We try to be authentic, don’t we? We don’t want to be artificial. Our smiles cover sadness and loneliness. Our laugh covers nervousness, awkwardness. We try to minimize our insecurity and fear. Instead of showing our weakness, we tell a joke. Bravely we dive into a project telling ourselves we can do it. We show our strength and competence, not our confusion. Our concern for others hides our need, distraction from our own problems. We try to be open and honest, but our stories are edited. We hide behind who we want to be, not showing who we are. And yet, somehow, we are known.
I really don’t know how I get myself into these situations. It isn’t like I volunteer! I guess I’ve learned to put myself out there, and I have made my opinions known, but that didn’t mean I wanted to teach, give speeches, nor be the leader!
How far I’ve come. Once upon a long time ago, I was given vocal lessons to help raise the volume of my voice. I was quiet, and very soft-spoken. I was shy. Painfully, life limiting, shy. I was so shy, that you could know me for years, and never hear my voice, nor know my name. When I realized this fact, I knew I had to take action, and start putting myself out there. Working with others, as a helper not a leader, got me comfortable enough with others that I could begin to open up.
There was only one type of situation where I found my voice.
I found my voice when I felt a strong opinion, which I could back up with research. I listen to endless hours of reports, listen to conversations and the evaluation of others, do my independent research, and filter all I’ve heard and read through my beliefs. I have well-formed, well-reasoned, and well-thought out opinions. Only then will I put myself forward with an opinion. I found that most people just don’t care for my opinion, unless they agree with me.
The struggle to become a better communicator, in an effort to overcome shyness, led me to go to college, study communication, and take on the roll of a reporter. Having the roll of asking questions, trying to understand what people mean, and summarizing it for others, helped me to overcome my fears.
There were some other exercises in talking to people which contributed to my transformation. I have achieved so much success in overcoming my shyness, others no longer think of me as shy. I can talk to other people, even groups. I learned the simple key to communicating with others. Preparation.
I was so nervous during my first speech that I froze. Now I write down everything I want to say. When I call someone, I write down everything I want to say, including my name, so I won’t forget. When talking to a group, even a small group, I write detailed notes with written out transitions from one section to another.
I went to a conference, and near the end the leaders asked, who is going to take this information back to your groups. Everyone at my table said, “April should do it.”
Bottom line – I’m no longer shy. I’ve gotten a reputation. A good reputation as a good communicator. I’ve gone from sitting shyly in the back row, to being at the podium. Of course, I told them to tell me where to go, and I would be ready.
I’ve spent hours looking over the water, wishing for a glimpse of what is on the other side. Lake Erie was the body of water of my childhood dreams, and even knowing Canada was on the other side, I longed to sail, or swim to that distant shore. Dad and I spent many hours on the water talking about sailing out of sight of land and all the way to Canada.
We had driven to Canada when we visited Niagara Falls. We wondered how they handled crossing from U.S. waters into Canadian waters, and guess they probably waited until docking to check documents. This was before the internet. We could have found out with a trip to the library, but Mom totally freaked over the idea of her baby being taken out of sight of land in our tiny sailboat.
I have crossed oceans, visited foreign countries, and still have the desire to explore the unknown. I visit worlds beyond the stars through science fiction. I stare into the night sky at the billions and billions of stars and wonder about other worlds.
Sailing away from the city lights, on a clear moonless night, gazing into the sky it seems you can see millions of stars. That is only fancy. You can actually only see a fraction of the stars in the heavens. The normal fraction of stars we can see at night is shrinking with our use of the artificial light we surround ourselves with at night.
The artificial light seen on earth from space is called light pollution, because it interferes with our ability to view the stars. We extend our reach to the stars with technology, and someday, we ourselves will travel to other worlds, meet other beings and discover new lands.
Until that far distant future, I will continue to dream.
She was so fortunate to know her great-grandmother. Girls in particular, got married so much earlier then, and without modern birth control had so many more children. Her great-grandmother was the second of 14 children, had an estimated 62 cousins, some of whom she had never met. Great-grandmother also had a large family, with a slew of grandchildren, and great-grand children, but only she was the one, and was given the great gift of her great-grandmother’s name.
Looking at the clock in the dark, she saw it was nearly 3 a.m., and leaned back on her pillows trying to will herself back to sleep.
Her thoughts took the direct route to the impending birth of her great-grandchild, a girl. It has been such a long time, more than 99 years, nearly the age her own great-grandmother died. I am ancient, she thought. Surely, this will be the one, the long-awaited one, the one to get my name. Surely, she would live long enough to hold the one in her arms.
She may not be remembered by the little one, but she could die knowing that the long legacy would continue. There was no doubt, this would be her last chance to hold the one in her arms. Even if her oldest great-grandchild married early and started having children right away, she would be unlikely to live to see the child, girl or boy.
Dozing with snatches of dreams of her great-grandmother, snakes hissing, and laughter, she stayed in bed until 6 a.m. She got up, dressed, ate her breakfast, and waited. She knew her granddaughter would wait until a decent time to call her with the announcement. Her coat was draped over the arm of the chair by the door, and her bag sat next to the coat. Her so-called hair was coiled for a day out, and her scarf waiting on her shoulders was ready to be wrapped around her head.
The phone rang at 8:30 a.m. The call was earlier than she thought it would be, but the news was of a healthy girl. “I am ready to leave,” she told her granddaughter. Her grandaughter’s father was already on the way to pick her up. Impatient, she put on her coat, wrapped the scarf around her head, picked up her bag, and headed out the door.
Neighbors out with their dogs refused to meet her eyes as they hurried their animals away from her grass. She really didn’t mind, as long as they picked up after their pets, but she had given up telling her neighbors that it didn’t bother her. She didn’t have to wait long.
Her daughter met her at the door to her granddaughter’s room, and took her directly to the bassinet holding the newborn baby girl. She ran her hand over the tiny infant’s head, looking for the distictive thick stubble she had been instructed to look for. Yes!
This is the one she awaited. The naming ceremony would be scheduled.
On this Wonderful Wednesday, the dogs and I enjoyed a beautiful sunny walk, with the moon turning translucent in the bright sky. Seeing the moon when the sun is up has fascinated me since I was a school girl. Dogs don’t notice such things. Dogs are nose down in the grass sniffing for sign of interlopers into their territory, and looking for that good spot to take care of business.
Have you heard the theory that the moon is hollow and has obelisks and other structures, similar to those constructed in ancient Egypt. Have you heard beings may be living underground on the moon? Real men in the moon! Fortunately it was not an episode of Ancient Aliens that was keeping me up last night! This morning however, looking at the moon, I wondered why these theorists don’t get together a mission to the moon, and find out if those shadows really are structures made by a race of space travelers.
Several people are earning a living by selling books on this subject (not me), and several more believe it is true, so why don’t they start raising funds for an archaeological dig on the moon. This is a theory that could be proved. Tax payers don’t want government paying for moon missions to investigate this, but if you really think it is a government conspiracy to hide the truth from the masses of earth (that’s you and me), then put your money up and prove it.
If this theory is proved right, then members of the expedition will go down in not only in history but on the short list of scientists that have exponentially advanced science. If the theory is proved false, the members of the expedition will be proved fools, the idea will become a footnote in science courses, and no one will buy books or watch the History Channel for proof of Ancient Aliens.
Ancient Aliens and the alien presence on the moon makes for safe party conversation. We are all equally in the dark, and at worst you will be considered a fun crackpot. There are no answers that can prove the theory either way.
So other than these silly thoughts of a tired mind, I hope you enjoy your day. I hear we have rain coming, and I’ll be watching for rainbows.
I love the fall. Leaves turn colorful and drop on the ground to crunch under foot. The humidity has dropped and the weather is warm enough to get outside, but not so warm that some serious physical activity would overheat you. Tip: Mow the leaves instead of raking them, and go someplace beautiful for a hike.
The fall holiday we are waiting for is Halloween. When I was a child I would plan my candy begging rounds weeks in advance. In school we would cut and color appropriately themed ghosts, bats, and haunted houses. Few of my friends were lucky enough to have a jack-o-lantern out for the neighborhood enjoyment.
We wore those cheap costumes with the printed picture on the front and a blinding mask, put up during our trek from house-to-house for treats. As a child, it was all about the candy. We would fill pillowcases with candy from our neighbors. Every 45 feet was another door, and we would keep going until every porch light in the neighborhood was turned off. The porch light is the signal that treats are available.
There were few problems that resulted from this night of wanton begging. The jack-o-lanterns not brought in at night were found broken on the road the next morning. It was just pumpkin on the road, but their broken faces made me cry. There were a couple of curmudgeonly neighbors who paid for their bad humor all year with some eggs thrown at their front window, or several rolls of toilet paper strung from branch to branch.
It wasn’t until my own children where getting older that parents started worrying that candy might be tampered with. Over time that worry changed Trick or Treating. Children stopped going to people they didn’t personally know. Stores, places of worship, schools, malls and government buildings began giving out treats rather than disappoint children.
Trick or Treating is absent from my neighborhood. But decorations are plentiful, both inside and outside of homes. Adults and children dress in costumes and go to parties. Parents will drive across town to take their children to the good neighborhoods for Trick or Treat. The porch light is still the signal that treats are available.
Want to get into the Halloween Spirit? Here are some recent blogs that will help you get into the mood. Enjoy!
lifelessons– a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown on the fear of running out of candy,
Random Writings on the Bathroom Wall by Jim for a spooky night,
The Phil Factor where Phil Taylor recommends his top ten scariest movies of all time.
Just for good measure, here is a re-post of my spookiest.
If I was actually yelling, “FIRE!” You would immediately run from the building, look for an extinguisher, make sure everyone was safe, and call 911 for a fire truck to put out the blaze. When someone yells, “FIRE,” we know it is urgent. In fact it is illegal to create panic by falsely yelling fire in a crowded area, because we want everyone to trust that an emergency is real.
Remember the story of Chicken Little? (Some of you may better know this folk tale as Henny Penny or another name.) Chicken Little got hit with something, and ran around town crying, “The sky is falling.” A lot of panic was created over nothing.
The Chicken Little movie by Walt Disney was released November 4, 2005. After losing the trust of the town folk, Chicken Little and his friends must win back the trust they have squandered in order to save the town from a real emergency.
Another story with the same theme is Aesop’s Fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Just to see if the town folk will run to his aid, the young shepherd boy cries, “WOLF!” The town folk rush out to fight off the wolf, but it is a false alarm. The foolish boy does the same thing again.
When the real emergency comes, the town hears the call, but decide the foolish boy has had enough fun for one night, and fail to respond to an actual emergency. The wolves get a good dinner.
The political news, which to be honest most people don’t even believe, has been full of stories of the wolf at the door, and the sky falling. A voter asked how they can vote for a particular candidate asserts that no matter how foul their candidate is, the other candidate is worse, and besides they don’t believe the what is said anymore.
Both sides are voting for the issues they see as important. Some people like one party’s stance on the economy, with the promise of jobs and tax cuts. Some people are more concerned with global warming and are voting for the candidate who will do more to clean up the environment. Some are voting for a return to social norms of decades past. Some are voting for temperament.
But how can we believe the sky is falling, or the wolf is at the door, when we hear the same old hysteria over and over again. We are told this 2016 election is the most important election in our history, and some of us even believe that.
The day after election day, one of these candidates will be President. Will any of us be big enough to accept the will of the people? Will any of us breathe a sigh of relief that the sky is really okay, and the wolves are just doing wolf things and leaving us alone? Or are we still going to be running around screaming in hysteria?
Fall and Halloween decorations do not need to be over the top crazy. A few subdued decorations are enough. A wreath on the door, sets the tone, and makes me smile every time I walk into the room.
A neutral base that can be used year round, with a few seasonal leaves, and some curly ribbon is enough. I don’t need anything more for my door. This will provide color through the season, until it is ready to be redone for Christmas.
Reuse is a wonderful thing when you live in a dollhouse.
Water after a natural disaster is an urgent necessity. Even some not so natural disasters could benefit. Help spread the word. Please comment to the original post at: https://vanderhoofphotography.com/2016/10/12/20161012-solution-to-emergency-water-needs/
So Haiti just got nailed by Hurricane Matthew.
So did 4 states in USA, and other places around the world have problems too.
Water pollution problems exist and everyone wants to ship “BOTTLED WATER”.
Hum, how about some logical thoughts. MSR water filter here, produces somewhere around 10,000 liters WITHOUT REPLACEMENT!
Opps, it is also smaller than a 12 pack of 1 liter water bottles.
It requires NO ELECTRIC, NO GAS, or any fuel other that 2 hands pumping.
Any child can run it.
One of these in a small town can be pumped 24 hours a day without stopping other than some one else taking over as pumper person…
Any water, except saltwater can be used and the result is drinking water.
There is no NEED OF CONSTANT RUNNING BACK FOR MORE PACKAGES OF BOTTLES WATER. The rescue personnel can MOVE ON TO OTHER THINGS.
Consider a helicopter…
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