Proud of His Integrity

January 6, 2016

I am a big believer in integrity. I am a woman of faith who knows that words are important. It’s important that you know that before I relate the following story.

Several years ago I worked in what was essentially the unemployment office through a temp agency. I worked there for about a year and a half, and enjoyed much of the job. I did encounter some interesting people during my time there. One in particular has been on my mind this morning.

A man came in to apply for some openings in a security agency. As part of the application process for these positions you had to answer some what-if scenarios. They were fairly standard questions along the lines of: You notice someone carrying something bulky out of a plant. What do you do? This particular man came to me and told me he couldn’t answer the question. I asked him why. He told me he was a pastor. I told him I respected that, but I didn’t understand why he couldn’t answer the question. His answer was that he wouldn’t lie, and if that’s what it took he was fine with not getting the job.

I tried to explain that they weren’t asking him to lie; they were asking him to think about what he might do if he found himself in that situation. He told me that he wasn’t in that situation and wouldn’t lie. I tried several different ways to explain this to him. He just kept arguing that he wouldn’t lie, even if that meant he wouldn’t get the job. He got more and more stiff-necked, until I finally told him that if he couldn’t bring himself to answer the questions it didn’t make any sense to turn in the application. He left with a rather smug nod of his head.

This man was so focused on his “I won’t lie” line that he was incapable of listening to anyone else. He had dug in his heels. It cost him a job that, from his story when he arrived, he really needed.

I’m not suggesting that anyone should compromise their morals or values. What I am saying is that it’s important not to get so caught up in your own line of discourse that you miss the point someone else is making. It might just help you out.


You Didn’t Really Try

June 15, 2015

I am amused/frustrated by the number of people who will tell me that something didn’t work. They’ve tried that. When I ask how long they tried or how many attempts they gave it, the answer is almost always once or twice. Well, then you didn’t really try.

Seriously, if you are attempting something new, whether for your business, with your parenting, in your marriage, you need to give it an honest try. Commit to the new thing for a length of time. Give it 100% for a while.

In parenting, things usually get worse before they get better. Why? Because the temper tantrum (or whatever behavior you’re trying to stop) used to work. The thought process of your child will be “I just need to do it harder/longer/louder.” Don’t give up.

In business, it often takes weeks or months for results to show up. And, if it’s a new marketing strategy, remember that it takes 3-7 touches for most people to respond.

If you want real change in your life, you need to give new behaviors a chance to work. Give it an honest try. It might just change your life.

Michelle Duggar, Wendy Williams, and Me

March 1, 2014

Warning: This blog post deals with the subject of sex.

I’m a fan of The Wendy Williams Show. It’s the celebrity dish that I enjoy. She had an interesting bit on the other day about Michelle Duggar.

In case you’re not familiar with the Duggars, they are a large family that has a reality show on TLC, 19 Kids and Counting. Michelle and her husband have 19 children, though I understand a few of their children are now grown and on their own. I’d tell you more, but I’ve never seen the show. I have an antenna, so I don’t get TLC. Everything I know about them comes from entertainment shows and a couple of online-searches.

Back to Wendy Williams. During her Hot Topics segment she talked about an interview that Michelle Duggar had done. They asked Michelle about her secrets to a happy marriage. She suggested that a wife “say yes to sex even when you’re tired.” She went on to say that a friend told her “Be available. Anyone can fix him lunch, but only one person can meet that physical need of love that he has, and you always need to be available when he calls.” Wendy asked her audience to clap if they agreed. A majority of them did. Eventually Wendy admitted that she agreed, too, but would find the suggestion easier to accept from someone who “didn’t have that 80s hair.”

I found that really interesting. No, Michelle Duggar doesn’t have the latest hairstyle. She’s not a model. She’s the mother of a large brood. She lives in Tontitown, Arkansas. I’m not sure how big that town is, but I’m guessing it isn’t a large metropolis. She probably fits in well with her neighbors. And, I imagine she’s had some version of that hairstyle since the 80s. That’s what a lot of women do.

The thing is, it’s not Wendy Williams (or anyone else) she’s trying to attract or impress. Clearly her husband finds her attractive, even with “that 80s hair.” She’s not giving hair style advice. The way she looks has nothing to do with whether her advice (which she’d been asked to give) is good or bad.

For the record, I agree with Michelle Duggar. When I talk with someone about the physical side of marriage, I usually suggest that a wife be as available to her husband as possible. (I would also suggest that a husband be as available to his wife as possible, but I don’t usually have those conversations with men.) I suggest that if a woman isn’t really in the mood at the moment her husband makes his move, instead of saying no, she respond that she could be persuaded. Women usually need a little longer to switch gears than men do. When she’s doing the dishes, or the laundry, or helping the kids with their homework, she isn’t usually thinking sexy thoughts. A bit of extra snuggling can work wonders to help a woman switch from homemaker/mommy mode to sexy wife mode.

So, good for you, Michelle Duggar. It sounds like you have a solid, happy marriage.


February 13, 2014

I had an interesting experience recently. I was at an event where the speaker was talking about avoiding distractions. While she was speaking she was completely distracted by the two women who were having a private conversation instead of paying attention to her. How ironic.

I have two observations. The first is that it is incredibly rude to talk while the speaker is talking. Anything beyond “I never thought of that” or “What did she say?” should wait until after the speaker is done.

Second, when you’re speaking you need to be able to shut out those kinds of distractions. Granted, this particular speaker was talking about reducing the number of distractions in your workspace, but, since she’s a speaker, this was her workspace for that evening. I do a lot of speaking. I know how frustrating it is to feel like people are missing something key you’re saying. But, stopping to single them out (whether by saying something or simply waiting until they sense the silence and tune back in) is disruptive to the entire group. Respect the ones who are listening enough to keep going. I know that’s easier said than done, but it’s the professional way to handle things.

Banning Babies

January 16, 2014

A few restaurants have recently made the news for banning children. I’ve witnessed several debates about this on various talk shows. And, I’m probably going to make some enemies here.

First, let me say that I LOVE children. My husband and I have many honorary grandchildren (no actual grandchildren yet). We work with small children at church. If you see a very furry guy and a short woman with flippy red hair both cooing at random babies in the grocery, it’s probably us. I even carry two different finger puppets in my purse to entertain little ones wherever I am. So, I’m not one of those people who just doesn’t like children.

That said, I don’t have a problem with fine dining restaurants banning children. It’s their restaurant. They have the right to set the rules. If you don’t like the rules, choose another restaurant. If enough people feel the same way, the restaurant will either close or be forced to change their rule. So, let me address some of the comments I’ve heard.

If you ban children you should ban the annoying, loud-talking drunk guy. Of course. And, no one questions the restaurant when they throw that annoying, loud-talking drunk guy out. However, say something to a parent about a screaming baby or a child running around the table, and you’re suddenly mean and evil.

Children are entitled to good food. Of course they are. They can get that at restaurants who welcome children. You can’t tell me that this handful of restaurants is the only place to get good food. It’s not like you have only two choices—fine dining or fast food.

Children need to learn how to eat in nice places. Yes, they do. And, if parents were teaching small children how to behave properly, this wouldn’t be an issue. Actually, they need to learn how to behave properly, no matter where they are. So, teach them to behave at the place with the clown. Then, teach them how to behave at the local diner or family restaurant chain. When they reach an age at which they are welcome in these restaurants, they’ll know exactly what to do.

Parents deserve to be able to eat in nice restaurants. I agree. They also deserve a night out without the children occasionally. If the babysitter couldn’t make it at the last minute, change your plans. I know it’s a pain, but changing plans is part of being a parent.

I know my view probably isn’t popular. That’s okay. I’ve never really been that popular anyway.

Those Pagan Christmas Symbols

December 6, 2013

I’m reading a book about making Christmas count, (25 Days, 26 Ways to Make this Your Best Christmas Ever). It’s an advent book that tackles a different aspect of the Christmas season on each day from December 1 through December 25.

The reading for today addresses Christmas trees. The author, Ace Collins, made an interesting point. A caller to a radio program on which Mr. Collins was being interviewed pointed out that Christmas trees, along with most of the other decorations we associate with Christmas, have pagan roots. The caller felt that Christians, and especially churches, should eschew all of those things that did not have “Christian roots.” Mr. Collins asked the caller if he had been a Christian all his life. The caller said he became a Christian at 16; he was now in his 30s. Mr. Collins pointed out that, using this same thinking, both he and the caller should be kicked out of the church. After all, they both have some pagan roots.

I love Mr. Collins’ answer. I occasionally encounter people with the same opinion as the caller in Mr. Collins’ story. I have pointed out that the origin of the tradition doesn’t take away from what it has come to mean today, but I’ve never thought of it in quite the way Mr. Collins approached it.

So, I will embrace my family traditions of the Christmas tree, the wreath, gift-giving, and the celebration of Christ’s birth on December 25 (even though that is almost certainly not the actual anniversary of the birth of the Christ child), taking solace in the knowledge that they have been redeemed from their pagan roots in much the same way as I have been.

The Nativity

November 18, 2013

Christmas is coming. Everywhere you look you’ll see lovely nativity scenes. I love nativities. They’re a reminder that something wonderful can come from something that appears to be small.

I was thinking recently about that first nativity. The night when Jesus was born. Was Mary scared? Here she was, no female friend to help her. Did one of the women in the inn hear her cries and come to her aid? How about the innkeeper’s wife?

Was Joseph freaked out? He was a carpenter, so how much did he know about childbirth? Was he at least familiar enough with animals that he’d helped bring a few goats or sheep into the world? Could he be of any help at all?

The nativities we see this season will be neat and clean. They will be softly illuminated. I wonder about that dark, smelly cave where Mary gave birth. “Laying the babe in a manger” sounds nice until you think about the fact that you’re talking about a feed trough where the livestock was probably drooling not long before. When the shepherds arrived they’d been out in the fields with the sheep. I bet they didn’t smell so fresh, either.

I’m not trying to take away from the majesty of Christmas. It’s just that life is messy. It’s been messy since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. The good news is that you never know what glorious thing might be right around the next corner disguised as just another kid in a barn.