Take a Minute – You Might be Surprised Who Can Teach You a Lesson

Every Friday that Mike’s family is in town (and not traveling to Auburn for a football game), we get together at a local Mexican restaurant for dinner. Sometimes there may be as many 16 people or more.They have been meeting like this on Friday nights for over 20 years. As you probably can guess, the number has grown over the years. The restaurant is always very gracious in making room for all of us, and I can’t think of a time where we’ve had to wait more than a few minutes. They also work hard to bring us our food very quickly.and take good care of us.

It’s always a good time, and the nachos are probably the best I’ve ever had. I find it a sweet time with family, visiting and catching up on our week. As a matter of fact, I find it a little disappointing when we aren’t getting together. The last two weeks, Mike’s great niece, a precious 6 year old, honored me when she arrived and asked to sit next to me. I’m sure it’s not because she wanted to visit with me, but because she wanted to play with my hair! Last week she told me just how she wanted me to wear my hair this past week. Of course I made sure I wore it just as she’d requested because I don’t want to miss an opportunity to ‘hang with her.’

All of the kids usually ask for someone’s smartphone and spend a lot of time playing games or watching videos while the adults do their thing…chatting and catching up with each other. This week she had someone’s phone and I found her watching videos. The first video I saw made me laugh. It was so funny – I said to Mike ‘these are videos of people with blindfolds, doing yoga. She was quick to let me know – but very sweetly – that I was wrong and she asked me to look a little closer. And she was right. It was a video of two blindfolded folks, and each of them had a fish tank in front of them. There were various things in the tanks – some of them floated and some of them were on the bottom. Each person was racing to be the first to identify all of the items. When I really looked carefully, it was even funnier than I originally thought it was. Because it was quite specialized, I wondered how she found that video. Before the video ended, our food arrived and she very carefully set the phone down to eat her dinner. I might add she has great table manners, especially for someone her age!

Once she finished dinner, she picked up the phone to start watching new videos. She later let me know she was waiting for me to finish my dinner so she could play with my hair. She watched a few, and once I finished my dinner I leaned over to see what see was watching. She was trying to find one at that moment, and I watched to see what she was going to watch and how she would find it. I was ready for her to ask me to help her search Google to find what she was looking for – but as it turns out, she didn’t need my help at all. She pressed the home button on the phone and she said – and I repeat – exactly this: ‘Siri show me videos of puppies,’ and within just seconds there were more videos than I could count. She carefully chose one (of course I leaned in to see if the video was actually going to be one of puppies!) Just as she’d asked, the first video was a short video of puppies playing. And the next one was a video of puppies as well. Puppies

Here’s the thing – I’ve never been a big fan of Siri, and I’ve have asked for her assistance less than a handful of times. After my experience with this dear 6-year-old, I might need to use Google a little less. I was impressed that it only pulled up exactly what she asked, with no sorting needed.

So all weekend, I found myself fighting the urge to ask Siri to find videos of puppies for me…was there something I’d missed in what she said? Finally at breakfast this Monday morning, I couldn’t hold out any longer. I pressed the home button on my phone and asked Siri to show me videos of puppies and just as she’d asked, there were those puppies for me, and the first one was the one she’d watched. How ‘bout that? Of course I had to try it with another request – I asked for videos of Giraffes, and within seconds there were videos of Giraffes! You might have noticed I really like them! Yes, I think I might be asking for Siri’s help a little more.

Remember when it was the adults who were teaching the kids? We were even the ones who would pull up the videos for them. On this night, it was that sweet girl who pulled up the videos for me. The takeaway for me? We can learn something at anytime from anyone. Thank heavens I was open and ready to help her, however she helped me and I learned something that night. So in closing, why don’t you give it a try? ‘Siri show me videos of puppies (or anything that interests you fill in the blank).’ And when those videos come up, remember – this all started with a sweet 6 year old.

Passing along a kind word – or just passing?

A couple of weeks ago, we ran into Publix early in the morning for just a few things. We had a great parking spot right up front and center. As luck would have it, our battery refused to start when we came out. I know, I know – our battery didn’t really care how many things we were there to get, but on quick trips or stops, it just doesn’t seem right for our cars to give us a little trouble.

Anyway…we immediately reached out to roadside assistance, and they were wonderful. And then the wait began. While we waited, the spot in front of us opened up, so we decided to lift the hood of the car. We hoped that if anyone wanted to pull in, they would see we were waiting for assistance and leave that spot open for the help that was coming. It was really early, and we were not keeping folks from the only prime spot. (At that hour, there were lots of spots!)

After a few minutes, a guy pulled into the spot right next to us and without hesitation came right over. In the kindest and most sincere way, he asked if there was anything he could do to help us out. We let him know that help was on the way. When he came out after his short trip in, he asked again. Shortly after that, a woman pulled up with some little girls. When she got out of her car, she made the joke that ‘this was not a good way to start the day.’ She was very sweet and so were her little girls – they made sure to say hi to us, too.

We sat there for just under an hour. Quite a few folks spotted us, but walked right by – oddly, three of them were actually Publix employees and they never even acknowledged us! (How is it that none of the Publix employees that were walking by didn’t at least ask if we had help on the way?) However, four sweet shoppers went out of their way see if they could help us out. Those are the folks I remember very clearly. (If I had to, I bet I could even remember what they were wearing.) They stopped to take that minute from their busy schedules and check in with us as they saw our trouble. In my mind, their kindness still sticks with me…even today.

When we seize the moment to offer a kind word, or even make a funny remark, others appreciate it and it stays with them. Sometimes, we don’t have to chase down an opportunity to shine a little goodness on someone – the opportunity just presents itself.

I think it’s important to remember that, in a tough moment for someone else – whether we know them or not – an offer to help out or even a kind word might stay with them, and you might not even realize it, but the goodness resonates.

How ‘bout today we keep our eyes open? If an opportunity crosses our path, let’s not let it pass. It could seem like nothing to you, but it could be a moment that sticks with those you come across for a while, or even makes their day.

How about instead of passing on an opportunity, we pass a kind word or just a smile? Let’s keep the goodness flowing!

There’s No Expiration Date on Goodness

So I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus for a variety reasons. Stay tuned and I’ll share with you some of what’s been going on. But that’s for later. While I’ve been carefully plotting and planning my return, I had an experience earlier this week that really blessed me! I’ve decided to make it my first official post as I end my hiatus.

Without further ado…

Earlier this week, I attended a dinner with the Señor who was our Spanish teacher in high school. While I never took Spanish, I knew him because our high school was fairly small; I had classes in the rooms next to his. But I had lots of friends who took Spanish. (I took Latin and French)

This all came about because one of our friends from school posted on Facebook that she was coordinating a dinner. She asked us to RSVP. As soon as we saw the post, the two of us in my house said without hesitation to count us in! It was a few weeks away, but it seemed like forever. As each week passed, I became increasingly more excited!

Of course, we were the first ones there (we are always early). We initially ran into one of the guys in the parking lot he was early for this reunion as well. Now keep in mind Señor hasn’t seen us in a very long time. He came right over before we could get to him, arms wide open for each of us individually. He was quick to say he recognized Miguel, as that’s how he’d always referred to Mike. Of course he did – Mike looks much the same as he did back then, and pretty good, I might add.

Since we were the first ones to arrive, we had him all to ourselves, and the conversation began! There was no uncomfortable silence or standing around, not knowing what to say or do. We all knew how to lean in to each other and just started sharing as the years melted away.

It was only a matter of minutes before all of the other folks arrived, and we all had to give each other a hug. Just a simple hello wasn’t enough. Even though we all graduated in different years we lived in the same area. Many of us have known each other for a very long time. (Our high school was 8th-12th grades). We still have a tie that binds us in community.

Even though the dinner was in his honor, our Señor showed up with a gift for each of us. (I have a hard time calling him our teacher because he was and is so much more than that). Candidly, I felt bad that I hadn’t brought anything for him because I had thought about it. He pulled out an envelope with a picture of a map on one side with pictures on the other side. He had one for every one of us – not just a few. The map had signatures of all of our high school teachers, one they’d given him when he received his citizenship many years ago, and on the flip side were a couple of pics of him. I liked that he’d put his name over one of his photos. But of course we recognized him, as he’s made an indelible mark on our lives!

Somehow, with no planning of my own, I got the best seat in the house between Señor and Mike. Across from me sat a fella that I have known since kindergarten. And thanks to Facebook, reunions and most importantly, Words with Friends, we are still in touch today. I really enjoyed that the evening was a real group event. We had a big table and spent the evening in conversation and just basking in the goodness of each other and being together. I’ll spare ya all the details, but I could go on and on…and have, with some folks.

Before I knew it, the evening was coming to an end. When I looked at my watch, I was shocked at how much time we’d spent together because it felt like just a few minutes. We all agreed we’d do this again very soon – and I am confident we will!

I was so excited about the evening that I believe I talked Mike’s ear off on the ride home. I then had to call my dad and tell him about the get together. Before we hung up, I also had to say thank you. I had to thank him for where he and mom chose to raise my sister, brother and me.

I woke up this morning still basking in the goodness and feeling so grateful and blessed for such a sweet evening, and the community that is such a blessing to me.

As I wrap things up today I want to remind you that there’s no expiration on memories, good times and plain goodness! So take a minute to think about a friend, family member, or group of friends and just lean in, whether it’s with a call, a note, a text or whatever works for you. You never know what’s in store when you do. I’ll bet there’s goodness just around your bend – will you lean in, or miss out?

Look Up, Look Around, Reach Out

One important life lesson reiterated at D23 is don’t keep your head buried in your electronics. Look up, check out what’s going on around you…you never know who you might see or even have the honor of chatting with.

And while I certainly have my head in my electronics more than I should, I did try to take a minute – or a few – to check out all that was going on around me there. I certainly was blessed by it! While waiting for the Legends presentation to begin, I had the brief opportunity to have a quick chat with Marty. (I will link to my post about him.) I also met Tom Nabbe -he was very friendly, and I think he was wearing one of the best ties I’ve seen in a while.

On several other occasions I saw some other celebrities as well and even made some new friends. But of course, this lesson holds true even outside of D23.

Earlier this week we went to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast. I am very guilty of spending breakfast catching up on the morning news. I did take a minute to look up, however, and I saw a girl milling around in the ‘to go’ area. When one of the fellas from the back came out and saw her, he ran over to her and gave her the biggest hug. They stood there for a little while talking and kept hugging – and he kept saying ‘it’s so good to see you.’ She also would lean in and say ‘I’ve missed you.’ I found myself just focused on them…and I was even moved. It was just so sweet! After a little while, I walked over and asked them how they knew each other. I told them that I knew it was none of my business, but if they were comfortable with it, I was interested. (I had to give them an out, didn’t I? What if they hadn’t realized they were making a little bit of a scene?) The fella told me it was no problem. He said ‘I haven’t seen this girl since she quit working here and I miss her every day!’ I replied, ‘well you caught my eye and your chat just looks so sweet. It’s very obvious to an outside person that you guys care a lot about each other.’ Almost in unison they said ‘thank you.’ I apologized for interrupting but thanked them for being so sweet and open about it. They let me know it was really okay, and the guy said it worked to his benefit because he was going to hug the girl right then and wanted all to see! Now, while they might not have seen each other in a while (two weeks is what they said), it was clear that they loved each other and were very excited to have these few minutes together.

So here’s my question – or rather my challenge – for us. There’s a lot of ugliness going on in the world these days. Why don’t we take a minute and think about the folks we should be hugging or reaching out to? It was obvious that sweet girl came in just to see that fella. When he saw her, he made a wild dash to just put his arms around her and give her a hug. By the way, it was just a few minutes after 6am when this was happening. She had made a point to stop by when she knew he’d be there.

Let’s think about it – who is it that we should be reaching out to hug, or picking up the phone to call, or sending a note? I don’t know about you, but when I get that unexpected hug, call, text or note, it makes my day – sometimes my week. How about we agree together that, over the next week, we reach out to someone – even if it’s long past due – and let them know how much we appreciate or just plain love them?

As I conclude my D23 series, I have to close with a song, don’t I? I’ve been trying to find a way to share one of the songs from the Alan Menken presentation, and I think this is the perfect spot. He sang a few songs that I really enjoyed. But in true Disney fashion, I want to close this series with a song that I think best suits it.

Happy listening, and take joy this week in the goodness of reaching out!

Circle of Life

I have struggled a little bit with where to begin in sharing my journey through D23, but I’ve landed on the first presentation I attended: the Disney Legends presentation. As I mentioned previously, it is the place where Disney chooses to honor those folks who have made significant contributions to the The Walt Disney Company.

This year Disney chose to honor: Carrie Fisher, Clyde Geronimi, Whoopi Goldberg, Manuel Gonzales, Mark Hamill, Wayne Jackson, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Garry Marshall, Julie Taymor and Oprah Winfrey. While I was prepared to be moved (and I was – I even brought Kleenex with me), I was most touched by the speech from someone I’d never even heard of – Julie Taymor.

Julie’s contributions are primarily for adapting The Lion King for Broadway. Here’s a link to her acceptance speech (https://youtu.be/Tt7vQLX_lj4). It’s only a little over seven minutes long, so you might enjoy hearing it yourself. Not only had I not heard of Julie but I must stop and confess right here – I’ve never even seen The Lion King. As I started to write this, I went back and listened to her speech again and found myself in tears again. She shares a story in her speech that, even after I knew how it’s going to end, I found myself trying to keep from sobbing.

As many of you know, this has been a tough year for me – from losing Rainier, to some of the struggles with my health, and other losses. Julie’s story was a gentle reminder to me that, in spite of all of my challenges and loss, I have an amazing circle in my life. I have friends, family and even Rainier (still with me!) who love and support me, and I celebrate with those loved ones all of the goodness I get to enjoy today.

I encourage you to take a moment and celebrate your circle on this day. It takes a tribe to make us complete, so take a moment to stop and be grateful for yours.

I know it might seem cheesy but I thought it might be fun to share with you the closing performance of the Legends presentation. (because we have to close with a song) And in case you’re wondering, I will see The Lion King before this week closes. And who knows maybe even the Broadway version before the year ends.

Mad Marchness…make your mark

Here we are at the middle of March. Many of you have been referring to this time as March Madness. I tend to refer to it at Mad Marchness. This month has been a lot of fun for me, many of my friends, and even my family. And don’t you think it’s more fun to refer to all of the goodness that has come my way this month as Mad Marchness?

This month is also one that brings to mind many sweet memories. And one of my very fond memories comes from my grandfather. We had lots of fun to say the very least, and March 17th is his birthday. He is one of the people who’s made an indelible mark on my life, kinda like a Sharpie. What do I mean by that? If you think about it, it’s next to impossible to erase the mark made by a Sharpie. I’ve been blessed to have quite a few people who have made that kind of mark on me.

Most recently, my friend Parker has made that kind of mark on me. He’s a pretty special fella, ya know? I mentioned him recently, and how irresistible I’ve found him. Today I have Parker with us, and he wants to challenge us to seek out a Mad Marchness opportunity. Candidly, I can’t think of anyone better to inspire us. So without further hesitation, I bring you Parker…..

Ok are you are you up for it? Parker’s challenge is pretty easy, and will certainly be something your special person enjoys. How ‘bout we all take the opportunity and maybe make a little mark of our own?

Are you in? Let’s do this! Happy Mad Marchness!

 

Irresistibly…Inspiring

As I mentioned recently I’ve chosen inspire as my one word resolution this year. And in my mind, inspire goes both ways. While I hope I can be a source of inspiration to others, I also want to share some of the people and things that inspire me as we go through this year.

So… that said, over the last year I’ve met a little guy and his family who have been a real source of inspiration to me. I can’t think of a better fella and his family to begin with as sources of inspiration. Parker and his family are so much more than an inspiration to me – they have touched my heart in a mighty way. His family is a unique tribe of folks with big hearts, lots of goodness and a fantastic sense of humor. Oh and I almost forgot – they are also big Auburn fans!

However I would submit that this family is far more than an inspiration to me, and I am not sure they realize how far their influence truly reaches.

Parker is the little guy I am referring to. And he is a magnificent triumph of the Children’s Miracle Network. Here’s a little of his beginning:

Parker’s Story

Parker today is very much more than this video.

Candidly, I find myself struggling to find the right words to describe him. I find that this sweet 6 year old is absolutely irresistible! He has never met a stranger. On my first encounter with him, he made his way over very quickly and asked me my name. After that, I was part of his ‘gang’ that night. On my next encounter with his family, without any hesitation he reminded everyone of who I was. He has a heart that is as big as the sky, and warmer than toast. Oh and I almost forgot – he is a very serious Auburn fan too, and often begins or ends conversations with ‘War Eagle’!

Today I just want to give you a little bit of his story. Stay tuned, as he has offered to chat with us in the next week or so. And he has told me that he wants to give us our next opportunity but knowing him it’s more likely going to be a challenge to seek out. I for one cannot resist that!

 

One dream can change the world…

Here we are, a little over ½ way into this month. Are you going to join us in this experiment to choose one word as your New Year’s resolution? Have you chosen your word yet?

As you know I have chosen inspire as my word. Over the last 2 weeks, there have been quite a few folks who have and are inspiring me, and I will be sharing them with you in the coming weeks.

But today, I think might it be nice to stop and recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. He is someone who was very much inspired and was not afraid to stay the course, regardless of the consequences. One of his most famous quotes started with “I have a dream.”

His dream was his driving force – it changed the world, and continues to inspire, encourage and plant seeds of change today.

Have you chosen your one word? Who knows what it might bring about for you and maybe even outside your circle of family and friends?

The inspiration, passion and courage of Martin Luther King, Jr., continue to inspire and encourage people today. And while I’m sure he didn’t choose just one word, it all started somewhere for him. So why not start by joining in our experiment. You never know – one word could be the beginning of something that might inspire and encourage people for many years to come.

 

Still looking for a resolution for 2015? Think about this

And so a new year begins 

Often it can stir up questions for us:

  • What does the year have in store for me? The people I love?
  • What is it that you’re truly seeking?
  • Am I going to make any resolutions? If yes, then what are they?

And this list can go on for many folks

Well, I’d like to suggest a new type of resolution for you to consider. This kind of resolution you are certain to meet. The degree to which you meet it will be entirely up to you. It’s something that if you ‘drop off’ or forget, you can pick it back up with ease anytime during the year.

What am I talking about?

Recently someone mentioned to me that at the beginning of 2014 he had been challenged, instead of making a list of resolutions, to simply choose one word. Yep, that’s right – one word and only one word. So after careful consideration, decided to take the challenge. And the one word he chose was ‘buildup’. Without going into details, he found this experiment surprisingly successful. Not only was there ‘buildup’ in many areas of his life that he’d sought and wanted for some time, but he also discovered that there were a few things he needed to, or should, eliminate from his life and he achieved that as well. And finally, he also found positive buildup in areas he’d never even thought about.

So, how about this? Why don’t we take this challenge? Let’s take a little time to think about it and then choose that one word that would be just right for you – just one word. What word you choose is entirely up to you. You may or may not want to share your word with anyone – and that’s fine. And you may or may not want to jot down a starting place. Some might want to keep a journal (or not), while some of you might want to just wait until the end of the year to review your progress {last phrase is just a suggestion}.

I’ve decided I’m going to choose one word and take on this challenge and see what shakes out for me. I’m going to take the next day or so to settle on the word that I think is just right for me. And then, I’m going to go for it

Are you ready for the weekend?

Happy Friday friends, and so we head into our weekends. And this weekend, rather challenge you with an additional opportunity. I’m going to offer you a gentle reminder of our previous ones.  Wow, I really appreciate every single story you have shared with me. And if you’d like to share them with the rest of us that would be great. And if not, please continue to share them with me one on one.

Last night over dinner with a couple of friends, they asked me to offer up a gentle reminder of the previous opportunities I’ve posted.  So that said, how about we stay our course for this weekend?  However, I want to add a little twist.  How about if you find yourself as the one someone offers up a kind word to, be sure to take note of it and definitely say thank you. And remember –  it’s never too early or too late to count our blessings! 

If you are up for it, I’d love to hear your stories – whether you share them here, or shoot me a note directly. All that said, before we close today, I want to wish all of you a wonderful weekend! Make sure you check back next week, as I already have my challenges/opportunities brewing.

Thank you for stopping by today,

Robyn