Good intentions or not, they're all mine

Today’s topic was designated “intentions” last week. I’ve known about this all week and I’ve been pondering the topic for the entire 7 days – I seriously intended on writing sooner. It was in no way intentional that I would end up writing at 9:45pm when I knew all week what I was supposed to be dealing with. No, I’m not trying to be funny either.It’s silly this week turned out this way.

It’s just the way things go I suppose.

Yesterday I had every intention of being on time for my son’s first baseball practice of the season. I’m consistantly late where ever I go.. sometimes I try hard to be on time than others. yesterday was one of those days. We were heading to a new field so I made sure to pile in all the kids with more than enough time to make it at 6:30pm. Little did I know that the exit from the highway had construction going on all around it. I missed the exit, and had to continue on to the next closest exit, another 15 minutes away… each way.


I intend to do a lot of really great things. Most days I just intend to do something, complete one thing, like a load of laundry from start to finish or a full phone call without forgetting the things I wanted to say. Rarely happens that way no matter how important or high a priority anything was when I first thought of it. I’ve gotten used to this and so have the majority of the people that have known me for a while. new comers, well, they’ll learn soon enough. For me, not necessarily following my intended path is a good thing.

I’ve learned to adapt, bend, go with the flow. I’m flexible for the most part. I have standards and views I’ll stick by like old gum on the bottom of a shoe… but plans and schedules and exact visions, I can handle abandoned intentions. Sometimes my best intentions that are forgotten or over-ruled turn into very happy sidetracks of greatness. Serendipity is a favorite word in my world… because happy accidents are often times the result of welcoming a change of plans.

My main thought on the topic of intentions…

It’s good to have them, better if you can carry them out every once in a while. Yet really, it’s definitely good to have intentions or what would your goals grow from?

Finding Fair… is it over there?

Today’s topic is “Finding Fair” and I’m having a very difficult time finding some kind of a consistent pulse for my perspective on the subject.

“Life ain’t supposed to be fair!”, comes to mind first and that’s not really where I want my mind to be. So I have to step back and think about what fair means. Really, what does it mean to be “fair”. And who determines the fairness factor and whether we’ve reached it?

As a parent, “fair” might be the balance in the middle of two siblings. Yet, if you change any one variable in the equation that is supposed to result in fair, the result changes. Who gets more video game time and what’s fair about which games they play. Or who gets how much of the cake, not to mention who gets to pick what flavor it is… or do I just make one flavor for each child and is that fair to me. It’s all perspective.


Fair is really how we see it.

The more I think about it, the more aggravating fair appears. Usually, whatever is fair to one person, may not quite seem the same to someone else. My 13 year old doesn’t think its fair that he has to wash all the dishes all the time. I, however, don’t think its fair if it were left up to me to buy all the groceries, make all the meals and wash all the dishes when there are 5 bodies in the house… most of them capable of helping out. So what’s really fair and who decides? In the end, I decide what is done, fair or not.

The bottom line is learning to compromise without completely short changing yourself or even worst, leaving yourself out all together. Saying that, however, I really don’t like the stereotypical views of compromising. To me it seems like too many people give in and call it a compromise. That’s not compromising at all. That’s one person winning while another loses, but maybe only if they feel they have lost. Compromising is about both sides winning… a little. Teaming playing is more the theme. “You take the right and I’ll take the left and we’ll meet in the middle” is how fair should be and how compromising really is supposed to work.

This all goes back to the preschool lesson of sharing. Fair is about sharing. Compromise is about sharing. Sharing the work load, sharing the burden, sharing the expected outcome. I don’t mean sharing as in agreeing. I mean sharing as in dividing up the cake… or the mud pie if that’s what it turns out you’re dealing with.


So maybe finding fair is about learning to understand, appreciate and work with the expectations of others and sharing in the process to find an outcome that everyone involved likes… or at least isn’t unhappy with.

Art: Perspective and Ying Yang Hug

Pay yourself first

With so many tasks to complete and so many ideas I want to start, it’s often difficult to point out to myself which tasks are directly related to my paycheck. It seems everything I spend time on will have an impact or has a potential for an impact. However, when I really break it down, only a few are immediately associated with the stream of actual tangible income.

pay yourself first panda by jgoode

Really, is the topic today about financial issues and earning incoming?
No, not for me.

In times like these, where money is tighter and sales aren’t necessarily growing, it is indeed important to focus on where the money is coming from – do the tasks that will result in the best (not necessarily largest or fastest) return. However, for me the emotional bank account is what seems to be taking the greatest hit.

I am finding that the more people I worry about and the more tasks I assign myself, the less I’m taking care of myself. Really, we’re supposed to take care of ourselves first, right? How is that possible when we have kids and spouses and extended family and friends and associates and colleagues and even the new unknown people we are trying to connect with… all around us… all the time? The answer isn’t “take some alone time” nor is it “shorten your list”, all of these people and things I do are my inspiration and my brainfood – they are truly my happiness.

You are my happiness.

sad panda by jgoode

Yet there are days I feel like the one alone in the middle of the crowd.
Why is that? Well, I have a theory…

All of these people I surround myself have their own set of needs and tasks and others they too need to take care of. I can ask for assistance or recognition or whatever I need, all day long, but I am the only one that is capable of knowing what I need at any given moment. If I am spending all my time worrying about what everyone else needs, I’m not listening to myself — so how can I expect anyone else to?

I’m not sure either, but I do it anyway.

I rely on others, especially family, to listen, pay attention and offer what I need to feel important in the circle. When they don’t – from my perspective – come through, I feel let down and then disappointed or forgotten.. and usually unimportant which then turns into a feeling of wondering if they really love me anyway. How draining. So how do I fix this? I’m not quite sure. My instinct says if I do for me first, I’m being selfish, but my gut says if I don’t do for me first… who will? I think the right answer is, its a fine balance and we should be able to expect from others, but on their terms, not ours.

This is not an easy concept for me to accept.

I’ve said for years, when you love someone, you need to love them how they need it, not how you think they need it. Yet, I need to learn to take care of myself with what I know I need yet also learn to accept what I receive is the gesture I am looking for, just not in the packaging I expected. I think in reality there is a middle ground – we need to love others as they need it, yet we need to appreciate the love as we are given as well – give them the same value.

hugging panda by jgoodeWhere is this middle ground and how do you find your own comfort sitting there? I don’t have an answer for that either.

So for today, I’ll just work on paying myself first –

Patience, my missing virtue

A virtue, according to the dictionary is, a good or admirable quality or property or conformity of one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles. So “patience is a virtue” would mean that I’m conforming to patience being a part of my daily life. Or maybe I could be admired for having such a grand quality as patience.


Don’t worry, I am not patient, you don’t have to admire me today and I’ve never been one to conform to much of anything for very long. “Conforming” reminds me of the plastic vacuum mold making I did in 7th grade techarts class. Patience, however, is one of my never-ending battles. Some days I can hold my composure and be calm and understanding, yet my family will laugh and remind the world that more times than not I fly off the handle at the smallest irritants. I know I’m capable of patiently seeing the whole picture, but sometimes an innocent comment just hits me the wrong way. I don’t mean to be so short fused. This is one attribute I’d love to say I have more of – I’m even willing to conform. Patience, for me really is a missing virtue.


So what is it about patience that is so difficult for so many?

I think “patience” can be applied to some facets of our lives while not to others. I am more than capable of sitting for hours creating something, patiently waiting for “paint to dry”. I’m so patient with time frames for things that I tend to be late 75% of the time. Yet, when it comes to communication or waiting for others to do their part in a group effort… I’m not so patient.

What do you think is the magic that allows some to endure and be calm? What does it really mean to learn patience… I mean really, how does it all work?


I challenge you to a bigger patience goal:
I will try and remember to stop and breath a minute more before I react. Let’s see how our list of virtues look in a month or so…

Wear red today and get a love button for shouting it out!

Today, Feburary 6th 2009, is National Wear Red Day, an event promoted by the American Heart Association with support from companies around the country as well as thousands of people just like yourself. The idea is to wear red to help raise awareness of the dangers of women’s heart disease…

Every minute, someone’s mother, daughter, wife or sister dies from heart disease and stroke in the United States.”

So pull out whatever red you have today and wear it. Take the Heart Check-upDonate if you can and Shout out to everyone you know to help spread the word.

In addition to my shout out to wear red today, I’m offering a special series of “love buttons” this year. If you comment here on my blog or my facebook page, you can get your own love button for free. Yes, absolutely no cost to you – AND I will donate 1.00 to the American Heart Association.


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Proceeds from these items are donated to the American Heart Association.

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Art by Jen Goode

Never know who you'll meet

I tend to meet people everywhere I go. Whether it’s introductions by friends or just starting conversations with the person sitting next to me on the plane. I like people and I like meeting new people, and although there have been times in my life I’ve been more of a recluse and shy, I always enjoy the people around me.

Over the years I’ve learned, you never know who you’ll meet and there’s no telling when or where those meetings will occur. Who you are, how you present yourself, in every facet of your life determines many of the variables involved with these opportunities

Example 1

I am actively involved with a huge community of online marketers and entrepreneurs. I didn’t, however, discover these people all on my own. About 3.5 years ago, a woman posted a message on a mailing list I was subscribed to. She was asking for programming help for a project she wanted to start. I wasn’t looking for work, nor had I spoken with this woman before. I let curiosity get the best of me, the project sounded intriguing and like something I could easily help with. So, I responded and it went from there. Since then, we have become fantastic friends. She’s introduced me to an entire world I didn’t know existed.


We never did work on that programming project.

Example 2

A few summers ago I went to a lunch meeting with a group of people I had never met. I wanted to start mingling with internet professionals closer to home and this group was just people I was looking for. I found out about the group from a friend that lives down in Florida, yet knows the man here in Colorado. While at this meeting we all introduced ourselves, said a little about who we were and what we did. I said my piece and listened as the conversation moved around the “circle”. When the introductions reached a woman who had stopped in for lunch on her way home to Arkansas, she looked right at me and announced how much she loved my work and she had been following my progress for quite a while. I was speechless and over joyed!


My favorite and most unexpected example story…

Over the years I have supported Breast Cancer fund raising in a variety of ways. I’ve sponsored various people involved in BCA walks or donated to different organizations to help support the cause. A few years ago I heard of two women who were walking – I knew of both of them, yet didn’t know either well. Because of my knowledge of who they were and what they did I got involved to support. Then just this last year, I asked if they were walking again and could I join the effort. The team grew to about 12 men and women, most of whom I didn’t know at all previously. Since that experience I have gained so many more fabulous friends.


I also met a family on my flight to the event that lives just an hour from me (the walk was in Seattle, I’m outside of Denver) – the husband was walking for his wife and the children were traveling along so they could all experience the event together. We’ve been building a friendship through facebook ever since. I hope to support them on their efforts to walk this year in Colorado.

More example snippets of people we meet

I’ve connected with people via Twitter – introductions that seemed to start out of thin air, yet I’ve gained new friends and colleagues from mini lines of communication. I’ve run across names I haven’t heard in a decade to find we have kids of the same age and our lives have followed a similar path. No idea we would have so much in common as life progressed. I’ve made connections in two directions only to find out that both sides know one person in the middle.. talk about full circle relationships.

I could write all day with examples I’d love to share. People I’ve met and become friends with through the most unexpected circumstances.

The idea that these examples all have in common

The opportunity for a new connections can happen anywhere, at any time, for any reason. Many times not related to what you are really doing. You will never know what you’ve said or done that inspires someone to speak (or not to speak) with you. How friendly do you appear to others? Do you intimidate or invite? How open are you to something new, someone different and the unexpected connection?

For me, I am the same person right here on paper as I am if we met in the grocery store or crossed paths at a conference. Part of that is my inability to stay organized enough to have different personas. But really, for me, what it comes down to is… I am just me and that’s the best I can be.


If you want to connect with me, leave a comment below, follow me on twitter, or say hello on facebook. I’m always around and delighted have a happy hello thrown at me!

A new comment system, converting to Disqus

For a while now I’ve been inviting comments to the design and product section of this website via a fabulous service called Disqus. I have been looking into adding that same system to this blog space, and finally got to work and completed the task today. You may not notice much difference, all the original comments are in tact and displayed. However, for me, the admin and ability to get involved in the conversation is fabulous! I am hoping I can talk with you all more as you bring up various topics.. so yes please, jump in and say something!

Now I’m going to get a little techie on you. If you don’t currently have a blog, and especially a WordPress blog, please continue on to your regularly scheduled day — of course, after you a leave a happy comment below.

Also, a little tutorial…

I’d like to share the process I took to add Disqus to my wordpress blog, as the directions on the site were a bit outdated for what is available, and I ended up having to dig around a bit to figure out how to make things work. It’s easy.. I promise!


As of this writing, I am using WordPress 2.7 and the Disqus plugin, version 2.03-3166.

1. Backup your current WP database for safe keeping.

2. download the Disqus plugin

3. Upload the entire folder to your WP plugins directory on your website. the Disqus files should be in their own folder

4. Activate the plugin via the WP admin area.

5. Continue on to configure the plugin – you will be asked to enter your username and password so your comments sync correctly. Do this to ensure the ability to convert all your original comments to the Disqus system.

6. Choose “Advanced Options” in the Disqus admin (in your WP admin, not the Disqus site). You should see a Disqus key that was auto entered when you did step 5. Now scroll down to the import option.

Importing takes a little bit of time to process, be patient.

And voila, there you go, all done. Piece of cake, right?

Now you should be able to not only manage the comments on your own site, but via the admin you can start following all the Disqus conversations you get involved with.

Happy chatting!