Saturday, June 25, 2011

Unplugged and Powerless

Driving down Main St. and seeing rows of closed businesses, non-working traffic lights, and long lines of cars inching through town made me feel like a visitor in an abandoned town.   
A huge, powerful storm and the lightening that accompanied it left part of Lansdale unplugged and powerless. No phones, no lights, no air conditioning, no computers—and for business owners—no sales.  Buildings, however, remained intact and after a good long wait, power was restored. After this brief, inconvenient outage, merchants could anticipate sales on the following day.  
Compare our situation to victims in the Heartlands and Southern states where monster storms left scores of towns with almost nothing. The news showed pictures of commercial buildings flattened and scattered, and residents facing ruined businesses and livelihoods. Over the last several weeks, the impact of tornados in states like Missouri gives unplugged and powerless a whole new meaning.  Check out a video that captures the devastation.

It’s difficult to imagine how we would respond if our homes and jobs disappeared overnight. We experienced a tiny bit of what a devastating storm can do. Thank goodness it wasn’t worse. How did you fare in this last storm and what is your general attitude in the face of adversity? Be honest. Are you generally thankful or unthankful in dark and trying times—but more importantly—why?   

Friday, June 17, 2011

Best Father’s Day Gift Idea Ever—Maybe

It’s affordable, it’s healthy and if you know a father who wants to stay physically fit, then it’s the perfect gift. Perhaps the dad on your list already has one, but if not, this may be the best Father’s Day gift idea ever—maybe.  I’m referring to the exercise balls that measures about two feet in diameter, like the ones you find in the gym.
In April, we bought one for each kid and I’m amazed at how often they sit, lie and play on it while watching T.V. Without any effort, they’re improving their balance and strengthening the much-touted core. Fitness aficionados know that the core refers to the trunk, specifically the stomach and back muscles, but the ball will help tone legs and, given the appropriate exercises, arms as well.
Imagine the special dad in your life—a hubby, a son, an uncle or a brother—using the exercise ball while watching a game. That’s at least two to three hours of unintentional exercise. When he invites friends over, well, let the competition begin! The ball adds another dimension to the visit when guests try to out balance, out exercise, and out trick one another. If you think things could get out of control, hide your breakables now.  Here’s a video that defines “out of control.”

If the dad in your life begins to use the ball like that, don’t blame me. 
You’ll also love this gift because you can borrow it to improve your own balance which, experts say, is crucial for overall well-being. So, how well are you maintaining a good life balance? What are your strategies for juggling life’s most important balls (emotional, spiritual, health, family, leisure and career)?  

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Why Walk When You Can Soar?

Winding down a side road the other day, I encountered the dreaded goose parade.  The gaggle of geese meandered across the street as if we had all day to watch and wait for them to strut by. As cars lined the road both directions, the geese took their time, ignoring our impatience. You’ve seen them. They waddle along one direction and just when you think you can pass, one of them pauses and retraces his steps, causing the relatives to follow. And that’s when my blood pressures rises.
We sat for about twenty seconds before a driver from behind broke formation, blared the horn and zoomed toward the geese. If you know anything about these webbed-footed creatures, then you can imagine what happened next—nothing!  I think one of the geese strutted on, raised a wing, rolled her eyes and quacked, “No he did-n’t!”
Why do geese bother to walk at all? After a bit of research, I learned that walking exerts less energy than flying, geese are grazing creatures, and if they’re molting they can’t fly.  Sounds like good reasons to walk.
This situation reminds me of people. Sometimes we forget that we need to walk before we can soar. Preparation comes first. Once we complete the appropriate training, studying and hard work, when we’re prepared, we can accomplish what we’re called to do. I’m sure you have goals. Here’s video to inspire you to achieve them.

How would you complete the following sentence: I’ll feel like I’m soaring after I ______________.      


Friday, June 3, 2011

And Then We Will Change

It’s that time of the year again—and so bittersweet—as graduates of all levels move on to the next phase of life. I’m certain that someone you know is graduating from somewhere. Count the number of times you’ll say, “Seems like just yesterday….” I get nostalgic thinking about these changes. That's when I like to gaze at old pictures of the graduate pretending to be a teacher, a ballerina, a superhero or a famous wrestler.  
Here’s a song that seems to echo the sentiments of this time of the year. Close your eyes and listen for a bit.

Ms. Vaughn has quite a voice.  You’ll hum that tune for at least a week.
Although my children won’t graduate for some time, one of them decided to do a thorough bedroom cleaning, actually it resembled a purging. We ended up giving away an art set, markers, books and games, and the whole time I kept asking, “Are you sure you don’t want that?” and “You’re not using these anymore?” Feeling a little sad by the end of the process, I felt like shouting, “Don’t grow up so fast!”
While I often wish that all of us aged more slowly, from a broader perspective, I’m actually a proponent of change. I’m a been-there-done-that-so-what’s-next kind of person. Change can be great—once we get used to it. In spite of my tiny tendency to complain about new formats, instructions and procedures, (and by the way, why did the U.S. mint change the coin designs?), I try to embrace opportunities to venture into new territory. What about you?
Surprising things can happen from a few minor changes. What personal changes will you make in your life this year?