Thursday, August 22, 2013

What Exactly Is A Deadline?

What exactly is a deadline? Obviously it's a given date or time when something is due or when a task should be accomplished. But it's more than that. It's a acknowledgeable statement of respect. It says 'Your time means something and I respect that.' It's a sign of values and integrity.

When I get a bill in the mail it tells me the amount I owe for a product or a service and tells me the deadline (when the bill is due). I acknowledge that, but why is it when the shoe is on the other foot and a credit needs to be issued to my account it can take days - even weeks. Suddenly my time isn't valued as much as theirs. Hmmm ... a double standard? Or is it 'just business'?

When you're given a deadline, whether it's a bill to be paid or a task that needs completing, do you try to meet the deadline? Sure ... things happen (to everyone) and sometimes deadlines get delayed, but do you try to meet your deadline? If you can't meet it, do you let someone know things will be delayed? Or do you just go on about your business and say 'Oh well'?

I think that when you give your word, shake a hand, or make a promise - you commit yourself. It should mean something. So why am I frustrated? Because I see people not use turn signals, not stop at stop lights, text when driving ... as if laws are an inconvenience for them, like they're too busy and too important to follow the same rules the rest of us are expected to follow.

I deal with paying a bill on time, check my bank records to see when the company cashed my check and then get a letter in the mail two weeks later saying I'm behind. Then I take the time to call to have them tell me, 'We show we received your check and your account is paid in full, so what's the problem?' 'What's the problem?' I reply. The problem is one department doesn't know what the other is doing and you act as if it's my fault for meeting my deadline! That's the problem.

So where do we go from here? I understand we're all human beings and we all make mistakes and miss deadlines. Do I lower my standards to meet others, so I don't get disappointed when people fall short? Or do I continue to care about what I do and how I act and just lower my expectations that respect should be a two-way street but the respect won't always be returned? Good question.

When was the last time you were disappointed in human nature and how did you handle it?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It Really Is A Small World

This has been a crazy busy week so far and it's only Wednesday. There've been stressful moments, chaotic moments, fun moments, and some entertaining ones too. There have been some late nights and some early mornings. My TO DO list seems to need a second page. Yesterday and today, though, I broke up the usual routine by adding in some fun things.

Last night I attended the Launch Party for the Macomb Regional Community Media Lab hosted by the Macomb Daily among others. They had a great turnout of nearly 140. I felt honored to be on the invitation list. There was a ribbon cutting ceremony, a display of local art, and several conversations with local journalists. The Media Lab is a wonderful new addition to our community and provides a variety of technological and journalistic support to area residents. No need to be a professional journalist, they are there to provide instruction and support to us all (which is great to hear for us novices). While meandering my way through the buffet line I met a woman and we chatted. She read about the opening in the newspaper and thought it would be a great opportunity to see what they had to offer. Throughout the course of our conversation we talked about her desire to possibly start a blog, about my existing blog, and about her passion as a master gardener. By the end of conversation we'd discovered that she belonged to a garden club run by a lady from my church whom I had written an article about in our church newsletter. We then talked about gardening and slowing down as we get older. She mentioned that one of the ladies in the garden club had recently hired a young college student to help her out in her garden. Ironically that young student is my daughter, Emily. It really is a small world.

Tonight we all attended a garden walk at the home of the lady from my church. She met my daughter and I met her husband. We were each introduced as the 'woman I met last night at the Launch Party'. Pretty ironic that out of the 140+ people in attendance last night we would meet each other.
The whole experience was just another reminder that even though the world is big, it really is small. When was the last time you had a chance meeting like this?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Embrace Your Inner Child

This week has been all about the youth; my church hosted VBS (Vacation Bible School) and today was our last day. There's been laughter, Band-aids for scrapes so small you'd need a magnifying glass, excited voices, penny wars between the boys and the girls for charity, and even a few tears. Tears because they missed mom and tears because they didn't want to leave when it was time to go. I've seen just about everything this week. I've seen the 'crazy hair day' with hair that stood a foot above their head, heads that had at least 12 pony tails, and the hair that was spray painted in many colors. We've had the 'wear the best hat you have day' and in honor of our Kingdom Rock theme we had a day when the kids could dress up as princesses and knights. One boy melted my heart when he walked in with homemade armor (he covered every inch of his football helmet in tinfoil, as well as the large box we wore as a shield.) He had to of been up all night creating his costume. He really did a great job.

Finishing up a week with kids is exhausting and definitely can make one yearn for a little quiet time on the back patio with a tall iced tea, but it can also make you smile. This week has been busy and noisy in my office, but it was also a welcome reprieve that I look forward to each and every year. It's a time when I can embrace my inner child, create superhero invisible Band-aids for the little ones, occasionally hold a baby or two while the moms are busy with the older siblings, and recharge. It's a week that when we watch the TV news and see all the bad stuff going on the world  - gives me a glimmer of hope for the future. It's weeks like this that get kids away from their video games, has them making new friends, and has them learning life lessons that can help shape their lives.

It really has been a GREAT week!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Is It Worth It To Worry?

The last week has been overwhelming, to say the least. My brain feels like it's been pulled in about 18 different directions. A lot has been going on; some good, some not so good. Today I came home from work with my annual 'first day of vacation bible school' headache. Don't get me wrong ... I love VBS week. The kids are full of energy, the festive decorations are amazing, the kids are mostly all happy (although there's usually at least 1 crier in the bunch), but what I'm not used to is the number of people that come through my office during the 3 hour span. I finish Day One and recap with the fact that no one got stung by a bee, no one got lost, no one got sick in my office, there were no parental issues to be concerned with, and I didn't get as much done as I normally would on a Monday. All par for the course and all expected.
But personally my past week has been exhausting. My daughter is busy preparing for music auditions and to go off to college at the end of the month. My son (the teacher) has been travelling across state lines for multiple job interviews (but I'm glad to report that just this afternoon he accepted an offer). I know people who are dealing with illnesses and surgeries; as well as relationship woes. What can I say, other than it's my nature to be a worrier. I've always been that way. I worry not because I'm expecting doom and gloom, but I worry because I can't shut my brain down. I think and think and then think some more. I think about the possible scenarios, the what ifs, and the potential changes. I suppose in some strange way I think that if I worry, it'll take some of the stress away from other people. Not sure where I came up with that justification. Doesn't really make much sense. Realistically it just means that we ALL worry. Pretty senseless on my part, but it must be part of my DNA because the trait has never gone away and has never gotten any better.
I worry about the timing for people, their deadlines, and their options. I don't mean to sound like I'm a meddler. I try not to get involved in other people's dilemmas and situations, but when it's family or friends you can't always help yourself. In the midst of everything life has thrown at us lately I do try to carve out a few quiet moments here and there to read, to escape, and to simply distract myself. It's common knowledge that I often renew my library books 2 or 3 times, because I can't find the time to finish a book, but am stubborn enough to still want to. Ironically I came across a passage in my current book where a mother commented when asked how she liked her new freedom now that her daughter was grown. She responded in part with, "I don't know yet. So far, I still miss making sure she's okay. I miss talking to her several times a day. I still worry that she's going to do something and I won't be there to see, and that she'll need me but I won't be there. Once a mother, et cetera."
Hmmm, so maybe it's not so much about being a worrier, maybe it's more about being a mother and a parent. How do you handle the worries, the stress, and the endless 'what ifs'? I'd love to take up yoga, but who am I kidding ... I can't even finish my library books in time. In another month my daughter will be at college and my son will be relocated and teaching high school. My gardens won't need watering or as much pruning. Perhaps things will slow down just a bit. Trust me ... I do have hobbies and plans including my 5K Breast Cancer walk in October. I do have blogging workshops to attend. I'll have sleep to catch up on. And who knows I may even finish a book without having to renew it.