A blessing lives on, with sadness

My mom died suddenly yesterday evening.

Jean was a month shy of 80. She had struggled with congestive heart failure for many years, and her ticker just quit ticking. She lived with chronic pain, so it’s sweet relief for her to be at the side of Jesus, who she devoted her life to.

She was a wonderful lady. Everyone who knew her loved her. She would make friends with anyone she came into contact with. The bank teller and Kenyan guy who worked at the gas station loved her. She was generous to a fault… over the top, sometimes. We (her kids) tried to get her to move to a more comfortable home, but she insisted on living in a humble one-bedroom apartment so she could give away money to those who needed it rather than “wasting it”.

Though it is with massive sadness that we say goodbye, her blessing lives on. I am hugely thankful for all she sacrificed for me and the wonderful lessons she gently taught me, my siblings, wife and kids.

I won’t be blogging for a while. I’ll be in Texas sorting things out with my sister who lives there and my brother.

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Where possible, add creativity

creative-tire

I had to stop when I passed this bicycle. What a cool tire!

The manufacturer could have stuck with a standard (boring) tread pattern but instead opted for this fun flower pattern, reflecting the pattern used on the fenders.

Takeaway: what are some ways you can add fun to what you create?

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Lookin’ for adventure

plane-view

So, I had about a half an hour before my plane started boarding. I decided to take the Skylink train all the way around DFW airport. I had no idea how long it would take, but I wanted to live dangerously (in a small way, anyhow).

It was a great ride! And totally free. How else would I have gotten such an amazing view of this plane?

Takeaway: how can you add some adventure to your life this week?

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Closed captioning for music

closed-caption

Most public places feature canned music that hits my ears at varying volumes. (The younger the target demographic, the louder the music.) Most of the time, it bears no connection with what I would choose to play, given the opportunity.

I propose that when entering an establishment, you would be given a bluetooth headset to hear what they are putting out. Or not. I would always refuse the headset — except maybe at Urban Outfitters.

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Real connection

zipper-connect

Last week I went to my organization’s home office for a business meeting. After the meeting, friends of almost twenty years took me to the airport for my flight back to Denver. We haven’t seen each other much since we parted, nearly 18 years ago. But our bond is still deep enough that we were able to cut right to the heart of our current joys and struggles. No discussions of what sports our kids play or what schools they attend. By the end we had some real solid material on which to pray for each other.

Who do you know like that? I hope there are similar friends in your current circle. Takeaway: how can you deepen your present-day relationships? I’d suggest opening up to those people in a deeper way than you have before. Be risky.

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Fun Friday picture

muslim-bicycle

Yes, Muslim men in Kenya ride bicycles. You should too, though I would suggest wearing clothes that are culturally appropriate for where you are. (I took this shot in May 2007.)

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Our blogs reflect our lives

paul-mirror

I know that’s so basic. What can you write about except what you’re familiar with? Even if your blog is a business blog, your viewpoint on biz matters reflects your life.

I have always tried to write about stuff that I find interesting — and have hoped that others find it interesting too. That works, at some level. The people who keep coming back to this humble blog are those who resonate with my material at some level. Maybe I think differently enough from you for my stuff to be intriguing. Or maybe you think, “Hey, I think like that too! There aren’t many like us.”

But one thing is sure — I can’t write posts to get the most hits. Others do that better than me.

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The hidden doctor

hidden-doctor

On the day Heather got her master’s degree, we saw a good friend from church. He was one of the esteemed faculty at the front of the room. We had no idea that he was a PhD — or that he was on the faculty of the University of Denver. And we have known him for more than seven years.

I was very impressed that he has held his academic credentials “close to his chest”. To him, the fact that he is “Dr. H…” is just not that important. His gentle wisdom and grace are reflective of his humility too. He commands respect by not demanding it!

Takeaway: what are some ways you can be humble today — without being obvious?

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Frustration with wanting perfection

stampscom

My family got me a lovely present for Christmas… custom design-my-own stamps from stamps.com. It took me a while to figure out which image to use. I finally settled on something from my Rubbish Art series.

So I got them back and they weren’t perfect. The image was offset, even though it had appeared perfectly via the stamps.com website interface. I thought I might send them back, but then I realized they probably wouldn’t get it right the second time. Then I thought of getting a refund. (It was easy enough to do.) In the end, Heather convinced me to keep them and use them.

So, my frustration? That I wasn’t happy with less than perfection. Being picky is sometimes a good thing. In this case it wasn’t.

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