This is why I write things down (and why you should, too)

Keep a Journal

Remembering what they say is the best reason to keep a journal

I was glancing through recent entries in my journal and found this gem from March 9, 2013:

Grace: “It’s been soo long since I was swimming in a pool!”
Char: “I know, it’s great.”
Grace: “It’s so much better than trying to do it in the bathtub!”

I had no memory of this. If I hadn’t written it down, it would have been lost forever. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me.

It’s happening to you, too, whether you know it or not. So start writing things down.

For simplicity, I’m using Day One, a Mac-based digital journal that makes it simple to record little items like this and longer form entries. I highly recommend it.

I also found this tip from Michael Hyatt the other day and I’ve been trying it since I read it. I think he’s definitely on to something. His advice? Use a template to prompt your entries. Here’s the (short) article where he lays it out and provides the template he uses. Try it, it works.

What can Brown do for you?

Scout has her own reasons for liking the UPS man

Scout has her own reasons for liking the UPS man

Char told me a story yesterday that I hadn’t heard before. It goes like this:

A few years ago, my Mom sent the kids a bunch of cookies for Easter. They arrived by UPS truck. The kids were ecstatic and over-sugared for days. Score a point for Grandma (and, apparently, the UPS man, because after this delivery they’d shout “Cookies!” and head for the door every time they saw the UPS truck.)

Funny enough, until you imagine how their little hearts broke each time it just drove on by – or worse, stopped to deliver something entirely NOT cookies. Still, they associated the sights and sounds of the big brown truck with cookies just as they did the sights and sounds of that creepy van with ice cream of questionable value and provenance. (An aside: I’m not sure where they get the die for the popsicles coming out of the back of the ice cream truck, but let it touch anything and it will stain for life.)

Fast forward to this week, when Char is out walking Scout and the UPS truck comes around the corner and stops at a neighbor’s house. Scout starts dragging her in the direction of truck. As the tug of war continues, Scout stops dead in her tracks and sits in the street. It takes some amount of coaxing to get her moving again.

As they continue their walk, the UPS truck catches up. Again, Scout starts pulling in the direction of the truck. Char’s mystified… until the truck stops, the UPS man hops out and says to Scout, “Aw, good girl, so good to see you again…” and tosses her a treat.

Score another point for the UPS man, who now apparently only delivers dog cookies.

(The kids are looking at you, Grandma.)

“You’ve just been pep-talked!”

Kid President's Awesome YearEveryone needs a little pep talk now and then. Here’s yours for today, presented by Kid President, a kid with wisdom beyond his years. His primary message: “You were made to be awesome. Now get out there and get to it.”

I suggest you watch it. Bookmark it. Then come back tomorrow and watch it again.

Some pearls of wisdom in there, including these:

The world needs you; stop being boring. Boring is easy, everybody can be boring. But you’re gooder than that.

This is life, people! You got air coming through your nose! You got a heartbeat! That means it’s time to do something!

A poem: “Two roads diverged in the woods. And I took the road less traveled. AND IT HURT, MAN!” Really bad! Rocks! Thorns! Glass! My pants broke! NOT COOL ROBERT FROST!

But what if there really were two paths? I want to be on the one that leads to awesome.

It’s like that dude Journey said: ‘Don’t stop believing. Unless your dream is stupid. Then you should bet a better dream.’ I think that’s how it goes. Get a better dream, then keep goin’, keep goin’, and keep goin’.

What if Michael Jordan had quit? Well, he did quit. But he retired, yeah that’s it, he retired. But before that? In high school? What if he quit when he didn’t make the team? he would have never made Space Jam. (And I love Space Jam.)

What will be your Space Jam? What will you create when you make the world awesome? Nothing if you keep sitting’ there! This is why I’m talking to you today!

This is your time! This is my time! This is our time! We can make every day better for each other.

If we’re all on the same team, let’s start acting like it. We’ve got work to do. We can cry about it, or we can dance about it.

You were made to be awesome. Let’s get out there!

I don’t know everything, I’m just a kid. But I do know this: It’s everyone’s duty to give the world a reason to dance. So get to it.

You’ve just been pep-talked!

This is exactly how I feel about what the team is doing here at Rare Bird. These guys are creating awesome every day, often without any fanfare and definitely not enough dancing. So kudos to you, Birds. Now get back out there and get to it!

(Note: Kid President dedicated this pep talk to Gabbi, “who is fighting cancer. Like a boss!” This kid is awesome. Here’s a little more background info on Robby, aka Kid President.)

The Blizzard of 2012, a House Full of Kids, and No Coffee

2012-blizzardI woke up this morning to the Blizzard of 2012 and a post-Christmas-merriment hangover and realized I couldn’t make coffee. I had whole coffee beans, but our coffee grinder has disappeared. I stood for several minutes looking out the door at the truck that was already covered with several inches of snow and watched as more continued to come down. Near white-out conditions pushed waves of snow left, and then moments later, right. I watched and wondered just how bad the roads could be. I did the math, calculating the odds of returning home alive and weighing them against spending an entire day at home, in a blizzard, with a full house, without coffee.

I decided I’d better try.

In the basement, looking for my snow boots… I knew they were just right here a few days ago, but for the life of me (and the clutter from present-stashing), I couldn’t find them. I slipped on something that passes for a boot without being waterproof or even very warm. Then I went looking for gloves and had a similar experience. I found one brown and one black. Close enough.

I knew my car wouldn’t make the trip, but I also knew where my snow scraper was in there, so I brushed the snow off one side, slipped in, grabbed the tool and turned to the truck. Twenty minutes later, covered in snow (I forgot a hat!), I had it clear enough to see out the windows. I quickly learned it didn’t matter much, because I couldn’t see more than five feet beyond. Again, I stopped to consider the importance of this trip and wondered if I could get there and back before Char realized what I was doing and scolded me for being… well, stupid. And again, coffee won out.

On the road, I was surprised by both the conditions (much worse than my driveway) and the number of like-minded idiots that were also out doing silly things (many more than I anticipated.) I began to wonder if I’d be able to find any place that was open…strike that:  Everything was open. There were people at Walgreen’s and CVS and in line at the Steak-n-Shake drive-through. Each of them, no doubt, doing similar calculations as me and arriving at similar conclusions: Yes, this medicine is more important. I couldn’t imagine what the Steak-n-Shake folks were thinking.

I arrived at Starbucks in the nick of time: they were only minutes from chucking in the towel and going home. They graciously ground my coffee, I bid them farewell, and went back into the muck.

The wind was generally blowing north to south, so the trip home was better. I only lost traction a hair under fourteen times in half a mile, so I was feeling increasingly confident with my decision.

I walked in the door and Lily asked, “How did it go?” I raised my hands above my head, snow sloughing off as I moved, and said: “All hail the conquering hero! I have returned with the spoils of war!” (or something like that.) In the kitchen, I set the bag of coffee down and reached for a coffee filter…

No coffee filters.