On The Bricks

January 18, 2017

Deadlines really do show you what you’re made of … I am obviously made of something unfocused and ditzy. Here are several days to get a ton of nomination packets done and I’m thinking that writing another column is a good idea. Ignoring does not make something go away, no matter how many times I try it.

But, the fact is, reading my email there was one that had some great insight that is good to share. Oh, yeah, I probably should have been at the task of nominations rather than reading emails, but it is what it is. Well, let’s get on with the sharing.

Once all villagers decided to pray for rain, on the day of prayer all the people gathered, but only one boy came with an umbrella. That’s FAITH!

When you throw a baby in the air, she laughs because she knows you will catch her. That’s TRUST!

Every night we go to bed, without any assurance of being alive the next morning but still we set the alarms to wake up. That’s HOPE!

We plan big things for tomorrow, in spite of zero knowledge of the future. That’s CONFIDENCE!

We see the world suffering, but still we get married and have children. That’s LOVE!

On an old man’s shirt was written a sentence “I am not 90 years old … I am sweet 16 with 74 years of experience.” That’s ATTITUDE!

May your days be filled with faith, friends and family worth your trust, hope, confidence, and love.

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

January 16, 2017

          Just recently, as I was getting ready to go to work, things seemed to be going so smooth. The coffee was delicious, it only took two minutes to make the bed, house was clean and no picking up was required. Then I took my shower. The warm water felt so good. The knees quit creaking for a moment and the sleepy bugs were chased away from my eyes. Life was good.

          Then I got out of the shower and started to dry off. My towel was one of those plush, really big towels that even makes an Amazon like me feel small and pampered. My bathroom is not large, although there is ample room for everything. Or so I used to think.

          Obviously, if you’re not careful, you can dip your big ole towel in the toilet water without even realizing it. It just happens as you’re drying off. But when that  cold, dripping wet corner smacks against you and the realization hits why it is so wet. That’s when you can’t help but laugh.

          I love when days have something interesting about them, setting them apart from every other day. Good things. Unusual things. Things that make your eyebrows go up. The toilet towel morning made for a great day.

          Here’s a few thoughts for you if your days are all the same and sort of running together.

          Create your idea of the best breakfast in the world. Then maybe you should make it for yourself and whomever is with you every New Years Day. You can start practicing on it now. My daughter and her husband make Christmas pancakes on Christmas morning. They’re in the shape of ornaments and trees and such. It’s cool. It’s different. We used to have crepe suzettes each New Years Eve for supper. Think about your special breakfast. Practice it. Relish it.

          When you’re lying in bed and have a little bit of time, ponder upon this question, “Whose life did I make brighter today?” And if you don’t find an answer, don’t beat yourself up, but just make it a point to have a ready answer the next day. It doesn’t have to cost money, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time, making someone’s day better is very easy. You only need to pay attention and be willing to be helpful.

          As a family gift to yourselves, consider volunteering and making a meal or doing a special project for the homeless shelter, or gathering food for the food pantry, or going and having lunch or supper with the folks at the nursing home or assisted living home. And be ready to make conversation. It isn’t just the food, it’s also the company. Help them have the day different from every other day.

          We’ve just been through the Christmas season that is filled with gifts. We look forward to getting birthday gifts. How about for birthdays, you write a letter to someone that had a positive influence on your life (or the life of your birthday son or daughter or grandchild) and thank them for the gift they gave. Every day we focus on the positive is a day we cherish.

          Offer to run errands for an elderly friend or relative, or a new mother, or someone who is super busy. Just recently I had some trouble with my leg and going to the grocery store was something that hurt, so I didn’t do it. Several people (including two college age kids who aren’t even blood relatives) offered to do my grocery shopping for me. They even realized that carrying them into the house was hard for me, so they drove to Texhoma and unloaded them. They were true blessings to me. Every day we serve as a blessing to someone is a day to be cherished.

          Try a new recipe. There are some scrumptious looking recipes is all sorts of magazines or books you probably have on your shelf. Or go online. You love chicken, find a chicken recipe that looks just wonderful. Try it. Every day we add something new to our life is a bit of an adventure.

          Or maybe you could go even further and organize a neighborhood progressive dinner. Have appetizers at one home, the main course at another, and dessert at a third. If you have more neighbors involved, you can have the main course divided into starch, vegetables, and meat. Then enjoy yourselves. Get to know your neighbors better, have a fun meal, and know that it’s a good day. Ask people what part they would like to do … make it as easy as possible for everyone. You can have themes, you can just be relaxed. Make it fun.

          And take in some civic organization fund raisers. Tuesday the 17th is the Guymon Lions Club Chili and Stew Supper in the evening at the Methodist Church Enrichment Center. For a mere $6 or so you can help people who are helping the community. If you don’t want to socialize that evening, get a to – go container.

          On the 19th is the Women in Ag Mini Conference from 6 to 9 pm at the Research Station in Goodwell. Call the OSU Extension Office for more information. There are usually some good presentations at it. It is always good to learn!

          See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

January 11, 2017

          Aaron Beam is a former Chief Financial Officer for a large Fortune 500 company that he co–founded. At one point his boss told him that they needed to work the numbers to get them “where they needed to be.”

          Beam and his chief accountant did as asked.

          “As soon as I walked out of the room I felt awful,” he told in an article in the January 2017 Rotarian magazine. “I knew I had screwed up. And from that day forward, my life totally changed. … I started to drink heavily. I hated going to work. The following June, I left the company – with a good bit of money.”

          Five years later it hit the news that massive accounting fraud was uncovered in the company, with almost $3 billion in phony number on the books.

          Beam ended up in jail. After he was released, nobody would hire this man who had been making $500 an hour. So, he started mowing lawns to earn money.

          “When I was riding those lawn mowers, I was sort of writing books in my head. When you go to prison and lose all your material wealth, you ask yourself: How could I have made such bad decisions? I participated in one of the largest corporate frauds in the history of the United States. Why did I do it?

          “When I look back, I was weak. I did not stand up to my boss. I let him convince me that cooking the books was OK. It was really just not having courage. To be ethical, to do the right thing every day, takes a lot of courage. You have to practice being ethical. If you do it every day, you’ll be ready when the going gets rough.”

          Those words about being ethical are what my father has lived his entire life. It is so important that we have integrity. That we believe in ourselves. It is important that our children and friends see us living with integrity.

          Be courageous. Do what is right. That’s a goal for us all to live by.

          And be kind to others. In fact, it’s the beginning of a New Year. Consider giving a bonus to your mailman, the sanitation workers, your newspaper carrier, your hairdresser … someone who works hard and serves you well.

          And do something different from your normal routine. Maybe you should throw orange peels into your fire to make the house smell good. That sounds like fun. Or boil them on the stove if you don’t have a fireplace.

          Then say a prayer before you sleep that God will help you see opportunities to be a blessing for others this year. And to help you live a life of integrity.

          Big thoughts!

On The Bricks

January 3, 2017

          Recently there is a person that has really gotten on my nerves. Keeping snide comments to myself has become a chore, but I’ve managed so far. When I ponder what makes me dislike being in conversation with him for any length of time, my answer is that he is so very selfish. He takes all conversation topics back to something about him.

          While thinking on this, my mind traveled to the fact that often we are irritated by the very things we do / are. That’s usually not a comfortable contemplation and typically we aren’t aware of how true the statement tends to run. If this is the case, then I needed to look at how selfish I am.

          So, in order to be honest in looking at how selfish I am, I looked on the internet to see what characteristics selfish people display. Now I’ll share.

          Selfish folks generally have unbalanced relationships (work and personal). They tend to expect and demand more from others than what they are willing to give. Usually they are very shocked when this is pointed out to them.

          Are you only excited to do the things you enjoy? Do you get bored and restless and try to squirm out of thing that your partner / friends enjoy? If you can’t share your partner’s happiness from the things they enjoy, it’s a good sign that you’re selfish.

          Selfishness is a sign of self – gratification. You are so self – centered and believe your needs are more important than everyone else’s needs.

          The selfish person is often nagged because they are insensitive to the needs of their partner. It may show you’re not listening to your partner.

          Selfish people are often control freaks. They are often perfectionists and are convinced they are the only capable people in a company or family.

          Selfish individuals are unwilling to share, give, or brainstorm with others. They generally choose to work alone.

          Selfish is all about the ego. This person knows what he wants and is willing to go after it. When he sees an obstacle, he probably becomes defiant and refuses to collaborate. Their refusal to give an inch is a symptom of classic selfishness. Why should he go out of his way to find what other people are feeling, their ideas, hopes, and ambitions?

          Self – centered people believe what they do in life is more meaningful and worthwhile than what others do. You may have a better job or get a bigger paycheck, but that doesn’t mean you should get preferential treatment. If you truly believe you’re more important and your opinions matter more, you’re being conceited and selfish.

          Selfish means you want it your way. You always like doing something your way or going to places you like even if your partner / friends want to do something different. If your partner / friends coax you to do something else or go to a different place, you sulk or pout the whole while.

          Selfish people don’t trust their partners easily. They are cautious about trusting them completely because they sincerely believe they’re the only one who can ever achieve happiness for themselves. They always look out for themselves first before looking out for others.

          Selfish people often find it hard to apologize over things that really matter and yet get angry or upset if others don’t apologize to them.

          Self – centered individuals put high expectations on others and when you fail to meet them, judgement follows. To help you meet their expectations, most people with big egos establish rules for you to follow.

          “How was your day?” is something a selfish person seldom asks. One therapist said that it is hard to feel like you really matter to someone who always dominates the conversation. It is as if you’re only there to stroke his ego.

          The selfish conversationalist is more concerned with defending their position than acknowledging your point of view.

          One article stated that it is hard for a selfish person to see their selfish side. All of us can be selfish at times and that’s not a bad thing. But if your selfish streak is less of an occasional occurrence and more of a behavioral trait, that’s something you need to pay attention to.

          Some of those really did hit home with me. How did you do? Seems we all have a ways to work on ourselves, doesn’t it?

          See you on the bricks!


On The Bricks

January 2, 2017

          A whole new year. What are we going to do to make ourselves better people this year? Let’s not focus on the things that deal with vanity, let’s consider doing something that improves our relationships with people. The best advice I ever got was to treat people the way you want to be treated and you’ll go a long ways to being a good person.

          Let’s focus on finding humor in things that we can’t change. Like watching your grandchild throw aside that expensive gift and play with the box it came in. Come one, you should have known that would happen. Quite worrying about the cost and smile that the kid is having so much fun.

          Let’s focus on letting go of material things that have a hold on us. Choose to own items, not have them own you. Go through your closet and box up that stuff you never wear, never use and either toss it or give it to someone. Being a hoarder is not a good goal to have.

          Let’s focus on joy in our lives. Make it a weekly practice to do something nice for someone without telling them you did it. Take out their trash, clean up a mess, send them a nice card, order pizza to be delivered to them (and be sure you pay for it).

          Let’s focus on focus. Set aside twenty minutes each day to catch your breath. Make yourself a cup of tea, put your feet up, and don’t answer the phone. Take a breather and you’ll be surprised at how much energy and happiness come with being content.

          This is a year that will be what we make of it. Some are starting their first New Year without a loved one that has recently passed, some are starting their first New Year with a whole new relationship, some are starting the New Year with sickness … but we can all start the New Year with hope and faith in the goodness of man. And we can live up to that faith.

          Wishing you the very best in 2017.

          Looking forward to seeing you on the bricks.

On The Bricks

December 2016

On The Bricks

July 2016

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June 2016

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May 2016

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May 2016 TV

PTCI Channel 2 video

May 2016

The Galleon Restaurant with Ian McCulloch