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On The Bricks Archives

Monthly Archives: December 2017

December 29, 2017

E.E. Cummings said, “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” He is someone that would be fun to sit and visit with on the patio.

“Psychology confirms that when people have fun, the brain releases feel good chemicals such as oxytocin and dopamine, leading to feelings of bonding with people,” according to an article in the Toastmaster magazine. Author Scott Christopher refers to a 9.1 million person study by the Great Place to Work Institute that “made the connection between the top places to work and the amount of fun employees have. Studies show that fun in the workplace can increase profits and employee camaraderie, lower absenteeism and reduce workplace conflict.”

So, grouchy people need to work alone and not have anything to do with customers. That’s tough to make happen. But we can decide not to be grouchy. It is true. I know it is because I see people who blame all sorts of things and people for their bad attitude, but then there are lots of people who have worse problems that don’t have bad attitudes. So, it’s in the decision on whether you’re going to be a grump or not.

Look up Shaquem Griffin. A recent Sports Illustrated magazine featured him as a “Best Inspiration” article. As a very young boy he lost a hand. And yet he is a leading college football player in the nation. The article said, “Shaquem hated hearing excuses. ‘A lot of people in our generation like to make excuses about little things that really don’t hinder them from doing what they want to do,’ Griffin says. ‘It always comes down to the work ethic. God put you on the earth for a purpose. I feel like my purpose is to get away from people making excuses.’ That’s why Shaquem declined a disabled parking permit even though he’s eligible for one.

‘It’s not a deformity unless you make it one,’ he says. ‘You’re not disabled unless you say ‘I’m disabled.’

“Shaquem’s platform will get bigger next year, when he gets his shot at the NFL. At some point during the predraft process, a league general manager will take one look at Shaquem’s left arm and say, ‘No. Not him.’

“That will only open an opportunity for another team to land a player who won’t stop until he proves all his doubters wrong.”

All this means we need to start being more positive and have more fun.

And we need to quit making excuses for not doing so.

A couple other things to put on the “Quit List” are to stop trying to please everyone, stop fearing change, stop living in the past, stop putting yourself down, and stop overthinking. Lots of things for us to work towards. But remember, according to Shaquem, who puts us all to shame, it’s all in the work ethic. Let’s work on it.

A couple of excellent working groups that have things coming up you might enjoy is TCEC and the Guymon Lions.

On Thur., Jan. 11, during the lunch hour, noon to 1, go by Charles White Insurance at 1024 N. Main Street for the Co-Op Connections Spotlight. You can sign up for the drawing for $100 in Main Bucks. You can spend your Main Bucks at Beauty and the Beast, Bob’s Cowboy Bar, Chamber of Commerce, Cheryl’s Quilt Corner, Christine’s Home Furnishings, Dancers, Dizzy Bs, G & G Electronics, GABS Liquor Store, Garrison Insurance Agency, Golden Crown, Guymon Furniture, Harana MedSpa, Helm’s Garden Shop, Inspirations, Lumber Mart, Maddox Farms, Merle Norman, Mitchell Theaters (Northridge Cinema), Panhandle Pest Control, Pub on the Bricks, Reid’s Furniture, Roberts and Keenan, SPC, Top Value Grocery Store, Urban Bru, Whispering Bliss Boutique, Willows Inn, Wirtz Lumber, Wolf Creek Mini-Mall. The Co-Op Connections Spotlight is done by TCEC, highlighting the deals you can get through the program. Go see all the opportunities by visiting

The Lions Chili and Stew Supper is Jan. 16 at the Methodist Enrichment Center, 6th and Quinn, from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. The cost is $7 for an adult, $5 for kids from 5 to 8 years old and free for kids under 4. And don’t miss out on the homemade pies!

Lots of fun to be on the bricks!

December 28, 2017

The end of 2017 is near and it could be known for many things.

I read an article in the Rotarian magazine about the year 2016 and what it is known for. The article had an interesting title and some good points to ponder. I’m going to share some of these points from the article “Could be Worse: When the Story Seems Grim, Rewrite the Ending.”

The author, Frank Bures, says, “The idea that 2016 was the worst year ever started circulating after several celebrity deaths (Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen) were followed by an election that did not go the way many people wanted it to. After that, the worst – year – ever meme became unstoppable, and in 2017, the drumbeat of decline has not stopped.

“Offhand, I can think of a lot of things that are worse than a cold winter day: the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 1929 stock market crash, the Bataan Death March. But it’s true that things do feel worse than they actually are. Part of the reason lies in the 24 – hour news cycle and it’s never – ending flow of bad news.

“As writer Jia Tolentino put it in The New Yorker, ‘There is no limit to the amount of misfortune a person can take in via the Internet, and there’s no easy way to properly calibrate it. …Our ability to change things is not increasing at the same rate as our ability to know about them.’

“Contrary to what you might think, violence is at all – time lows, as is the rate of global poverty. War deaths are fewer than ever in history. On most indicators where you might think progress is not being made, the opposite is probably true.

“Nicholas Kristof recently pointed out in a column in The New York Times: ‘2017 is likely to be the best year in the history of humanity.’ He continued, ‘Every day, another 250,000 people graduate from extreme poverty, according to World Bank figures about 300,000 get electricity for the first time. Some 285,000 get their first access to clean drinking water. When I was a boy, a majority of adults had always been illiterate, but now more than 85% can read.’

“Likewise, Steven Pinker said stated in his book that the world is not more violent, more racist, more genocidal, or more unjust than in the past. He documented long – term declines in homicides, as well as massive gains in education, health, and wealth. He showed that diseases are not spiraling out of control. None who which is to say that things are perfect or that our progress is permanent. But the world is far more perfect than it used to be.

“Yet many of us have given in to a pessimism, a hopelessness, a sense that things are going from bad to worse. Minnesota winters notwithstanding, it was shocking how many people rushed to declare 2016 the worst year ever, when in fact it was one of the best.\

“This disconnect between perception and reality was noted by sociologist Barry Glassner …. He explored the growing distance between the things we fear and the reality of those threats. Throughout the 1990s, people became more afraid of crime, even as crime rates were falling. Other threats, such as road rage and child abduction, proved wildly overblown, while others – the satanic cult scare and Y2K, for instance – turned out to the entirely fictional.

“…The stories we tell ourselves matter, and what we see around us often says more about our inner world than our outer one. All lives have positive and negative things that happen in them. But it’s about how you take time and draw connections.

“Stories are contagious, and negative stories even more so. But it matters for other reasons too. One reason is that a negative outlook doesn’t let us acknowledge the accomplishments of those who are doing good work: people fighting to eliminate polio, or end child marriages, or combat global warming, or conserve our water, or educate our children.

“But the most important reason is the simple fact that no problem has ever been solved by people who didn’t think it was possible to solve it. When we let the negative memes take over – when we consume them over and over online – they create a cage of despair from which we can’t see an escape.

“Look around you and write a new story that reflects the world as you want it to be.”

See you on the bricks … and be sure to tell me about your new story.

December 22, 2017

Your choices can make a difference to a lot of people. If you choose locally owned businesses for your shopping, you are supporting the people who support the schools your children and grandchildren are in, the programs that are set up for you and your friends and family. You are also helping to make paychecks for friends and neighbors of yours and supporting local banks and their employees.

It goes on and on, does this ripple effect. The taxes paid locally pay for the water and streets that you use, not that someone else uses. So, if you like to spend your money in other towns, don’t be complaining about your hometown streets or water system. You’re part of that problem.

But rather than be negative, let’s talk about the positive things that happen when you shop locally.

You benefit from expertise if you go in the store, rather than shopping online. And you hear the advice from people you can go back to. There is a face moisturizer that is wonderful with my very sensitive and very old skin. Paige at Beauty and the Beast special orders it for me … and not only that, she special orders it so that she has it there BEFORE I run out. When I walk in the door, she already has it on the counter by the time I get there. That’s customer service.

That’s shopping local. You can save time and get the right thing by relying on the local retailer.

You connect with the community.

Shopping locally means bumping into friends, enjoying lively conversations in the store, and trading neighborhood news with the people behind the counter. Local businesses make communities work.

You strengthen our local economy.

One study says that compared to Amazon, independent retailers create twice as many jobs for the same amount of revenue. Local retailers hire local people, pay local taxes, and source goods locally. When you shop local, you expand opportunities where you live.

You cast a vote for the American Dream.

Starting a small business has long been a pathway to the middle class. By supporting local entrepreneurs, you invest in a future that works for all of us.

Places with more small businesses have less income inequality, which means your community does better for its citizens.

In places with more local businesses, people have stronger social ties and participate more in civic affairs.

So, where do you choose to invest your dollars?

Be honest.

You aren’t going to be held accountable to anyone but yourself, so don’t let me or anyone else make you feel guilty where you spend the money that you worked hard to earn. But ponder it and be honest with yourself.

And I’ll see you on the bricks!

December 20, 2017

None of us is perfect.

Once again, I’m going to retell a story that was printed in the Toastmaster magazine. Although I am going to cut out about half of it because I don’t want you to quit reading and it is a little long.

The article is about a pharmacist who eventually began to be a public speaker / leadership coach. His name is Glen Savage.

“I was born with a hereditary hand tremor. I came to believe that if I spoke to a group, the audience would be distracted by the tremor and assume I was a shivering bag of nerves and it would affect trust and credibility. That is what I’d much later come to learn was a limiting belief.

“My confidence in speaking was pretty low, and my doctor stepped in with beta-blockers to stop the tremor when needed. That was helpful, except I then had another limiting belief that I couldn’t speak unless I took a tablet.

“Then I explored all of this with a great Neuro – Linguistic Programming (NLP) coach. I discovered that my beliefs were just beliefs – a way of thinking that was inhibiting me. I developed a newer, healthier belief that I could speak and train without tablets and the tremor didn’t matter. My NLP coach helped me focus on the possibility that people would be interested in what I had to say and the benefit I could deliver. I haven’t taken a beta – blocker in over 15 years. People do in fact listen to me. And no one has ever commented on my tremor.

“Focus on the audience, rather than yourself. If you take on the mindset that you have something others deserve to hear, you’ll speak stronger and deliver more benefit. It’s all about the message and not about you. If they happen to like you, that’s just a bonus.”

These things are so true. When we focus on something that we don’t like about ourselves, we start to believe that everyone notices the same thing when it is likely that nobody does. When I was a freshman in high school, the dentist pulled my front four upper teeth and put in fake ones, they call it “an appliance”. It corrected an overbite that I thought was very unattractive.

Nobody knew I was getting my teeth pulled and the appliance was put in right after the teeth came out. I had pizza for supper that night. After the weekend, we had school and nobody said a word to me about my new teeth. But I knew, and I smiled more. Finally, one girl said, “Did you do something different, Melyn? Cut your hair?” She had no idea. And she’s the only one who said anything.

It was an awakening for me. Not everybody was as focused as I was on me. And it probably would have been a lot happier life before had I not been so focused on my bad points, too. So, give yourself a break. Everybody isn’t watching you when you walk in to the room. I promise. They aren’t. Everybody isn’t noticing that your clothes are kind of old or your shoes don’t match or that you don’t have on earrings. Honestly, people really don’t care.

But they do notice if you smile. And they notice if you talk to them.

So maybe those are the things we should be focusing on. Take a gander and think about your limiting beliefs. And be realistic.

And I’ll see you on the bricks!

December 6, 2017

Today is a sharing time. There are some great people with such admirable attitudes and choices that it’s time to share some of those.

Last month Denise Lunt sent me an email. And this email is something worth sharing because it’s about the entire community and you all deserve to know what she’s saying about you.

“We have so much here to be thankful for …,” wrote Lunt, a local business owner. “We also have a great community that steps up so often to help other. I am proud to live here and claim Guymon as home ….” I don’t know if you know Denise, but she isn’t one to say things that she doesn’t honestly believe. She’s pretty blunt and pretty honest. So, you know she is talking straight here.

What Denise says reminds me to share another email I recently received, this one from Charles Michael, about the Lions Christmas Shopping Spree for Needy Children. This year it is on Sat., Dec. 16 and they need donations and volunteers to shop with the kids. Contact Charles at 580-651-5633 if you’re willing to help. And going by what Denise says, I think some of you will contact Charles.

Charles is also very involved in the Guymon Community Theater, who has the production “Oklahoma” going on right now. The first weekend a group of us went to the play. Wow. It’s great. The main character, Curly, is played by Michael Ask from Goodwell and to hear him sing is well worth the cost of the $8 ticket. It’s a play for all ages and don’t miss out on it. The final productions are Friday and Saturday, Dec. 8 and 9, at 7 pm and Sunday the 10th at 2 pm. Call 338-0019 to get your reservations. And when you go, be sure to tell Shayla Gaillard, a new friend of mine, that she did a great job!

Get into the Christmas spirit on Sat., Dec. 8, with the Christmas Open House downtown from 5 – 9 pm. The Christmas Tree Lighting starts the evening off and there are all sorts of great things to do during, including a kids activity so you can shop childless. Call 338-6246 if you want more information.

Here’s another piece of interesting information. In Iceland, books are exchanged as Christmas Eve presents. Then you spend the rest of the night in bed reading them and eating chocolate. The tradition is part of a season called Jolabokaflod, or “The Christmas Book Flood.” Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country and sells most of those books between September and November due to people preparing for the upcoming holiday … and probably for cold weather, too. I loved the idea.

The other morning my mind pondered on what was the best thing that happened in my family during 2017, which is about to end. There were many great things and things that my children and grandchildren and the spouses have done. But what made me proudest is something that my son – in – law Cody Cartwright is a part of. He is one of the Texhoma coaches that had the high school girls track team bring home a fourth state championship. Four years in a row. Amazing.

So, with that conclusion, I decided to share with the family because too often as parents and grandparents (and certainly as mother – in – laws) we are saying things that are not so positive.

Here’s what I sent to my family, “Not only is this something that is unprecedented, it probably won’t happen again in my lifetime … hopefully a fifth and sixth will, though! And the best part is that Cody did this with great commitment and dedication. And what he did was not about himself, but he made an opportunity for some young kids to do great things. I love it.”

Our whole family is proud of Cody Cartwright, who does not strive for the limelight. Who are you proud of and should you be telling them?

Here’s to sharing with your family and friends. Stay positive and I’ll see you on the bricks!

December 5, 2017

Even if you don’t believe the story of Christmas, you can partake of the Christmas happiness and good cheer. It is a time where people are nicer than usual and their families take priority over other things. These you can do, no matter what you believe.

“The Value of a Smile at Christmas” is a story so appropriate for now.

“It costs nothing, but creates much.

“It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.

“It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

“None are so rich they can get along without it, and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.

“It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in a business, and is countersign of friends.

“It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and Nature’s best antidote for trouble.

“Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anybody till it is given away.

“And if in the last minute rush of Christmas buying some of our salespeople should be too tired to give you a smile, may we ask you to leave one of yours?

“For nobody needs a smile so much s those who have none left to give!”

Remember those who are working long hours during the holiday season. Remember those who are far from home. Remember those who have lost someone and are facing Christmas without them. Remember others.

Don’t count calories from December 15 to January 2. Don’t be unhealthy, but celebrate the holidays.

Mend a broken relationship with a friend or relative during the holidays. There are people in your life who are more important that hurt feelings.

Take a basket of Christmas goodies to a notoriously grumpy neighbor.

Be nice to sales personnel. They are probably wearier than you are.

Make an effort to attend every Christmas party and program you’re invited to (those that cost money don’t need to be included), even if you can stay only a few minutes.

Place your children’s stuffed animals under the Christmas tree as a welcoming committee for Santa.

Remember that the loving holiday spirit in your home depends more on the words you speak than on the gifts you give.

When you’re with a child and see a blinking red light in the sky, ask her, “Do you think that could be Rudolph?”

If someone disappoints you this season, don’t give a lecture. Give acceptance and forgiveness.

Fill your house with the holiday fragrance of cloves, orange peel, and cinnamon sticks simmering on the kitchen stove.

Let go of a problem you can’t solve. Enjoy the season.

Hang a favorite Christmas tree ornament from your car’s rear – view mirror.

Don’t forget our feathered friends during the holidays. Spread peanut butter on pine cones, then roll them in bird seed, and hang them on a tree near your kitchen window.

Wait until Christmas morning to place the infant Jesus in your Nativity scene.

Call the nursing or assisted living home and get the names of five people who don’t often receive mail. Send each one a beautiful Christmas card. Sign it from “Santa.”

Instead of using a traditional Advent calendar that produces a treat for every day, this year make a reverse Advent calendar. Find a box and on every day of Advent add an item to it that can be used by a family in need, such as canned food or toiletries. After Advent, donate the box of items to the homeless shelter. This is a great way to refocus the season on giving rather than receiving.

Here in Guymon you can donate to the Tree of Love at the Heritage Community Nursing Home. They are taking donations that help with dental work, medications, glasses, nursing supplies, rent assistance, hearing aides, clothing, and more that is all related to elder care. For more information, call 338-3186.

You might want to help with the Lions Club Shopping Spree for Guymon’s needy children. The spree is on Sat., Dec. 16. If you would like to help the children shop, come to the Methodist Enrichment Center at 6th and Quinn by 7:30 in the morning. You will be bused to the Ambassador for breakfast and then to shop at Walmart.  The club is also taking donations for the spree. Contact Charles Michaels at Or call Colleen at Ken Lane Insurance.

Anytime Fitness is doing a Christmas Toy Drive up to Dec. 8, when they will be added to the toys gathered from the Christmas Cheer for Children.

The Christmas Open House happens on Sat., Dec. 8 from 5 – 9 pm and includes a Christmas Tree Lighting with singing at the courthouse, carriage rides, the YMCA Polar Express for children up to 12 years in age (cost is $2) at 502 N. Main. And secret elves out all evening. The Shop and Dine is also taking place that evening at Merle Norman, WOW SPC Boutique, Golden Crown, Beauty and the Beast, and others. Take your TCEC Coop Connections card and see what deals you can have from it!

Whatever you do this holiday season, do it with a smile and an open heart.

See you on the bricks!