Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Analyzing Wins

Book report time!  This time around, I'm talking about Loonshots by Safi Bahcall.  It's a fascinating book about crazy ideas and big risks and how to help them succeed.  Well, I'm not actually done with the book so I want to talk about one point the author made that blew me away.
Failing to analyze wins can reinforce a bad process or strategy. You might not get lucky next time.
Wow! How many people ever do this? Most of the time we take the win and move along.  But did you win because you out preformed the opponent or did you win because you caught some lucky breaks?

When we fail, we are often good at trying to figure out why.  If you host an event and people don't come, you try to think about why that is.  Maybe you didn't advertise properly. Maybe there was another event that night that held a larger appeal.  Maybe your event publicity didn't reach your target audience.  And on and on.

If we host an event and lots of people come, do we stop and think about why?  Did you pick a date and time that really works for your audience? Did you partner with another group that helped your reach your target audience? Did you happen to draw in random people who didn't see any of your publicity?

Of course, no one wants to be a Debbie Downer after a great event.  And you don't want to demoralize people by saying "things went well because we got lucky, not because you did your job well."

Perhaps the best course of action is to enjoy your success for a few days.  Then, before a week passes, have a meeting to ask:

  • what went well?
  • where did we get lucky?
  • what do we want to do the same next time?
  • what do we want to change next time?
  • were the attendees really the people we were going for?  
  • if not, how can we continue to reach out to our target?
Like most things in life, balance is key.  Celebrate and enjoy success but also be honest about why you were successful! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


I've been on this earth almost 45 years.  Let that sink in.  I stand by my assertion that I often feel like I'm 12 years old, wondering who in the world put me in charge of all this and when will they figure out that I'm only 12?  I've had many disappointments in those 45 years.  I've had some downright rejections that hurt immensely. 

Disappointment is different to me though. Disappointment happens when you knew there was a chance things wouldn't work in your favor.  You knew you might not be successful so you're not destroyed but you're still upset.  Make sense?

As a momma, it's been hard to learn how to help my boys through the disappointments in their lives.  Especially when you're disappointed too. 

First and foremost, I have to check my emotions.  Why am I disappointed?  I need to deal with myself quickly and quietly so I can move on to their emotions. 

Secondly, acknowledge their feelings.  There's nothing worse than being told to settle down when you're upset.  If I could settle down, I would.  So, don't do that to your kids.  Don't tell them it doesn't matter, just get over it. That's sends the signal that you can't be trusted with their emotions.  They'll close up and stop talking.  Let them know that sometimes life sucks, sometimes life isn't fair and that's ok.

Once the feelings are handled, help them see the truth of the situation.  This is tricky because sometimes they screwed up.  But they need to see that, it's the only way for them to get better.  I like to let them uncover this themselves by asking questions.  When all else fails I ask one of my signature questions: were you my kind of ready or your kind of ready?  (see also: is it my kind of clean or your kind of clean?  were you being my kind of nice or your kind of nice?)  If you've raising a self aware kiddo, they'll figure out where they screwed up.

Finally, help them make a plan to move forward.  Again, it's best that the plan is mostly their idea.  But you can ask them questions to help them get to a good plan.  Then follow up and help them execute their plan.

It's important that they know you love them and you believe in them through out the process.  Don't forget to encourage them.  Take the opportunity to remind them that GOD has a plan and He has their best interests at play in that plan.  And that disappointment doesn't last forever.

What do you think?  How do you help your kids when they face disappointments?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Good Advice

I read this verse Monday morning and it really stuck with me.  Paul is closing his first letter to the Thessalonians with this stellar advice. 

Be at peace among yourselves - Paul is talking about fellow believers here.  Believers should be at peace with one another.  We have one HUGE thing in common - our believe in GOD.  But there are lots of different things that we disagree about.  That's why we have different denominations.  When the non-believing world sees us arguing about these things that sends a message.  This doesn't mean that we shouldn't talk about our differences but we should disagree agreeably.  You can talk about disagreements and show love to that person at the same time.  Let's practice that! 

Admonish the idle - Paul was talking about those who refuse to work.  It made me think about people who are, by choice, empty headed. They fill their minds with crap.  As computers taught me years ago - garbage in = garbage out.  Most empty headed people don't have lots of interesting things to say they resort to gossip.  Of course, it's not very nice to tell someone they are empty headed (see above) but you can refuse to engage in their empty headed talk. 

Encourage the fainthearted; help the weak; be patient with them all - These all go together for me.  I try to be an encourager and a helper to everyone.  Patience is harder.  It's super easy to encourage and help someone the first time they need it.  It's harder the 4th or 5th time they need help for the same issue, patience wears thin.  At least that's how I feel when I have to keep asking for help for the same issue.  I assume the person is thinking "why can't she get it together?" Here I have to remind myself that GOD doesn't lose patience with me when I keep screwing up on the same things.  Because I've been afforded that grace, I should work to extend that grace to others.

What do you think about this verse?  What does it bring up for you?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

A Nickle's Worth of Free Advice

Hello friends! I'm at a librarian conference this week.  My brain is fried.  I've been shoving learning in all day and feverishly writing notes and ideas.

So, this is all I've got for you:

Don't conduct personal business on your cell phone in public. 

You're welcome.

Just walking down the halls of the convention center today I heard conversations about:

  • debt consolidation loans
  • medical bills
  • medical diagnosis
  • problem employees

To be clear, I wasn't trying to hear any of these conversations and I didn't slow down to hear more.  

I get it, you're probably out of town and you have business to take care of.  I advise finding a secluded spot and not a table or chair or floor in the flow of traffic. 

That's it.  Keep your private life private.   You're welcome. 

Maybe I should add - don't write blog posts when you're mentally and physically tired...

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Talking Does Not Equal Communicating

Have you ever walked away from someone and wondered what just happened? You think you've just had a conversation with the person but when you think back, nothing really got communicated.  Communication implies understanding. 

When B was little and I was concerned about autism, I had asked our family doctor.  I was promptly dismissed and told "He's too verbal to be autistic".  At this time, B wasn't using many words but he was making a lot of noise.  He wasn't easily understood verbally.  But he could communicate.  He communicated with his sippy cups.  When they were empty I got a sippy to the head.  I knew exactly what he was trying to say.

B & Einstein
not related to this post but two cool dudes
These days, B's still pretty verbal.  He's also not always communicative.  He can ask for what he wants now and that's HUGE.  I can't tell you how important this is. For years I carried a huge backpack of toys so I could guess which one he wanted.  It also contained toys for other kids so they wouldn't touch the ones he had or the others that were special to him. He might not have wanted Mr. Potato Head right that minute but he didn't want you to have it either.  Here's some matchbox cars he doesn't care about.

Sometimes B is scripting and I have no idea what he's talking about.  Scripting means that he's repeating something he's heard on a video.  I haven't seen all the videos he has so I'm often lost.  In kindergarten and first grade he'd script in the appropriate context.  He would repeat things he'd heard and it would be appropriate for that moment.  It was fascinating. 

The most important times that he can't communicate is when he's overwhelmed.  Asking him questions to help him understand what's happening often leads to more agitation.  Often, we try to get him safe and leave him alone.  Not physically alone but we don't talk to him.  We don't offer him choices.  We stay silence.  Give him space to work through whatever's happening.  Usually, he can't discuss what happened right after the incident is over.  Most of the time, we talk about what happened at bed time.  That way, he's had time to sort through everything.  He's a truth teller so I don't worry about him lying to me.  On the rare incidences that he does lie, he tells on himself quickly. 

We can usually tell when B is stressed but we don't often know what's stressing him.  We can guess and we try to talk him through those situations.  We try to honor his requests during these times.  For example, he's been asking for us to pray for him to have a good night's sleep every night for about a week.  We pray at night but this is a specific request that makes me wonder.  So, I ask him questions and try to be more observant. 

B may not communicate traditionally but if you're observant and patient you can usually figure him out. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


In January, I wrote about my word for 2019: Better.  This past weekend I attended our church's women's conference, Bloom.  One of the speakers, Debbie Stuart, talked about her history of yearly words.  She had awesome stories of how GOD was working through her words. Each November, Debbie starts asking GOD to make her word known to her.  Once she knows the word, she defines it and looks it up Biblically.

I will admit that I didn't pray about what my word should be this year.  But I do believe that GOD can work through my word.   So, I decided to define my word and look it up Biblically.

- more excellent
- improve on

There are lots of Bible verses with the word better.  Lots of them are in my favorite Exodus.  Those are the laments of Israelites - It would have been better to die in Egypt than to die in this desert. So, I went to the New Testament.  Still lots of verses. I choose three.

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be GOD's will, than for doing evil.
     1 Peter 3:17 ESV
 I love this one because I do want to be obedient, no matter the cost.

This makes Jesus the guarantor of the better covenant.
     Hebrews 7:22 ESV
 This verse is a great reminder that Jesus died to make sure I have a home in Heaven. 

Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things - things that belong to salvation For GOD is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in serving the saints, as you still do.
     Hebrews 6:9-10 ESV
Better paired with serving makes me love these verses.  I also love the though of better things that come with salvation. 

What about you?  Did you settle on a word? Have you looked it up Biblically?  Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Rename It

At church we've been in a sermon series called Renamed.  You can see the sermons here. The basis of the series is that we are who and what GOD says, not what the world says. 

We also have the opportunity to rename situations in the same way.

"And we know that for those who love GOD all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 ESV

"What then shall we say to these things? If GOD is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31 ESV

When we know and believe these verses, we can rename any situation because we know that GOD will not abandon us, He's for us, and He's using whatever we're going through for our good. 

Easier said than done, right?  When I think of the 'how to' I think of this quote by Maya Angelou.


Attitude is everything!

When we change our attitude then a flat tire in the drive way isn't so bad, it might have saved us from a blow out on the highway. 

A broken dishwasher is a chance to learn something new.

Autism isn't awful, it's a different way to thinking.

A good friend once told me that, most times, when we don't get what we want it's a protection.  GOD's saving us from something or getting us ready for something better. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Always Creating

One of the many things I love about B-man is that he is always creating.  He, like me, always has a notebook handy.  He loves to draw!  Last week came and asked me to order him some clay.  As usual, I put him off.  This is generally how I gauge his interest.  If he asks again, he really wants it.

Sunday afternoon my momma gave B $10.  About 5 minutes after she left, and I had laid down for a nap, B came to ask me to order the clay.  The clay he had pulled up was $11 for one color.  So we searched for an alternative and ordered.

The clay arrived Monday afternoon and B was super excited as we had expected delivery on Tuesday.  There were 36 colors, each in their own little zipper bag. They looked like little packets of taffy, soft and fluffy.

Monday evening B came to show me his first creation - a s'more.  "I even got the textures right!" 

I am a s'mores connoisseur.  I have an extensive s'mores Pinterest board.  I'm here to tell you that B's clay s'more did look like an actual s'more. I was very impressed. 

Ryan got home a little while later and I went to ask B to show Ryan his s'more.  "I already took it apart".  I guess he wasn't as impressed as I was. I would have kept that s'more forever.  But B's not like that, he's gotta keep moving and creating.  Always creating! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Thank you YouTube

I have a love hate relationship with YouTube.  YouTube is like the girl with the girl in the middle of her forehead - when she is good, she is very, very good and when she is bad, she is horrid.

B-man has learned a lot of cool things through YouTube and YouTube kids. He knows all about Figurative Language and a host of other stuff that I don't even understand.  He's also learned some choice words and lord knows what else.

What really gets me are the 'review' or theory videos he watches.  Usually these center around a video game that's appealing to kids like Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog. It's usually created by a grown sounding man who tells about some off the wall theory about the characters or walks you through the game.  The disturbing part is that this dude throws around some pretty colorful language - for no reason.  The video isn't fundamentally changed, just the kid watching it.  I do not get it. 

Any who...last week I experienced the awesome part of YouTube.

Almost every morning, I do my Bible Study and Prayer Time then load the dishwasher.  Last Monday morning I started the dishwasher before I left for work and it was making a buzzing noise.  It sounded weird but I didn't think much about it. When I got home one of the lights was blinking on it. Ryan said it had been stuck at 70 minutes and humming so he opened it. 

I looked inside. The dishes were dirty but the detergent pod was out of the compartment.  I tried to start it again and the same thing happened.  Then I opened it and went to baseball.  We had baseball Tuesday night too so it sat that day.

In the meantime I was searching the internet for help.  Did you know there's some websites were you can ask appliance people questions and they help you fix stuff?  And you can see how they've helped other people too.  Seems cool but I couldn't figure out how much it cost and I wasn't willing to jump in without a set price. 

By Wednesday night I had two theories: there was something clogging up the fan or the motor was out.  I was inclined to believe it was the fan because I felt like the motor wouldn't go from 60-0. Surely it would die a slow death.  Also, the motor fix involved pulling the dishwasher out of the cabinet and buying a new motor. The installation of the motor didn't seem too bad, though.  Cleaning out the fan just involved taking stuff apart and cleaning. 

That's what I did.  I started taking stuff a part.  The designer of my dishwasher sucks because almost every screw is different so it took 4 different screwdrivers to get everything off.  That's unnecessary.  During this process I found a big shard of plastic, part of a baby bottle and 'girl colored' legos.  I assume this stuff has been there a while since we've not had a baby or a girl in this house.  I'd also like to believe if something came out of the dishwasher missing a big shard, I'd have sense enough to the look for the missing part. 

I also cleaned out a lot of paper. We have curbside recycling and you have to wash stuff before you recycle it or they throw it away instead of recycling it. We don't also get the label all the way off, or let's be real - off at all, before we wash it. 

Then I used my 4 different screwdrivers and put everything back together.  I started the washer and prayed.  It started! I was so relieved.  I cancelled the test run and replaced the racks and ran a full cycle. 

Worked like a charm, thank you YouTube!