Today I did something which I have not done for a very long time…. I baked banana bread. Now I realize that this is not some profound activity. My making of banana bread will not alter the events in the world or even be remembered by anyone. However, it has had an impact on me for two reasons. The first reason is that I pulled out my hometown cookbook to find the recipe which took me down memory lane as I recalled the people whose name appeared with the different recipes. The second reason is that I baked for the first time in a long time which is something I used to love to do with my mother and shortly after college. I had stopped baking and cooking because life became hectic and there was someone else in my home who did these activities.
The reason that I share this with you today is due to the memories and the sense of joy that returning to this past activity has brought to me. Sometimes in life we become distracted by the new activities and new demands on our lives. This can lead to us abandoning some activities which brought us joy in the past. I think that when this occurs, we lose out on a piece of our life that can bring meaning to our lives. Thinking of this actually brings some sadness into my heart. However, when we resume such an activity, we can regain the joy. The memories bring happiness to our hearts. The connections are recalled. We can relive some of our previous life.
I encourage you today to take some time to think about some of the things which you used to do but are not doing any more. Why did you discontinue the activity? Can you resume the activity even for a short time? How might you return to your past and bring the joy into your present?
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This morning as I was working away on my to-do list, the electricity unexpectedly went out. Well, that is not actually true. There was a loud bang and then the electricity was gone. I investigated the loud bang and determined that everything around the house and neighborhood appeared fine. However, since it was light out, I did not realize that there was no electricity until I discovered that I did not have an internet connection. This discovery led me to where the router is located and that is when I became aware that there was not electricity. Since my father was an electrician, I deduced that a transformer had probably blown and that was the reason for the loud bang followed by no electricity.
These events have caused me to consider how we often take things and individuals for granted until they are no longer there. When I realized I had no electricity and therefore, no internet, I realized how I could not do certain items on my to-do list quite as easily. Since I have a smart phone, I was able to do some of the items which I would normally do on the computer with that. However, the tasks were a bit more difficult to complete, and some could not be done at all. I mused to myself how I take electricity and the internet for granted.
I think the same can be said about individuals in our lives. We all assume that family members are always going to be there. We may put off placing phone calls or going to see someone because we are just too busy. It is only after the person is no longer with us or a great distance has been placed between us that we realize how we have taken the person for granted. Whether it is seeking advice, wanting to hear their voice, or just wanting to spend time with them, when that is not possible, we realize what we have lost.
So today, I remind all of my readers to be very careful about what you take for granted. The loss of electricity was a short but annoying inconvenience; there are more impactful people and items which we do not realize their value until they are gone.
Over the last few weeks I have had the joy of reconnecting with some friends and some regular contact with some friends from my last location. It is always a joy to know you have friends. So today, I share with you a song to remind you all the greatness of friendship.
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For those of you who are leaders, let me tell you how vitally important your role is in whatever organization that you lead. There are many times leaders feel that they work goes unnoticed. I would say that this does occur at times. A leader can easily become discouraged when it appears that they are not able to make much of a difference. So let me start this post by saying to you, do not feel you are not having a positive impact. An organization without leadership is an organization which is bound to fail.
I have recently become acutely aware of this reality. I am observing an organization which is currently without a central leader. This organization is going through challenges which is somewhat normal when a leader is not present. Whenever this occurs, there are a few ways the organization can go. The key to the future success of the organization is which choice the members make. Right choices will allow sustainability until a new leader is identified. Wrong choices can easily spell doom for the organization.
One of the choices in responses could be that there is a division of leadership and people carry through on their commitments. This choice can be successful in the interim. The key to this choice is clear division of responsibilities, consistent communication, and trust. Those who take on the various leadership roles must be given the freedom to exercise their judgment. The members must be willing to follow a variety of leaders and honor their leadership in their specific areas. The benefit to this approach is a sharing of responsibility and an effort to lighten the load.
Another choice which can be made is for one leader to emerge as a temporary leader until a more permanent leader is identified. The benefit to this approach is that one person is guiding the organization and all members know who to turn to with suggestions, concerns, and problems. The key to this choice is trust. The members must trust that the temporary leader will use wisdom in her/his guidance. The members must then follow that guidance.
A third choice of response would be for no defined leadership to be empowered but instead everyone does what he/she thinks is best. This often leads to confusion, bickering and power-struggles. In the vacuum of leadership, various individuals try to assume control and yet no one follows. There is no one to work toward compromise. Disagreements and resentful feelings become the order of the day. Continued fracturing will lead to the ultimate demise of the organization. The organization truly becomes a rudderless ship.
So leaders, realize what a very important role you play in an organization. Members, think carefully about how you choose to respond when you are in a period without central leadership.
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Today I was thinking about the discovery of boats which have sunk to the ocean floor many years ago. Have you ever watched a show on television which documents the discovery of one of those vessels? Once the vessel is discovered, it takes a long time to bring parts of the vessel and its contents to the surface. Even when the items are brought to the surface, there is a painstakingly slow process of removing all the sediment, barnacles, and effects of being underwater from each item. Yet, the end result is a restoring of the beauty and detail of each of those items.
As I was considering all of this, I began to think about how this can be said of many people. Over time, each of us takes on the dust and crud of life. Each person and event which touches our lives adds its own mark and leaves a residue. More and more lingering aspects of life attach to us so that we have layer upon layer, much like those items discovered with sunken boats in the ocean. These layers add weight to us and can hide the beauty and details of who we were originally created to be.
So it becomes important to take time to remove the layers. Like the removal of the ocean effects on sunken treasure, this process can take a lot of time. At times, the process can hurt. Yet, if we pursue in doing this work, the true beauty and nature of ourselves will be able to be seen. We will once again remember how wonderfully we have been created. We will be reminded of who we truly are and what we have to offer to others. Our self will shine forth with a luster which dazzles ourselves and others.
My encouragement to all of you is to make sure you take time to remove the layers of life which cover you. Let your truly amazing self be restored and shine forth.
My recent move has given me the opportunity to sort through many boxes, files, and possessions. I can say that while I do not find this type of work enjoyable, I am somewhat grateful for the push to do something which I should do on a much more regular basis. My task as I go about this work is to determine one of the following: should I keep it, should I store it, or should I throw it away. (Hence, the reason for the title of today’s post.) For some items, this is a very easy sort but for others it becomes much more difficult.
This process has led to a variety of discoveries….
- I need to do a purging of items on a much more regular basis
- I need to do a better job of discerning what is important and what is not.
- I need to move toward electronic storage of more items at much quicker pace.
- There are treasures which I forgot I even had.
- My shredder is older than I thought.
- I am more sentimental than I care to admit.
- I may suffer from a mild case of OCD.
- The item you take to storage suddenly becomes the item you wish you had at the house.
- This process takes much longer than is desirable.
- You sometimes have to create a mess to clean up a mess.
- There will be light at the end of the tunnel and if you get through more boxes, there will no longer be a tunnel.
Like many things in life, this type of work can teach you a lot. I would like to hear from you, my readers, about your experiences in a process like this. Also, if you have any tips on how to reduce possessions, please feel free to pass those along.
Last, I want to share the song with you that is now running through my head because of this post.
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Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to complete a task if you have someone to do it with you? Today there was a task which needed to be completed at the house. It was a task that could easily be done by one person, in fact, that is usually the case. But today two of us worked on the task together. When we were done I realized how much easier the task seemed. I also was pleased with how less time was needed to complete the task.
Now, all that I have shared may seem obvious. However, I think that often times we forget the benefits of doing tasks with others. So we choose to grumble about doing the task and spend much more time completing it. There is little wisdom in doing some tasks alone. In addition to making a task less burdensome, another benefit is that you are able to spend time with another person which is always a positive. If you are the one who initiates the work, ask another person to join you in its completion. If you are the person who is not responsible for the task, ask the one who is if you could help them. Both of you will benefit in the long run.
My challenge for all of my readers today is to share the work. Identify opportunities for you do to tasks with another. I promise you, it will make your work much more enjoyable.