision on how you will approach your learning process. It includes decisions that require more than a single step such as comparing, organizing or estimating. Here we have knowledge application or entered knee level depth in our water approach.

We now move onto DOK-3 where we think strategically, with reason about the how and why various concepts can be used to get and explain those things we have learned. This is a point at which we can analyze our knowledge in a waist deep way.

With the fourth or DOK-4 level, this requires the most complex of thinking. It is a multitasking of thoughts and knowledge, using multiple sources and multiple ways of solving problems. This is what Webb called knowledge augmentation but I call it swimming.

Swimming in the deep end.

Do we allow our perceived intelligence to be the end to all we know? Are we ready to swim across the lake or an ocean for that matter? Or are we willing to explore a fifth level, the level called wisdom. It is a level brought on by time and age. This is the point at which true knowledge is revealed.

Never let yourself be satisfied with just the gaining of knowledge. As we swim the waters of life, enter the level of wisdom to grow until the end of our swim.

Stay inspired my friends!

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The Crashing Waves

"So bend to your trouble and meet your care, for the clouds must break, and the sky grow fair. Let the rain come down, as it must and will, but keep on working and hoping still."
- Edgar A. Guest

In the time since I last wrote to you, the waves kept coming one after another. The list kept growing and the rains have continued to fall. The feeling of being over-whelmed is easy to succumb to during these periods.

So what happened?

The storm that blew in tore down some trees started it all and I will lay the blame on that storm. While it is foolish to assign blame in this fashion, it simply establishes the timeline. The next thing to happen was my upper level air conditioning unit had a humidity drain hose leak that went undetected until it was. What that means is my upstairs hallway ceiling became a mushy mess of water dripping. I quickly fixed the water leak and the ceiling will be repaired by someone more capable then myself.

Yet the fun decided to continue.

The next morning it seemed our home was not keeping up with the cooling during the heat wave we were having. My downstairs air conditioning unit was unable to cool and the unit was frosting over. Winter frost on the pipes during summer, how delightful. This was then repaired at a none too inexpensive cost by our Heating & Air specialists, replacing the blower fan unit. This resulted in much cooler heads and thinking.

I now appear to be a proper whining blogger.

If you have remained reading to this point, or have read my blog posts over the years, I am actually a very positive person. And the story here is really about how we react to these endless waves of issues that come at us. In fact, these things do not happen just to me or you alone. In fact I can state some folks close to us have gone through (excuse the book reference) "A Series of Unfortunate Events" lately.

These folks have a SUV which has had issues from day one and have accumulated frustration and cost over the past year or so. They made a wise decision to cut their trouble and sell back the vehicle to the dealership. With that wave passed, they are now a one car family adjusting to their new transportation situation.

And then wave number two came along.

A very well meaning recall notice on their remaining vehicle arrived from the manufacturer. The recall was for safety and they dutifully took the car to the dealership which performed the work necessary. The dealership also did what was right and did an inspection of the car as a courtesy. The items found would cost over one thousand dollars to fix. Wave number two felt bigger then wave number one, or maybe it felt more like a punch in the gut.

You know it is coming.

Now these fine folks have two small boys and boys can be quite inventive, inquisitive and tornado-like in their adventurous day. Wave three comes in as flour not only spread upon the table, but the floor, in various non-food containers and in places flour just should not be. In fact, their lovely brown haired dog was now an equine coated spectacle of flour.

There are pictures of proof later in life that I am sure these two boys will be reminded of. But the great part about their reaction is that they could only laugh at the situation and know the good things in life actually out-weigh the bad.

To focus on the crushing wave upon wave is to forget the sea breeze, the brilliant blue sky and the exhilarating excitement life provides us with.

We all go through seasons of turmoil and discombobulating events. What may seem trivial to one person has a most upsetting impact to another. Our problems are all relative in the context of our personal lives. What we do have commonality in is that we all experience these waves. Like the normal rhythm of our breathing, or day turning to night or the changing of the seasons, the joyful will return.

Stay inspired my friends!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Grateful For Being Late

“Each day brings new opportunities, allowing you to constantly live with love—be there for others—bring a little light into someone's day. Be grateful and live each day to the fullest.”
― Roy T. Bennett

I might be late but at least I'm here to be late.

One could say I am being a bit obstinate if you were to read the above statement without context. Not having or not reading the full context of a statement seems to be an issue in our politics these days and more importantly in how we communicate with each other. But I will hold off on that subject for another time.

What I really want to talk about is being thankful or grateful for what I do have in life. I hear many times whether at work, in the store or generally hearing people talk regarding just how rotten their life is. Or it might be this went wrong or that is never right and on and on. In simple terms, everything is a negative.

Now do not misunderstand me. I have those same thoughts from time to time and have on occasion struggled with "woe is me" type of complaints. But in every instance of doing so, it never solved the problem. And when I sat down and examined what was happening, it really was not as big of a deal as first thought. Most definitely there are circumstances in peoples lives that are truly mind boggling in pain and suffering.

That is not what I am talking about.

Recently during a thunderstorm near our home, it came close to me. As the thunder cracked and the lightening lit up the early morning sky I made a decision. As the rain was coming down, I walked onto our covered back porch deck to move cushions from the chairs so they would not get wet from the blowing rain. As one would ask, what could go wrong? As I peered to my left, I could see my trees bending to the east nearly 45 degrees. In an instant I realized the wind was increasing at a dramatic rate and then I heard a loud crack.

My instincts told me that was not a good sound.

Into the house I rushed just as a large portion of a tree came crashing down onto my porch deck. Did it come close to hitting me? Sure, I could have wildly told of a near death experience like others with a microphone and camera pressed to my face. The "Lord Almighty shouted out to me and said son get in that house right now" coming from my lips could have been on the nightly news. But it wasn't and no, it was not all that close to harming me.

Stepping back and thinking it over without the exaggeration of the moment or the need to be heard above all the rest, I simply realized it could have been a lot worse. It could have slammed into the house and hit the windows where our daughter was sleeping. It could have been high winds ripping the roof from my house. It could have been a lot of things but it was not.

One could go on for days about the trivialities of life spending all of our energy on the negative aspects of such things. But I choose to look at the positive side as much as possible. To be grateful for what did not happen and how I can learn, grow and use the experience to make life better. If I apply that kind of thinking in everything I do, life really is pretty good.

And if you should happen to show up late, at least you are still here to be late.

Stay inspired my friends!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Dogs Are No Different

When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

We have a very cute and lovable dog in our household. This dog goes by the name of Snickers due only to the coloring she has which reminds us of the candy bar of the same name. Plus with nuts inside, she kind of matches that persona as well.

Snickers is a Fox Terrier who believes her backyard world and anything within two miles is her domain. Another dog walking by, someone talking too loudly across the street or the UPS driver delivering a package are to be barked at. Even an early morning run out the back door can elicit a shrill bark just because. My neighbors were none too happy about that going on.

She is also a dog who can jump over fairly high fencing or finding a perfect spot to dig under in order to go figure out why others would be so bold to come near her territory. And it is this battle back and forth at which I firmly believes she toys with me.

This week it is the perimeter collar. Next week will be the bark collar. Both work to perfection but she figures out which collar it is and decides it is the other she can pursue. So if barking is out of the question, she knows the fence is her's for the taking. When I put on the perimeter collar, well the barking begins as she deploys her tactics to keep people, animals and noises away.

What is interesting is she learns only by being reminded.

As humans, we are very much the same way. We only remember if reminded. The past seems so distant we forget what lesson was learned and the shock of repeating the same mistakes brings the reminder home. So we toy with the jolt to see if it were real. And by golly it was! Our politics, our jobs, our relationships, our health ... so soon we forget.

Just be comforted in the fact that dogs are no different.

Stay inspired my friends!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Walk In The Park

"Reality is hard. It is no walk in the park, this thing called Life." ~ Patty Duke

Most of my days are spent working and not taking much time off from that work. It is a habit instilled in me from my days growing up on a farm in eastern Nebraska. At sun up before school, the chores had to be completed summer or winter. After school, after basketball practice or homework, the chores were to be done. All of this seven days a week, every day of the year.

When I went off to college, I had thought I no longer needed that discipline and into my second year of college that lack of discipline failed me. Poor grades and easing off on my own expectations gave me no choice but to leave school. It was then the reality of LIFE hit me hard. Much harder than if I had applied my father's work ethic from those years on the farm.

I was newly married and now a child on the way, no degree and in need of a paying job. It was at this point where I went back to those old learned habits of hard work and perseverance. I would say that opportunity and others taking a risk in me also played a part. So many years, now counting at 38 years which includes a most influential six years at the Nebraska Typewriter Company.

Typewriter repairman?

I say yes these days because to do so is much easier then the real explanation of what opportunity was afforded me by the Beaurivage family. It was these early days in which I applied myself the way my parents had taught me. But I did miss a few things along the way which is why the map is shown above. For many of those years I forgot that one must also take time to relax and enjoy LIFE.

This is not to say there have been no vacations or times of relaxing. What I am saying is that I failed to learn HOW to relax and enjoy. There are reasons for that and you would know of those reasons. Reasons you probably experience and reasons that simply cannot be unexplained in a logical sense. But I am learning and I am trying to figure out how to enjoy the LIFE given to me.

The map shows a part of that learning. It shows a boat ride from a marina to a state park where we spent three days. In earlier times I would have said that is a waste of time, too far and too crazy to take a boat nearly 25 miles. But we did it and what I experienced was the awe of how large this man-made lake is. A lake that hydrates nearly every person in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Our learning never ends.

It is an experience I could not have had driving the freeway or simply flying over on my way to another meeting. To feel the bump of the waves, the mist of water as it sprayed the air nor the excitement of finding your way. This was my few days of learning how to walk in the park. It was another step at finding ways to enjoy LIFE and all it can offer.

When I reflect upon the path we took on our boat journey, it reminded me of how I had gotten to where I am today. The twists, turns, ending up in the wrong inlet. Having to find my way back and to re-chart a way knowing all I had to do was keep looking, keep moving, and keep enjoying the ride.

And just maybe I am starting to learn how to enjoy a walk in the park.

Stay inspired my friends!

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Where Has The Time Gone

"Why do we waste our time worrying about it when we should be using time to enjoy life?"

I have been asked on several occasions, where have you been? You have not written your blog for several months, why not? Have you given up on writing?

My answer is that I have been here all along.

It is correct to say that I have not been writing my blog for quite some time. Neither have I been working on my next book much during this time I've been away being here.

Time passes quickly that is for certain.

I sit here observing nature after a passing rain fall. The leaves are glistening with steam rising from the neighbors roof top with the sweet conversation of my wife filling the air.

These are the places in time to capture in memory.

In the everyday of life, we divide ourselves taking sides that keep many of us, a great nation, a great world, a great gathering of humanity apart.

And time keeps passing us by without a care of its own.

I am sure to keep voicing opinion and trying to leave a legacy that is good and decent for generations to come. It will only be time that knows if what we do in life has been impactful. And when my portion of the clock has passed, the memories I have created for others will have to suffice.

Stay inspired my friends!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

My Father - Dad

"It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons." - Johann Friedrich von Schiller

Today is celebrated as Father's Day in the United States and in many different countries around the world at various times of the year. A day when we as men can acknowledge that we can be pretty amazing people in the raising, providing for and protecting our families.

As with any population set there will be those who just didn't get the letter or learn how to properly be a man in this world. And there are varying degrees of our effectiveness. On the whole I think we do pretty well with what biology, evolution and what I believe God provided us with.

There is a man that I will miss for the first time this year. My father William "Bill" Primm passed away on February 17 of this year. An 86-year old man who was a son many years ago, a husband for many more and of course a father to seven children.

My article will not say anything new that a child might say of their father. I had my disagreements and my disappointments in him. I know that he had his own disagreements and disappointments in me. But what we had more of are the proud accomplishments, laughter, respect and love of each other.

He grew up in a broken home and raised by an aunt and her husband on a farm in the southeast farm fields of South Dakota. He worked the horses, the fields and also had his share of mischievousness. He worked hard, made it through high school even playing the trumpet in the school band.

He then met Rose Marie Gale, our mother.

There is much to be said about how he accomplished the role of fatherhood and in raising a family. My parents are together in whatever heaven is to them, but while they were with us here in the natural it worked well. I learned so much from my father I can not begin to explain it.

All that I can do was either taught, encouraged or drilled into me with the hope that it would make me a more successful person in life. It did not always sit well with me. Some of it irritated me quite frankly. Yet I can sit here to day and know that much of who I am, what I do, how I accomplish things are due to my father.

My father William "Bill" Primm, or in my own words Dad.

Thank you for the many years. I am very proud to call you my father and love you with all my heart. Just do me a favor and give Mom a hug for me along with John and Patty. Quite possibly gone from my sight but none of you are gone from my heart.

Happy Father's Day to you Dad and to all of you Dad's out there.

Stay inspired my friends!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

"It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle." - H. Norman Schwarzkopf

It is the young who are sent to fight the battles of old men. To those young men and women we remember their ultimate sacrifice and say thank you.

Stay inspired my friends!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Guest House

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, popularly known as Rumi, was a 13th-century poet, jurist, scholar, and theologian. The following poem titled The Guest House explores the idea that all of our existence is of great value. All of the varying emotions, events and experience are valuable and should not be pushed aside as unnecessary or avoidable. Everything that touches our lives has meaning and value and should be embraced for either the good, bad or indifference they bring.

In short, it is the entirety of our lives.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

- Rumi

Stay inspired my friends!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Surprise The World - Surprise Yourself

"Man is always more than he can know of himself; consequently, his accomplishments, time and again, will come as a surprise to him."
- Golo Mann

Day in and day out, we go about our lives performing many of the same tasks required of daily living. We become so used to it that everything we do seems ordinary.

The thing is, you are not ordinary.

You are an amazing creation that can do surprising things with your life.

The act of performing your job to the best of your ability is not ordinary. Anyone can just show up to a job. But you go beyond and put great skill and effort into making your work the best one can produce.

The act of having a committed relationship with another person. You take great care in nurturing and serving that connection. You do not simply take but you give so the relationship grows and strengthens.

You are not ordinary.

The act of raising children is huge and you understand it as such. You are creating and building a great life for them so that they are strong and ready for the world that lay before them.

The act of helping and serving others in the community. You understand that when you give, much is returned tenfold to you. Having a strong and vital community around you creates a better life for all.

So you see, you are not ordinary.

You have the ability within you to create great surprise in other people with what you can accomplish. That ability makes you more than ordinary.

Go out and surprise the world.

And stay inspired my friends!

Monday, February 06, 2017

Wins and Losses

On athleticism, God knows no favor. It seems rather he is in the business of teaching winners how to lose and losers how to win.” ― Criss Jami

I need to take this moment to apologize.

I need to apologize to all of those Atlanta Falcon fans who deeply and those who road the wagon during Super Bowl LI.

I need to apologize to the Atlanta Falcons themselves who came so close but a championship slipped away in the late evening hours of Super Bowl LI.

It was I who turned on the television late in the third quarter to watch the game unfold. I gave the New England Patriots a shot at winning this championship and they took full advantage of my bad choice.

I should have continued to watch House of Cards episodes on Netflix and left the football gods to wonder why I was not watching the game.

I should have, but I did not.

I am pretty sure my watching or not having watched had no impact upon the game. And no, I am not superstitious. I feel we give everything we have as the football players did on that field.

A missed block, an unfortunate fumble or drive saving catch all contribute in the end. We are human after all and it is those pieces of the game which decide outcomes. It is those things which determine wins and losses.

And it is our attitude towards a win or loss which determines who we are as a person. Attitude determines the type of winner and type of loser we are in any given situation.

So do I apologize for my possible ethereal impact upon the game, of which it is unlikely.

If it makes one step back and look at the wins and losses of one's life in a more positive light, then please, let my apology stand.

Stay inspired my friends!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Backpack of Lessons

Backpack by Shelley Plum

On my back a pack I carry
In it, all my treasures.
It's what I need
So I can be
One class higher!

Crayons, ruler, scissors too,
And yes a little Elmer's glue
Paper, pencils, in my bag...
Wonder what made mom so sad?
Trapper keeper, nice and neat

Will it really stay this clean?
On my back a pack I carry
In it, all my treasures!

Today I'll be
Just watch and see
One class higher!

School remains in session in many parts of the world today. There will be those who have the day off possibly, sick, holiday or other reasons, but most of school age are attending classes. Millions of kids and adults around the world in school.

As these kids or adults go running out into a world of learning, the big picture of their lives has not been fully painted in. The color of their knowledge only exists in primary and plain tones. As they learn, the varying shades and detail will begin to fill in.

Our own life is also an ever changing picture that fills even more as we learn more each day. The details of everything continue to become ever more clear. Every day brings new opportunity to learn more and to grow more.

Each of us should strive to learn and expand what we know. Even as those children attending school know, it is a lesson that you should never stop learning. Keep growing in knowledge and allow the fine details of your life be painted ever clearer.

Stay inspired my friends!