Books are my life

I have been a reader, writer and collector of books for more decades than I want to admit. IMG_6558So with the digital age pushing e-books and devices on which to read them, the demise of the print book was imminent.

Or was it?

I silently cheered for the print book because it was a part of who I was. Something about the touch and feel of a printed book was comforting. But I too was a computer geek, having written my articles and print books on none other than a Mac or iPad for years. So I accepted its departure, knowing in some small way, I had played my part in the death of the printed book.

Around about 2012, you know, when we finally found out the world was not flat, everyone had either a Kindle, a tablet or access to some electronic device on which to read books. So there we were in 2012 (don’t quote me on the exact date as the statistics vary). The announcement came – that e-book sales had finally surpassed that of the print version.

Good bye, printed book, I will miss you.

My grandchildren’s children will come to museums and ask, “Mommy, what is that?” To which my descendant would reply, “That’s a book. It was printed on paper for hundreds, possibly thousands of years before it was completely eliminated by 2015.”

But fast forward to 2017. Now for sure we know the world is not flat and everyone over the age of 5 owns an e-device. So, let’s check the statistics again. Surely there are no more books being printed on paper.

We have come of age – the electronic age.
Wait, What?

Print books have once again surpassed the sales of e-books? Is this a misprint? I thought I was the only one who still (quietly) favored the printed paper copy to the e-version on my device. Turns out I am not alone and for good reason. The biggest one is probably this – so many of us spend countless hours a day staring at computer screens as part of our job, that the last thing we want to do is come home at night, crawl into bed and cuddle up with a hard, cold computer screen. But a book? It’s like an old friend that has been waiting all day to reconnect.

So what about cutting down trees? Controversial as the subject may be, I will address it. If there is one thing I know about trees – they like to grow. Where I come from, reforestation can happen over a couple of weeks. Yes, I said weeks. The lawn in my parents back yard, if left uncut for a few weeks, will have multiple saplings growing, some of which can be up to 1 1/2 feet high. Left to itself, the lawn would become a shrub in just one season. When my great grandfather planted the hedge between the property and the road, little did he know that almost 80 years later, he would have created a mini-forest with some trees reaching more than 30 feet high. In my lifetime alone, I have seen the forest reserve near our home town, replenish itself to maturity twice after being wiped out first by forest fire and then later logged (using ethical logging methods, of course!) Today, you still can’t see the trees for the forest! 😉

So, why have we made this abrupt about-face? There are many reasons, the Huffington Post spells it out perfectly here.

Whether you are a fan of viral Youtuber, Tai Lopez or not, he has arguably one of the largest online book clubs in the world. Even though he downloads digital versions to his iPhone, he still purchases the print books because he more partial to them than their electronic rendition. He says, “… even with all this technology I still prefer good old fashioned books.”

Another of my peers, Markus Rothkranz, creates both digital and print depiction of the books he writes. He too, feels there is something special about holding and feeling an actual book in your hand that is missing in its electronic counterpart.

And so, I plan to spend the rest of this Saturday morning with my cup of coffee, bagel and a good book. And no, this is not an April Fool’s joke. Books really are here to stay.

What if?

What if only 100 people read my blog post?

What if I only sold 60 copies of my book?

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What if only one publisher ever saw my manuscript?

Would I be considered a success?

If the message of my book was just to pass on information to my three children, then to sell 60 copies would be a bonus.

If the recent blog post I penned was just a way for me to express my thoughts and feelings of the day, then sharing with 100 people would be substantial.

However, if the message contained in my manuscript was so powerful, it had the potential to influence the masses, it would be no less than tragic if it sat on the desk of an editor until it got swept away in the evening trash.

Writers write. Editors edit. Publishers publish. All with the same goal in mind – getting the message to the people. I have read books and heard lectures and listened to media, all the while gaining knowledge and wisdom. What good is it if I don’t implement it or better yet, share it with others who too can benefit from my expertise. A life not shared is wasted.

But alas, it is far from wasted. I wrote, an editor edited and a publisher published. And now we have the finished product. Want to see the message I want to convey to a hurting world?

Check it out…

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Young or old, male or female, I am confident that everyone will find something within these pages that will inspire him/her. Happy 2017!

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“Just Get a Job”

Just go get a job.

Have you ever said that phrase to anyone? Has anyone said to you? Regardless of who is delivering it, the phrase is often accompanied by a lot of emotion, usually negative. What exactly is a job and why do many people balk at the idea of getting one?

Here are a few definitions of ‘job’: the process or requirements of working; anything a person is expected or obliged to do; duty; responsibility; a post of employment; a specific task done as part of the routine of one’s occupation or for an agreed price.

job opportunitiesThe societies of North America are thought to have been founded on a Protestant Work Ethic. The idea behind it emphasizes hard physical labor, discipline and frugal living and dates back to ancestral European cultures. Even though our culture has been redefined over the last 300 or so years, there remains today a stigma, albeit subtle, that worships anyone who follows those guidelines. Your worth is determined by whether or not you have a job and especially whether or not you have a ‘good job’. Herein lies the problem – judging a person based on what they do for a living.

Remember the song Get a Haircut and Get a Real J..? George Thorogood wrote that song in response to his parents’ distaste for his vocation. But during his 40 year career, he recorded more than 20 albums and his current net worth is about $50 million. I guess he didn’t need a real job. Dire Straits echoed a similar theme in Money For Nothing. Obviously, the song’s subject/narrator didn’t consider performing music on TV a real job. In his mind, “that ain’t workin'”.

Many times our career path is picked because of safety – the safety of having money. Don’t get me wrong, it is not the money that is the issue. However, when money is the only motivation, it can lead to a life of dissatisfaction.

Dr. Marsha Sinetar wrote a book, Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow. In the introduction she said, I began to experience a great longing to change my life. The thought of letting go of what I had – a well-paying, secure job – was truly terrifying. I who had always clung to outward forms of security… also ignored the inner dissatisfactions and urgings I felt.

Meg Ryan‘s character in the movie You’ve Got Mail is quoted as saying, “I lead a small life… do I do it because I like it or because I haven’t been brave?”  Jeff Goins says “What most people call being “lazy” is really just fear. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear, fear, fear.”

My uncle worked as a bus driver for 30 years. Upon retirement, he got a gold watch. During the span of his career, he was considered a stable, reliable, ‘good worker’ by his colleagues. I wonder though, how he felt everyday as he got up, donned his uniform and clocked in on another shift. Did he enjoy himself because he was doing what he always wanted to do or did he settle into the job because he made a decent wage? Was it his calling or did he simply do it out of fear? I guess we won’t know. He is in a nursing home now, sitting quietly in a wheelchair. No one can see his gold watch.

No doubt you’ve heard the phrase, that person missed his/her calling. It is often a reference to someone awing an audience with their talents when in real life they work a routine job that they highly dislike. According to author and speaker Craig Hill, “a century ago, people prepared their children to fulfill their calling. Now parents educate children in hopes that they will get a good job or occupation”. We are now working to get money instead of spending time fulfilling our calling.

We’ve lost our vision in the pursuit of provision.

What is the alternative? I hear the extremist stay, “Not work??? We all need money to live”. Yes, in our society, we do. But it was not always that way. My great-grandfather came here from Austria and began farming a piece of land. The Government’s offer of a homestead to immigrants was how he got established. I can’t tell you for sure if he had any money. What I do know, is that he had enough livestock and produce to support his family of eight and on into the next generation. The point is, that the focus was not on amassing a large sum of money. He focused on building a family and a life in which that family could be sustained and subsequently thrive.

We are no longer living because we are too caught up in making a living.

As a result of focusing on money, we have actually destroyed human relationships. Our society has become so self absorbed that we don’t even consider future generations.

Fortunately, not every individual conforms to this mentality. Meet Dale Partridge. Dale is a a serial entrepreneur who teaches organizations about brand positioning. He tells the story of his dad coming home from work and saying, “Dale, I am wearing the golden handcuffs.” What his dad meant was that he had a job he considered too good to leave. But instead of being a disgruntled worker, he turned his attention to his son and groomed him for life as an entrepreneur. It worked. Dale made more than  $25 million before he was 30.

I am not against getting a job. If you’ve got absolutely nothing, go sweep the parking lot at the local burger joint. We all have to start somewhere. What I am saying is, as soon as possible, stop trading hours for dollars and start living out your calling. I am frustrated with hearing from those who would just like to stuff everyone into a box labelled ‘job’. When you stick your hand in the box, you pull out descriptions. They may read, ‘Monday to Friday 9 to 5’, ‘must have post secondary education’ or ‘minimum five figure income’. The point is, this does not allow for an entrepreneurial spirit, giftings or talents.

I am also not berating formal education. If you are called to be a teacher, get a degree and teach. But if your calling is to be a ditch digger, do it proudly and with all your heart. Just don’t settle for a life inside the box. I, personally, can’t count the times people have condescendingly told me to lose the pipe dream of being a writer and just go get a job. But I defiantly refuse. To quote Jeff Goins again, for me, writing is a calling. It’s not something I chose; it chose me. That’s who I am.

Having said that, I know I am setting myself up for a lot of criticism but, ahhh, I am up to it.

After all, it’s my job.

 

A Thankful Life

One of my hobbies is making greeting cards. I really enjoy using rubber stamping techniques and creating unique cards to give to my friends and family especially for birthdays. Even if they only get one card a year from me, my family members will most likely get a card from me on their birthday. Recently, I took an inventory of my ready-made cards and noticed I have a lot of thank you cards – most of which I did not make myself. Every time I attend a workshop with a Stampin Up Demonstrator, I receive a thank you card with my order. These cards come with a removable note from the demonstrator and are specially designed for me to present to someone on another occasion. When I looked at the stack of thank you cards, my first thought was, ‘wow, I have a lot of them to choose from’. That was immediately followed by… ‘I sure don’t send out many thank you cards.’ Hmmmm. What does that say about me?
I will be honest. I have been prone to bouts of complaining about things under the guise of ‘telling it like it is’. But I also realized that the actual act of complaining was having a detrimental effect on my body.
I decided to do an experiment. I am going to see how long I can go with out lodging a complaint about even the minutest thing like ‘it’s cold in this room.’
But what if I take it a step further? Instead of simply refraining from something negative and holding my tongue while trying to stifle my complaint, what if I changed the direction of my thought to something positive? What if I actually decided to audibly state something for which I was thankful? Could I make myself think of a person in my life for whom I was thankful and send them a card? Could it be done? I am now on a quest to develop a lifestyle of thankfulness. Stay tuned to see how well I do. 😉

It was an Electronic Christmas…

I’ve always been a bit of a gadget girl even before the vast population had phones that could do everything but comb your hair. When I started working for a magazine publisher in 1990, I was introduced to Apple Computers and have never looked back.

Over the years, I have had several Macs; the current one being a 27″ iMac that came with a regular wireless keyboard. Unfortunately, it was devoid of the numeric pad that I had become accustomed to using on my previous computer.  I had made it known that I wanted an apple extended keyboard so I could key in numbers without trying to remember which number keys were which on the top row. Well, as it turned out I got 2. But instead of returning one, I attached the official Apple keyboard to the computer via USB. And the second one, I discovered was a Multi-Sync version made by Kanex that could pair up to 4 devices via Bluetooth and it was full-sized as well. This came in handy for both operating the AppleTV and for typing long chunks of text onto the iPad. Happy girl!

Also on my wish list was a Password Vault.  A few years ago, I discovered this small handheld device that stores every password you’ll ever need in one location. Of course, I had to try to justify the $50 price when there are free software programs designed to do the same thing. Or as my husband suggested, ‘why not just write them in a book?’. Well, I drooled over it online for 3, yes, 3 years. Finally, I decided that it would make the perfect Christmas gift ‘pour moi’. It had been my habit to record passwords on any scrap of paper or sticky note that was handy and then staple it to the other scraps/sticky notes that lay in the top drawer of my desk. I usually wrote them in pencil (so I could erase them if they needed to be changed). They often got smudged from handling the papers too frequently. Plus my writing was inconsistent so what looked like a G at one point might actually have been a 6. Yes, I could have recorded them on my computer but my iMac is 27″ (I like real estate) and not very portable. Yes, a notebook would have been cheaper but how would I alphabetize them every time a new password is created? (Look at all the justifying I am doing!) I must say though, this was the best investment for me. The device can be carried anywhere, is accessible by one universal password (yes, we can all memorize one) and has a search function (which my notes definitely don’t have). All in all, a wonderfully useful extravagance.

P-Touch 90
And there were more gadgets under the tree with my name on it. Much to my delight, I also opened a label maker that made my quest for organization a little bit closer to my goal. The Brother P-Touch 90 allowed me to label everything from scissors to musical instruments.

And finally, the biggest surprise of them all was when all the gifts were unwrapped and I thought it was time to move on to breakfast, out came the last but certainly not the least, present of the season. I was presented with a gift bag holding a small rectangular box that contained… you guess it… a brand new iPad Air2. My original iPad from 2012 quickly became my youngest son’s acquisition and the new era of iPad usage had begun. Although Christmas is definitely my favorite time of year, to say that I enjoyed this Christmas more than some previous ones is true. You can never go wrong getting me a gift that satisfies the inner gadget girl in me!

 

Run a Surprise

I just watched a video today called ‘Prank it Forward’ from a YouTube show called ‘Break’. The video was of a waitress who, in one shift, received a $1,000 tip, 2 tickets to Hawaii, a job offer in a profession that was her passion and a new car! I love hearing things like this. It ties in with part of my life’s motto where I believe we should so something each day to enhance the lives of others. Several months ago, I started 2 daily logs. The first is ‘What I learned today’ and the second is ‘What I did today to help someone’. Each evening before bed, I would sit down and think of the day and record something in each category regardless of how small or trivial it might seem. It may be as simple as smiling at a stranger or opening a door for someone. I derive more enjoyment, however, from the events that are pre-planned, well thought out and of course, perfectly executed. One of my good friends coined the phrase, ‘Run a Surprise’ and he is really good at it. He may have learned some tips from my Dad who was also good at it. I define ‘run a surprise’ as… give something to or do something for someone that they always wanted {even if they didn’t consciously know they always wanted it!} This is done in such a manner as to joyously shock them, much like the idea behind Prank it Forward.

I have always been a fan of Random Acts of Kindness since I first heard about the concept a few decades ago. The movement purportedly stated in Sausalito, California in 1982 when Anne Herbert scrawled “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a restaurant’s placemat. This act is what inspired the book series of that name by the editors of Conari Press. Usually when I hear of someone that has a need, I try to think of a way to bless them that would make them happy. As Tai Lopez says, “find yourself a random act of kindness to do each day.” A little can go a long way.

I am also a proponent of Suspended Coffees. The tradition is said to have begun in Italy in working class coffee shops. A patron could order a coffee for himself but pay for an additional one that he didn’t receive. The second coffee would then be ‘suspended’. If a person came in that was unable to pay for a beverage, they could ask for a suspended coffee and receive on that had already been purchased. But suspended coffees is more that just giving someone a ward cup of coffee when they normally wouldn’t be able to afford it. It is more an attitude that says, I feel fortunate in life and therefore I want to pass my good fortune on to someone else.

And of course, I can’t have a post on kindness without mentioning Ellen Degeneres. At the end of each show, she implores us to ‘be kind to one another’ but it is not just a slogan. For Ellen, it is a lifestyle. Here is an example of rewarding a random act of kindness with her own act of kindness. Ellen video.

In each of these actions, there is a common thread. Whether it is a gift, a sacrifice or a simple word of encouragement, the kindness shown is unexpected. What we need to remember is the good feeling that we get when someone does something unexpected for us so that we can in turn pass it on to someone else. It is the little things like this in life that make it worth getting up for each day.

 

Today’s mentoring quote:

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 1.16.39 PMFocus Skill

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Excerpt from the book “It’s All About the Heart” – lesabrepublishing.com

 

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• As soon as you can, move from ‘trading hours for dollars’ to creating a ‘passive income.’

• If you want what other people have, you have to do what they did to get it.

 

 

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