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On The Bricks Archives

Monthly Archives: February 2018

February 28, 2018

Goals should be a part of all our lives. Basic human nature requires that we have a purpose. A purpose makes it easier to get up every morning. A goal that improves us, whether it improves our mind or our heart, is one that takes us down the happier road.

The Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, who has lived his life reaching lofty goals said, “I think goals should never be easy, they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time.”

There is a saying in Burma that goes, “Who aims at excellence will be above mediocrity; who aims at mediocrity will be far short of it.”

Right now, we’re in the Christian Lenten Season. Lent is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday. For many denominations it is a time to reflect, to remember. It is also a time to give something up for those six weeks to help us remember what God gave up for us. Whether you’re a Christian or not, whether you’re a Christian who practices fasting during Lent or not, sometimes it is good for everyone to reflect.

Pope Francis once gave some suggestions for fasting during Lent.

  • Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
  • Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
  • Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
  • Fast from pessimism an be filled with hope.
  • Fast from worries and have trust in God.
  • Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
  • Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
  • Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.
  • Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
  • Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
  • Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.

Such wise words. Words that can help you set goals for your personal development. Ways to work to improve yourself.

And remember, we often fall short of our goals, but that is not a reason to avoid setting and working towards them.

Actor Bruce Lee said, “A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at.”

Just recently a group of people worked to present a play, “The Shadow Box” that was about death. When you commit yourself to being in a play, it becomes a large undertaking. Learning lines, attending practices, being someone else isn’t easy and working with a group of people can be difficult, too.

One of my favorite people in the whole world, Liz McCulloch, was in the play and according to my friend, was the one who made the lasting impression as Felicity. Liz posted on her facebook after the play finished it’s run, the following words.

“Words will never be able to express how thankful I am for “The Shadow Box.” What is life without challenging yourself? Everyone can cruise through life and go the easiest route possible … but what fun is that? To me, I think the point of life is to be able to say “YES” to situations that challenge you, scare you, and make you question yourself so much that you wonder if you can even be successful in the challenge.

“To say this play was a challenge for me is such a complete understatement. A challenge that I will always cherish. Now that it’s all said and done, I can truly say my life has changed for the better because of the beautifully written play, because of the beautiful people involved, and because of the beautiful memories made.

“To that I will say goodbye to the feisty Felicity. The woman who made me realize how quickly life can change and how this moment only lasts for just that. For that, and for the constant encouragement and fun from the director and cast. I will always be soooo grateful for the time onstage.

“Goodbye, Felicity. I love you. Just as much as you love your Claire.”

Maybe this month you and I can be as brave as Liz and Felicity. Maybe we need to challenge ourselves. Maybe it’s time for a new goal, a new challenge.

If your challenge is to be more involved in the community, consider attending Eggs and Issues on Mar. 2 at the Ambassador Restaurant at 7 am.

Could be your challenge is to have more fun with your kids or grandkids. If so, go to the Donkey Basketball game in Goodwell on Mar. 5 at 7 pm. It is the OPSU gym. This is a fund raiser for the Goodwell After Prom Party. And I heard a merchant say that you really should support this.

It’s one of the few After Prom Committees that doesn’t just ask for donations to make their party happen. You have to respect those who work rather than just beg.

Could be a time for reflection.

See you reflecting on the bricks!

February 26, 2018

Last week the Main Street Guymon Awards Evening happened. People who have done wonderful things for and with the organization gathered together to break bread and celebrate. We celebrated the businesses that have done a good job. We celebrated the people who have given of themselves to make Guymon a better place. We celebrated friendships. We celebrated because it is a good thing to come together in a positive manner.

The people that handed over their tickets and sat in those chairs are my favorite people. They are the ones who get something done. They aren’t just talking about doing something, they’re doing it. They aren’t just out to promote themselves or to get a free meal, they’re there for the long haul. They are the ones who back up their words. They are ones who know how to sweat. And who aren’t afraid to care.

They are volunteers and entrepreneurs. They are gamblers because they invest in people, in community. They work to build something better that will last long past their last breath.

Four people committed to having their names on the slate of nominations for a position on the board of directors. They stood up and publicly said they were willing and able to give of themselves and work in this capacity. Four people. Three positions. All four would serve well. One went home without the vote and still they put themselves out there. I respect them for so many reasons. All of them. These are the people of our community’s future. They have an attitude that can keep us moving forward and moving positive.

Would you fit in with this crowd?

Do you appreciate the people who were there?

I do. Every single day.

It was a celebration on the bricks.

Wish you had been there.

The winners of our awards were Aggie Families, All Fired Up Art Gallery, Bank of the Panhandle, Beef Up Guymon Fund Raiser and Elanco, Charles White Insurance, City Bank and Trust, Fiesta Event and Soila Medina, Galleon Restaurant, Golden Crown, OPSU Baseball Team, Shop and Dine Group, Shop Local Coalition, Taos McIntyre, Veterans Banner Program and Jim Norris.

Volunteers from the Main Street Board of Directors, Transformers, Vital Volunteers, Career Focus, Cassie’s Kids, Aggie Families, Lunch and Cash Mob were also there in mass. Amazing, wonderful, and giving people. Many of those with the mentoring programs also brought their mentees and Aggies. I loved it.

I hope you have found something that brings the best out in you, too. Something where you give. Something that reminds you to appreciate all we have. Something that makes you care. Somewhere you can fit in. If you haven’t and want to, come by. Let’s talk.

See you on the Bricks!

February 23, 2018

At a meeting this week, tips on dealing with difficult emotionally charged customers / clients / patients / staff / neighbors / people came up in the conversation. A very wise person in the meeting shared and it is well worth reading. These are words we all need to hear … over and over.
Give your difficult person your undivided attention.

Pay attention. When attention is paid to someone, they feel validated; they feel important. By really listening, and conveying that through body language as well as words, you can take away the person’s reason for escalating the situation.

Be non – judgmental.

It’s important to acknowledge the customers frustration and apologize for their inconvenience. Ensure that your body language and tone are non – judgmental. This goes a long ways towards calming the individual.

Show some feeling.

A feeling response might be; I understand your frustration. Let me see what I can do to help. Most likely it will elicit a response that is positive since the individual will know that the agent understands what’s happening and is willing to work on resolving the issue.

Allow silence.

At times, allowing a moment of silence can be the best choice.

Have a team approach.

It’s easier to maintain professionalism when assistance is nearby. Support and backup are both crucial when trying to handle an escalated situation. Work to provide exceptional customer service and work together as a team.

Develop a plan.

Devise a plan before one is needed. Decisions made before an incident occurs are likely to be more rational than those made when on the receiving end of emotional outbursts. Then think about the things that are upsetting and practice dealing with those issues ahead of time.

Clarify.

When a customer makes a statement, you might think you know what the person means. The only way to be sure is to ask. Sometimes a question may be perceived as challenging and can make the customer defensive. Restate what you heard in order to gain clarification.

Good words to follow. Now the next lesson I need is how to keep from being that difficult emotional person / client / patient / person. You know how it is.

There are just some days that being nice seems to be so very impossible. I’ve always thought that rather than having only sick and vacation days, we also need to have Stay Away Days. Because everyone once in awhile we can do our best for society by staying home and seeing nobody.

Or is that just me?

Once in a college elementary education class my teacher, Jo Wise, stated, “There will be those days that you really aren’t feeling nice. Those students don’t deserve to be the brunt of your mood. So, do you know what you do on those days? Lay low. Just lay low.”

That was very good advice. For everyone, not just educators.

Thank you to all who came out and supported Main Street Guymon volunteers and members at the recent Main Street Awards Evening. You are good to us. You make it easy to want to work within this fine community. Blessings to each of you that give so that we can give back.

See you on the Bricks!

February 19, 2018

Here’s to you and here’s to me in hopes we never disagree ….

You make a toast to recognize, celebrate, and share the moment with others, passing along good wishes. It is an opportunity to add extra meaning and significance to an event and can be appropriate for almost any occasion. Yet, today making a toast is not as common as it should be.

Many of us only hear quick toasts at formal events, and sometimes they aren’t thought out toasts.

A toast should be short and sweet. Two minutes is a maximum amount of time for a good toast.

A toast is not about you. Your toast should focus on someone or something else.

Use powerful adjectives to describe the person you’re toasting.

Be light on the humor so you don’t steal attention from the subject of the toast.

And, just to be careful, if you’re new to toasting, you might write it down just in case you have a brain freeze and forget what you had planned to say.

Then at the end, tell the audience when it is time to raise their glasses. Ask the audience to raise their glass, express feelings toward the subject and finally end with “Cheers”.

Here’s some things happening in Guymon that you might not want to miss …

  • Feb. 20-22 are auditions for the Guymon Community Theatre production of Spamalot, a musical ripped off from the motion picture “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Should be funny!
  • Feb. 20 is the Main Street Guymon Awards Evening when we salute our volunteers and give out awards for wonderful projects and works that happened in 2017.
  • There’s a Sorry Tournament at the OPSU Library at 6:30 pm on Feb. 21. I love board games.
  • At noon on Feb. 22 is the TCEC Community Connections Spotlight at H&R Block. That same evening is OPSU basketball with the women at 6 pm and the men starting at 8.
  • Feb. 24 is a Saturday and there are quite a few things happening that day. From 11 to 2, with a light lunch provided, is a Parenting meeting for parents or guardians of children with special needs. Call Shand Oden at 580-461-3528 if you’re interested in going or to learn more about it.
  • Then from 1:30 – 3:30 is a free Leadership Workshop provided by the Toastmasters groups. Leaders are from Amarillo and there is no obligation to join Toastmasters, but a chance to learn more about getting ahead in today’s business world. Call 338-7270 to reserve a spot.
  • At 5 pm that same day, the 24th, is an OPSU men’s basketball game.

A great week ahead of us. Let’s toast to all we have a chance to take part in!

See you on the bricks!

February 13, 2018

When doing something, pay attention to what you’re doing. We are so ineffective when our mind is elsewhere. This is something I really need to work on.

A recent article in the Toastmaster magazine by Caren Schhnur Neile made a lot of sense. She said, “Be completely present. Dedicate your full mind to what you’re doing. Instead of thinking about yesterday or tomorrow, concentrate on what your senses tell you about that very moment. And instead of weighing the pros and cons of what you or anyone else is doing, simply be.

“When our focus is on the present moment, we will not only accomplish the task at hand, we will also be more accepting of our emotions and those of others. When we listen, we can completely listen with our ears, eyes, and hearts. When we speak, we can feel confident that intrusive thoughts and emotions whatever they are, will not prevent us from communicating our message. And when we lead, we can do so with the sensitivity that comes from feeling good about ourselves, connecting with others and having the mental clarity to focus positively on what really matters.

“To be in the moment, step away from the phone. A recent study found that when cell phones are within reach, students don’t perform as well on tests – even if they don’t use them! Just the knowledge that a phone is around is apparently enough to distract us.

“Do one thing at a time and do it well. Psychologists claim there is really no such thing as multitasking. Rather than actually engaging in two or more tasks simultaneously, our brains toggle from one to the other, accomplishing about as much on each as if we were drunk.

“Switch it up. Are you right – handed? Try to accomplish a simple task like brushing your teach or stirring milk into your coffee with your left. We do so many things without paying attend that changing a simple habit once in a while forces us to focus on our actions.

“Sense it. Many of us tend to focus on the sense of sight without paying nearly as much attention to our other senses. Take a walk in the park or the mall – or just sit at your desk. Use all your senses to fully experience the moment.”

Cultivate this type of awareness and promote your mental strength and clarity.

You up to that challenge for today? I’m game. It makes sense to me!

And remember what Goethe said, “What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.”

Oh, and this quote really fits the above article. “We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” That was said by Arianna Huffington.

Be sure to go see the Guymon Community Theatre production “The Shadow Box” on Feb. 15, 16, or 17 at 8 pm. Tickets are $8 and call 338-0019 to make your reservations. I hear the show is outstanding.

There is a Mother – Son Dinner on Feb. 16 at 6 pm, benefiting Panhandle Services for Children. Tickets are $30 a couple and $10 for extras. It is at the Methodist Enrichment Center.

OPSU Baseball games on Feb. 16 and 17 and 20. Usually around noon or so.

The Chamber Pioneer Days Rodeo Committee Fundraiser, the Dinner, Dance, and Draw Down is a steak dinner with music by the Wooden Nickel Band, tickets are $50 each and you have a chance to win $5,000. That’s at Pickle Creek and doors open at 6:30 with dinner at 7 on Feb. 17.

Take your winnings for the Draw Down and go to the OPSU First Pitch Baseball Banquet at Hunney’s on Feb. 18 at 6 pm. Cost is $16 per person and should be fun!

Then on the 20th is the Main Street Guymon Awards Evening. Cost is $25 a ticket and it happens at the RC Party Room at 5th and Main.

Hope to see you there. Focus. On the bricks!

February 9, 2018

“Kaizen” is a Japanese word that translates to “continuous improvement” or “change for the better,” according to the International Toastmasters President. He goes on to explain that Kaizen is more than just a word, it’s a lifestyle. It represents striving for constant improvement in all areas of life.

One of Kaizen’s principles is “Think of how to do it, not why it cannot be done.” Identify the obstacles keeping you from reaching a goal and then come up with way to overcome them. Don’t tackle the entire problem at once, but rather, break it down into smaller, more manageable piece. And keep persevering.

“Don’t seek perfection” is another Kaizen principle. Halfway to a goal is better than no progress at all. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds and you lose only 25, you are not a failure even though you haven’t completely reached your goal.

We can’t always be perfect, but we can always improve. Strive for improvement and excellence. Those are attainable goals.

In every project you undertake, as yourself if it can be improved.

Resolve to work toward continual, incremental improvement in every aspect of your life and excellence will be a word associated with all you do. You will always be raising the bar.

So, the goal is to never stop improving.

The goal isn’t to be perfect by the end, but to be better tomorrow.

While you’re improving yourself consider possible 2018 Guymon Pioneer Day themes. The committee is asking for short, concise theme suggestions that lend themselves to great logo and parade float ideas. Submit the theme by 5 pm on Feb. 16, to the Guymon Chamber of Commerce, Rt. 5 Box 120, Guymon, or call Jada at 580-338-3376. Be sure to include your name and phone number with your theme idea.

They are also looking for Pioneer Queen and Parade Marshall nominations. According to the information from the Chamber, “beginning in 1940, the founders of the Pioneer Days celebration have honored the memories of the mothers by selecting one lady who would represent all the pioneer women. Beginning in 1964, a Parade Marshall was named to represent all pioneer men. These individuals represent all the pioneers who braved the many hardships and lived through those homesteading years almost on faith and hope alone and who set a good example of courage for their descendants to follow.

The criteria for the queen and marshal is 1) a descendant of settlers in No Man’s Land in the late 1800s or early 1900s; 2) live in Texas, Cimarron or Beaver County at the time of the honor; 3) have lived in the Oklahoma Panhandle for at least 50 years; and 4) must be willing and able to serve if selected. Submissions need to me sent to the Chamber, Rt. 5 Box 120, Guymon 73942.

You can also improve your community involvement by attending some of the following events.

Bank of the Panhandle is putting on the Craft for a Cause on Feb. 12 with the proceeds benefitting Meals of Wheels. It takes place at 6:30 pm in the Main Street Guymon office at 116 NE 5th, at 6:30 and costs $25 a person. Call 580-468-3584 to reserve your spot.

That same evening you can support the OPSU men and women’s basketball teams with the women playing at 6 pm and the men at 8 pm.

Don’t forget to vote on Feb. 13.

And Feb. 15, 16, and 17 is the last weekend for the Guymon Community Theatre production of “The Shadow Box” where tickets are $8 a person and the talent is amazing. Go see this thought provoking play directed by Michael Patterson. Call 338-0019 to make your reservation.

Also, on Feb. 16 is the Mother Son Dinner, a benefit for Panhandle Services for Children. The dinner begins at 6 pm and it costs $30 a couple with $10 for extra sons and is served at the Methodist Church Enrichment Center.

And it would be awesome if you broadened your community support to include Main Street Guymon (close to my heart) and attend the Annual Awards Evening on Feb. 20. The cost of the ticket is $25 and you’ll see many wonderful volunteers and businesses recognized during that evening from 6 – 7:30 pm. Call me at 338-6264 for more information.

See the new and improving you on the bricks!