Thursday, April 16, 2015

Are We That Smart?

Since my friend’s tablet operates like my cell phone, she demonstrated a couple of new features that I didn’t know existed.  I discovered that my camera has voice –activated technology, so we took a selfie by saying, “capture!” Amazing!

When I shared my fantastic discovery with my husband, he asked if I had read my phone’s directions.  Of course not.  I rarely read product directions, unless it’s for electric appliances or medicines. Here’s my motto on the topic: Life’s too short to read technology directions. If I have a smart phone, shouldn’t it tell me what it does?

Companies already make a smart home and a smart car that parks itself. If this trend continues, we’ll be a society of dumb people ruled by smart technology. Could technology rule the world? It sounds like Al’s preparing for it:

Watch out if Al enters the next presidential race. He’s prepared, charismatic, and has a stinging sense of humor. Notice how he started off friendly, then things got creepy. Where’d he pick up the zoo joke? Not funny Al!

We love our smart technology, but let’s not leave everything to the “Als” of the world. What do we stand to lose due to technological advancements?  

Friday, April 10, 2015

Practicing Fobulous Habits

Our mechanic recently installed a new battery in my vehicle’s key fob, so why does it take  about five clicks to unlock the door?  I click and click until I’m standing alongside my vehicle, waiting to get in. Opening a car door with a faulty key fob is frustrating. I stopped using the key a few years ago and I guess I forgot that the key still works!

Habits develop faster than we realize, but they can take a long time to break. Nearly everything we do on a frequent basis could evolve into a habit. I wonder how long it took to form these tendencies:  


If we believe our performances hinge on how we put on socks or the number of times we tap  the ground, we’ve crossed over into the realm of ritualistic habits. They’re entertaining and raise our comfort levels, but I’m not sure they’re dependable. What habits give you confidence to do your best? 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Still Relevant

While watching TV, I spotted a young girl on the show dressed in an “unusual” outfit. After spending a lot of time with a relative, Jasmine began dressing like her family member. The clothes looked so awkward on her that I remember mumbling, “What is she wearing?” That’s when I realized two things: she was imitating her grandmother’s style and I owned a similar outfit.

Here’s my backstory. I received that outfit about five years ago. These days it’s my “house outfit,” which means I only wear it outdoors if I’m taking out the trash or making a quick grocery store trip. Even though I saw the outfit in a store this past winter, I don’t think the style caught on again. These styles might catch on faster than my old outfit:


Who doesn’t enjoy a colorful outfit? Styles change over time. One day your pants are in style and the next year you’re willing to donate them or wear them for a laugh. If we bought a pair of shoes last year, we’re ready to throw them out this year. If you do decide to keep them, you’ll have a hard time getting the heels fixed. Although people rarely get shoes repaired anymore, I still own several pairs of shoes that I’ve had for decades, including snow boots from middle school that I wear every winter.  Sound and sensible things last. What’s something you thought might not last, and then realized that it’s still useful and relevant?   


Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Leap of Faith

Lots of people are fanatical about eating the healthiest foods possible. At our house, we recently purchased snacks made with—you guessed it—vegetables. I’m eating corn chips made with beets, a vegetable I rarely eat. Sure, I’ll eat a few beets at a salad bar or if they show up on my plate at a friend’s house, but I’m not going to select them from a list of side items in a restaurant. Even if you dislike beets, you might like them in corn chips. Have you tried corn chips made with spinach and kale? I know. They’re green, not the best color for a snack food, but they taste great. If you like veggie snacks, then you’re probably a health-conscious person who’s ready for the next stage. Welcome to the next level of healthy eating:  

I just started enjoying veggie snacks so I’m not yet ready for the “next level.” Scratch that. I doubt I’ll ever be ready to knowingly go that far. Do you think you would? Who knows, in a year, maybe we’ll see bags of delicious insects in the supermarket. Is there something you thought you wouldn’t or couldn’t do, but now you realize how different your life would be if you had not taken a leap of faith?             

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fitting In

 A boy about four years old wearing a fashionable jacket and snazzy hat scooted into the row in front of me. Seated beside his mother, he removed his hat and waited for the assembly to start. Of course, within a few minutes, he started fiddling and fidgeting. Eventually he tried putting his hat back on, but it didn't fit. That’s odd, I thought. Why doesn't the hat fit now? As soon as he tilted it, I spotted the problem. He stuffed a chunky, toy inside the hat’s crown, leaving no room for both a head and a toy.  
Whenever you try to cram in too much, things are going to feel uncomfortable. I don’t why this group decided to sweat through this particular challenge, but they did.   


Overextending ourselves with work, activities, and too many commitments makes us cranky.  For whatever reason, we maintain our busy schedules and keep on going. Instead of struggling to scale back your commitments, what could you add to help cope with the busyness?  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Closer Than You Think

Can you believe the fog? Earlier this week when warm temperatures mixed with melting snow, the roads almost disappeared in the fog. Add howling wolves, a shadow lurking beside a shed, and you have the perfect setting for a mystery/thriller movie.

It’s amazing how much danger a dense fog can hide. One minute you‘re driving down an empty   road and the next minute an animal or vehicle appears from nowhere. You never know what you’ll spot once the fog clears. Here’s a scary situation:

Fog is like life: go far enough and you’ll encounter a surprise that’s just beyond the bend. Sometimes circumstances cloud our perspective and discourage us from seeing down the road, until we slow down and look around. Better days may closer than we think. What’s one thing you can do right now to enhance your journey?  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

An Amazing Twenty-Six Hour Day

I’m sure you have a favorite household appliance or gadget. I like the clothes dryer. On cold winter days nothing beats bundling up in a toasty blanket taken straight out of the dryer. Try it. I guarantee it’ll make you say, “Mmmmm.” It’s like a quick massage, yet much less expensive.

We fill our homes with modern conveniences, but for every benefit a new household invention brings, there’s a potential downside. For instance, clothes dryers suck up energy, shrink your clothing, and rob them of their vibrant color. When designers try to help us save time, space, or energy, we wind up with technology like this:

If I owned that contraption, I’d end up yelling on the phone to the manufacturer, “Help, my kitchen’s  on lock down!” I can appreciate creating a compact, artistic kitchen, but should anybody need a forklift to move it into an apartment? You’ll probably have to remove a wall. I’ll stick with traditional kitchens that don’t unfold.

We have more convenient gadgets and inventions today than we’ve owned in the last fifty years, so you'd think we'd have more free time. I doubt that's the case. If you gained two more hours per day, how would you use them?