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On The Bricks

February 11, 2020

Interestingly enough, upon reflection of Lucas becoming a City Councilman, I realized that my eldest son, Justin Johnson, has long been on the church council and served as a volunteer fireman; my eldest daughter, Missy, (Lucas’ twin) is on the Texhoma, Texas, city council and her husband is on the school board; my youngest daughter, Lisa Schulz, is on the Gruver Economic Development committee for the City and I think is the Chamber of Commerce (yes, I might be exaggerating) and her husband has recently been named to the church council.

It is my opinion that we all owe some time to our community. Whether it is as a Sunday School teacher or as a Kid’s Inc. coach or a Main Street Guymon volunteer, we all need to give to our community to make sure that it is a good community. Public and civic service is not to make you more money or gain personal accolades. It’s because it’s the right thing to do.

Having my children all serving their communities gave me a feeling of completeness. Anyway, back to the email of advice. Here’s what I said to Lucas:

“The most important thing about public service is that you remember it is not about you, but about a job that needs done. Being part of a city council / church council / school board means that you are representing the public / parishioners. You’re not there to make sure your opinions are served, or that your pet projects get done before others, you are there to make decisions that are the best for the people and the entity in the long run.

“The difficult part about public service is listening to people and remembering there is a silent population that you cannot forget. Just because someone is loudest, does not mean they are the majority or they are right. You also have to take into consideration that the public does not understand all the issues needing to be considered in a decision. Which brings up part of your responsibility, which is very difficult …

“You need to be keeping the public informed. You make the effort, even if they do not especially want to learn. Invite them to give you their opinion. Invite them to listen to your opinion. Invite them to your meetings … and make them feel comfortable when they are there. Just because you have a vote does not mean that you’re more important than they are … you simply have more responsibility.

“This does not mean that you have a week long community meeting during your regular meetings, but that you have meetings open to the public that are for brainstorming and teaching and discussion … the official meetings are for making decisions that you should have been hearing about for a long time.

“Your job is serious, but you do not need to be eaten up with seriousness. Smile. Be courteous. Do not be condescending. Include the audience as much as you can without losing the ability to get a meeting finished in good time.

“Read what you’re supposed to read before the meetings. Talk to the public before the meeting, go to them as much as you can. Stand up to rumors and confront those who spread them, in a polite and sharing manner. Your goal is to get accurate information out and to gather accurate information. Public service is a responsibility.

“And always be thankful that you have members of the public who are concerned. They will take their attitude from you, most of the time, so be kind and be courteous.

“And remember, whatever you built will have to be maintained. Have a maintenance plan and have those who are the maintenance plan in on the discussion. Think more than a year down the road … how will this be used in ten years?  Who will use it?  What is the cost per actual person that needs it?  Where will the money come from to take care of it?  Be realistic. Be sensible.

“Never do something simply because you want people to like you. Be a good enough person that when you do something they don’t agree with, they still like you … that is the true goal. Gain their trust so they will believe in your decisions … and this is difficult to do and takes time. Listening and telling the truth are the fastest ways to gain people’s trust.”

And always thank those who are serving your community. If you haven’t, you need to. When you are in public service everyone with a complaint makes it a point to see you. But those who are happy with what is happening, seldom do. It’s a hard place to be. Thank one of your public servants today.

And I’ll see you on the bricks!

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On The Bricks

February 7, 2020

Well, helllooooo, February. The month blew in like a blue norther and surprised the heck out of me!

          Here’s some good advice I came upon and is well worth sharing … Everything I need to know about life, I learned from Noah’s Ark.

  1. Don’t miss the boat.
  2. Remember that we are all in the same boat.
  3. Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
  4. Stay fit. When you’re really old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
  5. Don’t listen to the critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
  6. Build your future on high ground.
  7. For safety sake, travel in pairs.
  8. Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
  9. When you’re stressed, float awhile.
  10. Remember, the ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
  11. No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

Famous Okie information: Actress Jennifer Garner (ex-wife of Ben Affleck) has an organic baby food business, Once Upon a Farm made with produce from her family’s farm in Locust Grove, Okla.

Keep Going on Your New Years Resolutions: If you want 2020 to be your year, don’t sit on the couch and wait for it. Go out. Make a change. Smile more. Be excited. Do new things. Throw away what you’ve been cluttering. Unfollow negative people on social media. Go to bed early. Wake up early. Be fierce. Don’t gossip. Show more gratitude. Do things that challenge you. Be brave.

Restaurant Team notes: The Main Street Guymon Restaurant Team has a goal to eat at every restaurant in Guymon and invite them to be a Main Street Guymon member. It is amazing the number of eating spots in our fair town! The first stop was the Ambassador Restaurant where the service was good and we loved having the owner, Jose, come by and visit. The Ambassador has a great breakfast all day long and the best club sandwich in town. Put onion rings on the order with it and it’s a fantastic lunch.

Things you might want to see in town:  The Texas County Livestock Show is Feb. 11-13 and there are a lot of people involved. Good luck to all the students involved and special blessings for all those who buy at the auction. We love that you support agriculture and our students!

The All Fired Up Art Gallery has a Valentine’s event on Feb. 13. From noon to 7 pm, you can partake in many things chocolate (heavenly) for $25 per person.

The Pub on the Bricks has entertainment on Feb. 14 and 15 evenings, stand – up comedy ventriloquist. General admission is $20 a person. And while you go out on Valentines evening, the kids can go to the YMCA for Kids Night Out for ages 2 to 13 from 6 to 10 pm. It’s only $10 a child.

The Main Street Guymon Awards Evening is on Feb. 18 with a dinner and a chance to honor some of our many community volunteers and businesses. Tickets are $25 per person and the theme is Roaring 20s.

It might be cold in Guymon, but all is good!

See you on the bricks.

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On The Bricks

January 23, 2020

There are many groups in our community that help you out when you need a hand up. They are all good. They all serve their purpose. We need each one of them.

Some of these groups are very specific in what they help with like Oklahoma Panhandle Partners who helps people who are fighting cancer. And Loaves and Fishes who helps put groceries in empty pantries. And Love Does that pays for school lunches for students who get behind.

Catholic Charities is a special group that helps in ways that many others are not able to help in. When you give a dollar to Catholic Charities, 82 cents is spent on direct client services. And 78% of those clients are non – Catholic. Thirty – seven percent of those clients are under the age of 18 years. Seventy – eight percent of the clients have an annual income of less than $15,000.

Those are statistics nationwide.

In the Oklahoma Panhandle, the office located in Guymon, last year they served 294 clients with 73% non – Catholic. Receiving information or referrals were 2,403 clients. Half the clients have an annual income of less than $15,000. Client assistance and emergency rent and utility assistance given was $17,013.

The $121,593 needed for the Oklahoma Panhandle services, goes for Family Case Management, Emergency Rent and Utility Assistance, Refugee Resettlement Services, and Immigration Legal Services. This amount is garnered with 16% from foundation grants, 30% from regional parish support (money from donations in the Panhandle), and 54% from non – regional parish support.

We are lucky to have Catholic Charities working with us in our community. It is good that we have so many people devoted to making this world less harsh, to being helpful and caring.

Now, it is true that taking care of others is important and it gives our lives meaning when we do such things. There is also the fact that we must not neglect ourselves. Maybe you have determined you will make some changes in your life in 2020. It is good to do so. Stand true because it is good for you to do so.

Thought for the New Year: Start by doing one push up. Start by drinking one glass of water. Start by paying toward one debt. Start by reading one page. Start by making one sale. Start by deleting one old contact. Start by walking one lap. Start by attending one event. Start by writing one paragraph. Start today. Repeat tomorrow.

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On The Bricks

January 2, 2020

Did you miss a chance to make an impression over the holidays with a wonderful insightful toast?

When you do a toast, you don’t want to embarrass yourself. So, here’s a few tips for the perfect wedding toast taken from Toastmasters magazine. You can rearrange them a little to be a good toast for almost any event, including Christmas or New Years Eve or Day, a wedding or even a divorce, maybe a child’s baptism.

Where there is a gathering, there could be a need to celebrate the occasion with a heartfelt toast. These proven tips are geared to help you deliver a memorable toast with confidence and finesse.

  • Identify yourself. Open with a brief explanation of your relationship to whomever is being celebrated before beginning the toast.
  • Be prepared. The best toasts include an opening, a body, and a conclusion.
  • Stay on topic. Although you may be nervous, stay focused on the person and their special day. The toast is not about you.
  • Get personal. A toast should be original, heartfelt, and customized for the occasion.
  • Use humor but avoid telling potentially embarrassing stories and using offensive language.
  • Be creative. Avoid clichés and consider using a relevant quote to illustrate your words.
  • Be brief. A toast should last no longer than three minutes.
  • Stand; lift your glass by the stem and say, “I’d like to propose a toast.” Pause to allow guests to shift their attention toward you and give them time to lift their glasses. When you start speaking, lower your glass to about waist height.
  • Practice makes perfect. Rehearse your message in advance in front of a group of friends.

Maybe at your next social event you can toast the party host or the those in attendance.

It certainly beat the old “Here’s to you and here’s to me, in hope we never disagree. And if we do, then to heck with you, here’s to me.” That old stand – by doesn’t make you many friends.

Thought for the New Year: I’m walking into 2020 with a clear heart and mind. If you owe me, don’t worry about it – you’re welcome. If you wronged me, it’s all good – lesson learned. If you’re angry with me, you won. I’ve let it go. If we aren’t speaking, it’s cool. I love you and wish you well. If I’ve wronged you, I apologize. It wasn’t intentional. I’m grateful for every experience that I have received. Life is too short for pent up anger, grudges, extra stress or pain. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself. Make 2020 a year of forgiveness and a season of positivity.

See you on the bricks!

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On The Bricks

December 26, 2019

A gracious act can resonate for a lifetime.

When someone does something kind for you, it reassures you of your own worthiness and reminds you that the world is not a dark place.

David Sarasohn explains this more in an article “How Kindness Appreciates” in the Nov. 2019 Rotarian magazine.

“The kindnesses that stay with you, the ones that light your life for years to come, don’t involve the bestowing of stuff. Material generosity, the giving of things, is admirable, but our appreciation may last no longer than the stuff itself. A meal or a sweater or even a watch carries an expiration date; someone putting himself forward for you at a key moment stays with you as long as you yourself deal with other people. In the long – term database we each carry around, there are more entries filed under ‘kindness, deeply remembered acts of’ than most of us imagine.

“In 1970, after James Baker’s wife died of cancer, George H.W. Bush suggested that his fellow tennis club member might find some distraction in helping out on Bush’s Senate campaign. Baker was reluctant; he noted that for one thing, he, like most people in Texas at that time, was a Democrat. Oh, said Bush, he didn’t care about that. He just hated to see Baker looking so sad all the time.

“Bush’s reaching out to a friend led to Baker’s eventually becoming White House chief of staff, secretary of the treasury, and secretary of state. It didn’t work out badly for Bush, either. And 48 years later, in his eulogy at Bush’s state funeral, Baker quoted the former president as saying, ‘When a friend is hurting, show that you care,’ and ‘Be kind to people.’

“Kindness is more than an action. It’s a power, even a superpower. It empowers the receiver, giving him something that can strengthen him years later, after the original circumstances have faded like old election predictions. It also empowers the giver, because making a positive impact on someone’s life is the most powerful ability imaginable, much stronger than Superman’s X-ray vision.”

In this season of giving, try and give some extra kindness. Be a blessing.

Teenagers are invited to the Guymon Public Library on Dec. 30 for a Do It Yourself (DIY) Dream Board building. The class starts at 5 pm. Go by the library and find out about what’s happening there!

Special Game Day is the Noble Center in Good on Jan. 12 for families with a member that has special needs. The Sunday afternoon fun starts at 3 pm and Seaboard Foods is providing free hot dogs at the end of the game. The teams would love to have your support. This game of Kickball is put on by the OPSU Baseball Team in a partnership with Main Street Guymon. Such a great event to be a part of! Call 580-338-6246 to register to attend.

See you on the bricks!

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On The Bricks

December 4, 2019

Reading something on Facebook, I realize the likelihood that the story might not be totally true, the person named with the quote has a good chance of not being accurate. But there are some great stories, whether they are real or made up. Some that have a good lesson. Like Aesop.

Here’s one that I read that I think is good.

“’Dad, I think I’m old enough to know now,’ says the son. ‘Is there a Santa Claus?’

“Not being the world’s fastest thinker, I stalled for a time. ‘I agree you’re old enough, but before I tell you, I have a question for you. You see, the truth is a dangerous gift. Once you know something, you can’t unknow it. Once you know the truth about Santa Claus, you will never again understand and relate to him as you do now. So, my question is, ‘Are you sure you want to know?’

“’Yes, I want to know,’ the son answered.

“’Yes, there is a Santa Claus,’ explained the father, ‘but he’s not an old man with a beard in a red suit. That’s what we tell the kids. Kids are too young to understand the true nature of Santa Claus, so we explain it to them in a way they can understand. The truth about Santa Claus is that he’s not a person at all; he’s an idea.

“’Think of all those presents Santa gave you over the years. I bought those myself. I watched you open them. And did it bother me that you didn’t thank me? Of course not! In fact, it gave me great pleasure. You see, Santa Claus is the idea of giving for the sake of giving, without thought of thanks or acknowledgement.

“’When I saw the woman collapse on the subway last week and called for help, I knew she’d never know it was me who summoned the ambulance. I was being Santa Claus when I did that.

“’Now that you know, you are part of it. You have to be Santa Claus too. That means you can never tell a young kid the secret, and you have to help us select Santa presents for them, and most important, you have to look for opportunities to help people. Got it?’”

Enjoy the magic of Christmas. And share the magic of Christmas.

Consider taking a moment to attend a church of your choice during the Advent season. I know Main Street member churches St. Peter’s Catholic and Victory Center would be happy to see you there.

Consider attending some of the Christmas programs going on about town. The Christmas Open House, Shop and Dine, Christmas Tree Lighting (and Santa coming to visit) are all happening on Fri., Dec. 6. Bring the kids down and have hot cocoa and cookies at City Hall. Enjoy being part of the community during this fun time. There are carriage rides available, the Guymon Community Theatre is having “The Nativity” production at 7 pm that evening. Loads of fun downtown on the 6th.

The next day you can have photos with Santa at Back on the Rack, 120 NW 10th.

On Dec. 10th is the great fun at the library, “A Dicken’s of a Party” that includes Christmas book reading for the kids, Christmas music from locals, and fun. That runs from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

The OPSU Christmas Gala, with the Chamber Singers and guests performing, with a dinner on Dec. 13 and 14. Get your reservations at www.Christmas.opsu.edu.

The Nativity is also the weekend of 13, 14, and 15.

Lions Shopping Spree happens early the morning of Dec. 14 and they need volunteers to help the kids shop. What a great way to help!

That same day from 9 am to 5 pm is the Christmas Village with gifts and more to see and buy at the Connection Church, 1901 N. Lelia, and the Nazarene Church, 2214 N. Sunset.

The Methodists have the Christmas Cantata “Sing and Shout for Joy” at their 10:50 service on Dec. 15. They invite all to come and enjoy.

Be a part of the magic. Get the Christmas spirit and remember the story of Christmas … and the one of Santa Claus.

See you on the bricks during this holiday season!

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On The Bricks

December 2, 2019

One of my kids gave me a book to fill out that asks all sorts of questions that our kids might one day wonder about. Often times, they don’t wonder about our lives prior to the kids until we’re gone. So, this book asks the questions now and you fill out the book for the kids to read when they’re finally curious. Some of the questions are odd, some are really hard to answer, and some bring back great memories that we should make a point to tell the kids.

You don’t have to have a book. You can just answer the questions and figure out how and when you want to give them to your kids. Maybe with their Christmas present? Maybe as a Christmas present?

What would you like to make sure your kids know?

I’ll share a couple of my answers.

“The twins come from Granny Grantham. And there are many of them in the family. She also gave us our height, but the strong chin comes from Grandpa Grantham. The cleft in the chin is also Grantham, but the really deep one is a Johnson deal.

“The lawyer … has my will. Get along during it. Don’t allow any problems to happen during the settling of it. If anyone causes any trouble, I swear I will come back with a 2 x 4 and use it on them. Our parents don’t owe us what they’ve earned. It is theirs to give as they wish. As parents we need to teach our children how to work and how to be responsible and of good character. Girls and boys. That is a parent’s job, not giving their kids everything they want and catering to them.

“Know with a certainty deep within your heart that your dad and I loved one another when we brought you into this world and that when we met each of you, we found ourselves loving you guys even more. We weren’t perfect, aren’t perfect, but we love our children. It does not matter that you’re different than we imagined. It does not matter that life happens and we all countless times show our fickle humanness. We love you and I will always love your dad for giving me you guys and for being partners in raising you to the best we could. You four are our opus and we know this.

“Start each day with something that makes you happy. I love my coffee and when I take that first drink, it is full – on a drink of happiness. Nobody should have to start their day with a grouch. If that is you, have someone knock you upside the head. There are probably several who are wanting to.

“Nobody is responsible for your happiness except you. Nor are there others who you can blame your unhappiness on. You have decided to be unhappy. It is all on you, if you are.

“Save some money every month unless you want to work until the day you die. Most of the things we buy we don’t care about in a month. Remember that. Get a grip on the difference between a want and a need.

“Lie in bed at the end of each day and thank God for each of the blessings he brought to you that day. Don’t treat God like a sugar daddy, always asking for favors – end each day thanking him. And start each day inviting him to be with you.

“Remember, if you talk about other people – they have a right to talk about you. So, let’s try our best to just say positive things about people – or stay away from them.

“Always, when something bothers you about someone – take an honest look at yourself because you likely do / say the same things. Judge ourselves by the same standards as we judge others. If you do this honestly, and look at yourself with truth, you should find yourself being more kind to others. “Pay attention to other people. Don’t assume you know them, what they have, what they want. Buying a gift for someone because it is something you want for yourself is shallow. Not buying something someone wants because you don’t agree may be egotistical and judgemental – but, then, we shouldn’t gift things that are bad for someone, so just be reasonable. Gifts should not be a game changer in a relationship, things are not as important as people.

“Never miss a chance to tell someone thank you. There is never too much appreciation shown.

“Learn something new every day so your conversation is never boring. Your opinions aren’t good conversation. People are drawn to those who tell entertaining and SHORT stories or who talk positive about other people. “One time, Missy (my daughter) had a birthday dinner for Nate Leota (an OPSU football player). She invited Nate’s friends Nick, Jessica, and Neptune. She invited me – maybe because I would give Nate a ride? The meal was crazy good and very time consuming to make. And talk about consuming – those boys can consume! Missy and I posted pictures of the evening on Facebook. Lisa (my other daughter) saw them and promptly told her sister that she would have liked to have been there, that it hurt her feelings she hadn’t been invited.

“There are several reasons I tell this story. First, the fact that Missy and Cody gave that evening to Nate says so much of what I love about life. Share. Give. Be a blessing to others.

“The second part is Lisa’s reaction. She wanted to be a part and she had her feelings hurt. Rather than have her feelings fester (which makes for unhappy and bitter people who are no fun to be around), she promptly told Missy. She didn’t whine and complain to other people, she talked to Missy. “Missy listened. Missy told Lisa why she kept the invites low and life went on. Neither took it personal. Neither held a grudge. Neither put anyone else in the middle. It didn’t affect the family. It didn’t make Sunday lunch uncomfortable. In fact, some jokes were made about it.

“This is healthy. This is family. This is who we are. If you’re an adult, this is how an adult should act. Mature. Not spiteful. Not hateful. Not making division.

“We will be disappointed by each other all the time, over and over. Don’t let these disappointments poison your soul and, ultimately, the family. Accept and forgive and the same acceptance and forgiveness will be granted to you when it is needed. You were not born to agree upon everything. You were born to love one another. Period.

“We are wonderful and unique … just like everyone else!”

If you’re inclined, write what you want your family to know about you and want’s important to you. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. Just put your ideas down and share with them. If you want to ….

See you on the bricks!

Categories
On The Bricks

November 20, 2019

Peggy Wheatcroft decided when she turned 80 years – old she was going to give presents rather than expect to receive them.

She bought 80 blue envelopes and place four $20 bills in each along with a self – addressed stamped postcard and a note asking people, in honor of her birthday to give the money to anyone they chose.

“Find someone who least expects it,” she wrote. “Then write … and tell me about your experience. Let’s spread a small bit of joy!!”

The weekend of her 80th birthday, she started handing out the envelopes to family members and friends who were in town for the wedding of one of her grandsons. She continued to deliver envelopes over the next year until all 80 had been handed out.

“As postcards arrived,” Wheatcroft wrote, “two things stood out. The first was the joy people experienced when giving in person. Many sent me heartfelt letters, some with photos of the receiver. The second was the rapport created when givers explained the source of the money to recipients. It was as if they were teaming up to help an 80 – year – old celebrate her birthday.

“People who gave the $80 as a lump sum often gave it to a person struggling with expenses. One woman heard a teller at her bank say that she would be out for six weeks for reconstructive surgery after a double mastectomy. The woman reached into her purse and gave the teller the $80 and my note. On her postcard she told how the woman cried and cried.

“Other people left a big tip for a service worker – a waiter or a gas station attendant. A mother of two young children wrote about seeing a boy of 11 or 12 walking her street on a summer day asking for work. After he’d labored an hour in the heat, she walked over and told him how much she admired his work ethic and determination. She gave him a $20 bill, and a huge smile crossed his face.”

One couple bought 52 pairs of socks and took them to a shelter right before Thanksgiving.

“My gifts had unexpected ripple effects,” said Wheatcroft. “One man whom I gave an envelope continues to give, three years later. He says he’s now more aware of the people around him and is more comfortable with giving to strangers.”

Giving, not receiving, turned into one of the best presents for this lady.

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On The Bricks

November 13, 2019

The end of 2019 is fast approaching. We have Thanksgiving soon to be here, a time to be reflective of the many things that we are grateful for, one of those is, hopefully, family. The other, I pray for you, is community. And we need to be happy with ourself, the person that God made us, and find the purpose for our being here.

Albert Schweitzer said, “The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” It is important to serve and it’s time we slow down on all the excuses for not doing so

Here’s another thing I read, and I don’t know if all are correct, but I think it gets the point across.

“The next time you think you have an excuse why God can’t use you consider the following:

  • Noah was a drunkard,
  • Abraham was too old,
  • Isaac was a daydreamer,
  • Jacob was a liar,
  • Leah was ugly,
  • Joseph was abused,
  • Moses was a murderer,
  • Gideon was afraid,
  • Samson had long hair,
  • Rahab was a prostitute,
  • Timothy was too young,
  • David had an illicit affair,
  • Elijah was suicidal,
  • Isaiah preached naked,
  • Job was bankrupt,
  • John the Baptist ran around in a loincloth and ate locusts,
  • Peter was hot – tempered,
  • John was self – righteous.
  • The disciples fell asleep while praying,
  • Martha fretted about everything,
  • Mary Magdalene was demon-possessed,
  • The boy with the fish and five rolls of bread was too obscure,
  • The Samaritan woman was divorced more than once,
  • Zacchaeus was too small,
  • Paul was too religious,
  • And Lazarus was dead.

Now, no more excuses!”

Remember, if you’re waiting until the perfect time or until you’re perfect, that never happens! Take a step the way you want to go and let’s get started! I choose to be the family and community member that does something positive and helpful for others. That’s my promise for this year. Even though I know I am imperfect and make many errors, that is my challenge for 2020. Might as well get working on it now!

Another good thought to remember along those lines is a quote from Ninon de L’Enclos, “That which is … beautiful is not always good, but that which is good is always beautiful.” I am choosing to be more beautiful this upcoming year.

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly, you are doing the impossible,” said St. Francis of Assisi.

Let’s get started on this positive journey!

See you on the bricks.

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On The Bricks

November 5, 2019

One of my kids gave me a book to fill out that asks all sorts of questions that our kids might one day wonder about. Often times, they don’t wonder about our lives prior to the kids until we’re gone. So, this book asks the questions now and you fill out the book for the kids. Some of the questions are odd, some are really hard to answer, and some bring back great memories that we should make a point to tell the kids.
You don’t have to have a book. You can just answer the questions and figure out how and when you want to give them to your kids. Maybe with their Christmas present? Maybe as a Christmas present?
What would you like to make sure your kids know?
I’ll share my answers.
“The twins come from Granny Grantham. And there are many of them in the family. She also gave us our height, but the strong chin comes from Grandpa Grantham. The cleft in the chin is also Grantham, but the really deep one is a Johnson deal.
“The lawyer … has my will. Get along during it. Don’t allow any problems to happen during the settling of it. If anyone causes any trouble, I swear I will come back with a 2 x 4 and use it on them. Our parents don’t owe us what they’ve earned. It is theirs to give as they wish. Our children we need to teach how to work and how to be responsible and of good character. Girls and boys. That is a parent’s job, not giving their kids everything they want and catering to them.
“Know with a certainty deep within your heart that your dad and I loved one another when we brought you into this world and that when we met each of you, we found ourselves loving you guys even more. We weren’t perfect, aren’t perfect, but we early love our children. It does not matter that you’re different than we imagined. It does not matter that life happens and we all countless times show our fickle humanness. We love you and I will always love your dad for giving me you guys and for being partners in raising you to the best we could. You four are our opus and we know this.
“Start each day with something that makes you happy. I love my coffee and when I take that first drink, it is full – on a drink of happiness. Nobody should have to start their day with a grouch. If that is you, have someone knock you upside the head. There are probably several who are wanting to.
“Nobody is responsible for your happiness except you. Nor are they who you can blame your unhappiness on. You have decided to be unhappy. It is all on you, if you are.
“Save some money every month unless you want to work until the day you die. Most of the things we buy we don’t care about in a month. Remember that. Get a grip on the difference between a want and a need.
“Lie in bed at the end of each day and thank God for each of the blessings he brought to you that day. Don’t treat God like a sugar daddy, always asking for favors – end each day thanking him.
“Remember, if you talk about other people – they have a right to talk about you. So, let’s try our best to just say positive things about people – or stay away from them.
“Always, when something bothers you about someone – take an honest look at yourself because you likely do / say the same things. Judge ourselves by the same standards as we judge others. If you do this honestly, and look at yourself with truth, you should find yourself being more kind to others.
“Pay attention to other people. Don’t assume you know them, what they have, what they want. Buying a gift for someone because it is something you want for yourself is shallow. Not buying something someone wants because you don’t agree may be egotistical and judgemental – but, then, we shouldn’t gift things that are bad for someone, so just be reasonable. Gifts should not be a game changer in a relationship, things are not as important as people.
“Never miss a chance to tell someone thank you. There is never too much appreciation shown.
“Learn something new every day so your conversation is never boring. Your opinions aren’t good conversation. People are drawn to those who tell entertaining and SHORT stories or who talk positive about other people.
“One time, Missy (my daughter) had a birthday dinner for Nate Leota (an OPSU football player). She invited Nate’s friends Nick, Jessica, and Neptune. She invited me – maybe because I would give Nate a ride? The meal was crazy good and very time consuming to make. And talk about consuming – those boys can consume! Missy and I posted pictures of the evening on Facebook. Lisa (my other daughter) saw them and promptly told her sister that she would have liked to have been there, that it hurt her feelings she hadn’t been invited.
“There are several reasons I tell this story. First, the fact that Missy and Cody gave that evening to Nate says so much of what I love about life. Share. Give. Be a blessing to others.
“The second part is Lisa’s reaction. She wanted to be a part and she had her feelings hurt. Rather than have her feelings fester (which makes for unhappy and bitter people who are no fun to be around), she promptly told Missy. She didn’t whine and complain to other people, she talked to Missy.
“Missy listened. Missy told Lisa why she kept the invites low and life went on. Neither took it personal. Neither held a grudge. Neither put anyone else in the middle. It didn’t affect the family. It didn’t make Sunday lunch uncomfortable. In fact, some jokes were made about it.
“This is healthy. This is family. This is who we are. If you’re an adult, this is how an adult should act. Mature. Not spiteful. Not hateful. Not making division.
“We will be disappointed by each other all the time, over and over. Don’t let these disappointments poison your soul and, ultimately, the family. Accept and forgive and the same acceptance and forgiveness will be granted to you when it is needed. You were not born to agree upon everything. You were born to love one another. Period.
“We are wonderful and unique … just like everyone else!”
If you’re inclined, write what you want your family to know about you and want’s important to you. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. Just put your ideas down and share with them. If you want to ….
See you on the bricks!