Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

29 January, 2013

Taking a leave of absence for a while folks.  Involved in a fairly intensive on-line lay ministry course...Talk to you when I have a free minute, or when I get back -- whichever comes first.

22 January, 2013

RETHINKING MY "SOCIAL" NETWORKING

I have always spoken what is on my mind. I appreciate others who do the same thing. Frankness and openness aids self-expression and when redirected, helps us know where others stand on issues. Admittedly, I have a "weird" (my wife's word) sense of humor too...Likewise, I appreciate and understand humor in others.

I have been involved in online communications now for more than 15 years. I have been dealing with the written word for almost 60 years -- a good half of that time in a public relations capacity. I think that social networking, in particular, has a lot of merit but, sadly, I have found that it feeds into human frailty and sensitivity like no other mode of present-day communication...You know, by all means "like" me and what I am posting (on-line, i.e. Facebook); but if you don't, "defriend me" (i.e. like it or lump it). Rational discussion often takes a back seat to argumentative reactions and the ultimate click of a computer key. Innuendo also runs rampant.

Quite honestly, more and more I find myself being annoyed by what I am seeing and reading on Facebook. Cutting, pasting and regurgitating the work of others under the guise of "sharing" is commonplace and spoils otherwise good intentions. It lacks something when we see several dozen other people sharing exactly the same post, which may or may not carry a virus. Originality is totally lacking. I do not live in a vacuum...There have been times when my more serious work has been viewed critically. On occasion, my comments have been misunderstood in some quarters and known to offend. That all goes with the territory for a veteran writer.

Humans experience an emotional response to a situation or comment first, making our primary feelings strong motivations of our behavior before we can think in rational terms. On-line/virtual interaction complicates how we interpret what we read and it is devoid of facial expressions, gestures and body language; it has no tone of voice to indicate emotion behind our words. How words are read and interpreted is up to the recipient and caution needs to be exercised here...We would do well to re-read words (several times if necessary), and think about them from the writer's perspective. We would also do well to consider the reader when crafting our words, think about how they may be received and if there is a better way to express ourselves.

On-line communications is a two-way street. We should navigate with care and sensitivity...Life is too short for spur-of-the-moment knee-jerk reactions. Trust me, no one wins an argument on Facebook.

Here's what another writer has to say on the subject: "Sex, relationships, personal causes, racism, religion, death, and politics are all serious topics, and they're all guaranteed one-way tickets to offending someone, and that's too bad. My advice to those who are busy drafting their angry responses while reading this is to chill. Take a second and ask yourself if perhaps you're being a little too sensitive, and therefore missing the point.

"Disagreeing with someone is par for the course in life. But telling another guy what he can and cannot say goes too far. If you disagree, wait for him to finish, consider what he has said and then react logically and sensibly to his ideas.

"Remember that not everything that is written or said is directed specifically at you; it's usually for the public at large or based on a specific principle. Everything happens within a context, even your reaction. It's the context that shapes the meaning of a statement. So consider, among other things, who the statement was directed at, what came before it and the writer or speaker's perspective.

"If all else fails, it sometimes pays to simply ignore the comment or provocative post. Life is too short to argue with everyone over every little thing. You've got better things to do... I hope. My advice is to try to let things slide. If they're really so bad, don't lend them credibility by talking further about them."

Thank you for that my friend. You know whereof you speak!!

Personally, for what little time I have left on this earth, I am going to be letting a lot of things slide. It is in my best interest. Maybe I should start by spending less tim
e on Facebook and more time dealing with the things that really matter in my life.
Like ·  ·  · 

15 January, 2013

THE FIRST GIFT FROM SANTA THAT I REMEMBER

Just as a followup to my last post in which I talked about old things and how much I enjoy them, here's another from my cedar chest of memories.  I have a "small" reason to remember the first Christmas that was of any significance to me...It was the Christmas of 1940 and Santa Claus brought me a miniature toy piano (shown in the accompanying photo). I still have that little piano and it is, of course, now very much an antique -- a collector's item in some quarters. It is 9X7 inches, made of mahogany, has well-worn wooden keys and plays the notes C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C. The words "Philharmonic, Tuned International Pitch" are printed in gold lettering on the front.  Click on the video for a closer look.

11 January, 2013

A SENTIMENTALIST'S DILEMMA OF WHAT TO DO WITH A NEGLECTED ANTIQUE CHEST OF DRAWERS



Those who read my posts on this site know that I am a self-admitted oddball.  Among other things, I enjoy antiques.  Nothing strange in that if it were not for the fact that I grow attached to all old things, especially items of certain family significance.  They continue to talk to me of times past and of history that predates me.  They are like old friends and I cannot justify life without them.

Thirty or 40 years ago, I was relatively indifferent to family heirlooms that had come into my possession and I carelessly, or thoughtlessly,  let some of them slip away.  Like an oil painting by my grandmother Louise Wright, circa 1895.  I inadvertently put a chair leg through the canvas of my grandmother's sole venture into the world of art and as a result threw it in the trash.  Then there was the 100-year-old butter churn that I left out on a patio deck in winter and it eventually cracked and fell apart because of frost and a build up of ice that had accumulated in the bottom.  I also once gave away a priceless smoked glass fish ornament passed down from a great aunt, that I later discovered was worth a small fortune on the antique auction floor.  Pressure from a friend induced me to sell him an ice cream parlor table and two chairs from my Aunt Della Dunlop's bake shop store in Oil Springs (1920-1945).   I shouldn't dwell on such things, but I do.

Oct -13-1908 started engine
I eventually learned a very costly lesson the hard way. I matured over the years with a resultant deep appreciation for personal affects of my ancestors.

I have selectively given some pieces to my daughters and grandchildren but I could still literally furnish another house with antique furniture that I have stored in my garage -- tables, chairs, dressers, chiffoniers, love seats, cabinets.  For years I have been threatening to stage a garage sale that would be the granddaddy of them all, but I keep suppressing the notion.

I have a mid-Victorian period chest of drawers (circa 1850?) that has increasingly weighed heavily on me for more reasons than just one.  I braved the elements late last night (when I should have been in bed) to check on the solid walnut piece that was once used by my grandfather Wesley Wright, and subsequently my father Ken in respective bedrooms at our family homestead in Dresden, ON.  As I removed the blanket from the chest of drawers, I was shocked to see signs of deterioration from exposure to the extremes of  summer and winter temperatures over a 10-year period.  I hated myself for the neglect and vowed to take restorative measures before too much more time passes.  Surely I can squeeze it back into my house somewhere, somehow.

Ebby Wright, Dresden, Ont. 1909 Jan. 22
I carefully removed a couple of the drawers where I remembered my grandfather and a step-uncle had made notations in pencil.  There they were, as if written only yesterday:  "Oct.--13--1908 started engine" (a reference by my grandfather to an electric pump engine that he had installed in a rock water well at the back of our property); "Ebby Wright, Dresden, Ontario, 1909" (perhaps Ebby shared the chest of drawers with his dad at one point); "Oct. 25 1900 Ebler Albert Baxter" (I have no idea who Albert Baxter was, but I had to smile at the possibility that I inherited slight dyslexia from my grandfather.  Note: "Abler...", an obvious transposition of letters in attempting to write the name "Albert".  I frequently find myself doing that very same thing, in fact there might well be some letter transposition in this post.)
Oct. 25, 1909 (Abler) Albert Baxter 
One of the drawers has a strange form of hieroglyphics scratched into the side with possibly a nail.  Numbers and percent signs are slightly visible with something resembling the date 1888.

As I put the drawers back in place I remembered the time 12 years ago when, in a moment of weakness, I actually decided to get rid of the chest that had survived the previous 150-plus years.  After my move to the Saugeen Shores area, I found it necessary to put a number of items in a rental storage unit until I was able to get settled, including the chest-high piece of furniture that weighed at least 200 pounds and was taking up a lot of storage space.  With great difficulty, I was able to hoist it into a dumpster that I found on the premises and hastily took my leave, with empty trailer in tow.
Dove tail joints typical of Victorian
 era furniture made in Ontario.

The five-minute drive home was torturous.  I struggled with the wisdom of my spur-of-the-moment, impulsive decision.  Once in my driveway, I made a U-turn and headed back to the storage complex where I  promptly pulled the abandoned chest of drawers out of the dumpster, minus the back which had come loose with the rough treatment I had given it.  With a few nails and some lovingly-applied furniture polish, the chest of drawers once again gained a place of prominence in my new home.

A down-sizing move to Southampton a few years later once again necessitated my storing the chest of drawers in my garage "until I could find room for it in the house".  That was almost 10 years ago and I still have not found sufficient room.  But that's all going to change, trust me.  I simply cannot neglect that piece of me any longer...All I have to do is decide what I have to get rid of in order to make room for it in the house.

Therein lies another problem.  I'll let you know how I make out.  A garage sale this Spring is sounding better all the time...Or perhaps an addition to the house?

04 January, 2013

A MESSAGE OF HOPE AND HEALING FOR 2013

Caroline Flohr is the author of a recently-published  book, “Heaven’s Child,” www.heavenschild.com. It details her spiritual journey beginning with the sudden death of 16-year-old twin daughter, Sarah. Flohr was forced to dig into the deeper meaning of existence and came away with profound edification and appreciation for the gifts left behind by those who leave us. Flohr lives with her husband and children on Bainbridge Island, a suburb of Seattle.  I gave some space to Caroline and her book several weeks ago but thought that this followup from her was timely and significant.

By Caroline Flohr
As a new year dawns, many of us still grieve losses experienced in 2012. For some, it’s very personal – the death of a parent, spouse or child. Others mourn the lives lost in one of the many tragedies we experienced together as a nation.
 
As a mother of a 16-year-old twin daughter killed in a car accident involving eight teenagers, I assure those of you who are still coming to terms with your loss and grief – it is possible to journey from the unimaginable to acceptance and a spiritual peace. I urge you to embrace the healing power of family and community, love and faith. You will be surprised at how it can transform you.

You can find renewal in this new year.

I have learned that death defines not the end, but a beginning. I have learned that, by weaving tragedy into the fabric of our lives, we can be stronger, spiritually richer and, yes, even happier for it.

Here are some of the milestones I experienced on my journey to inner peace:
• Deeper meaning: Through the death of someone so important, you will be changed. The question is how you will be changed. Will you grow, or become diminished? I grew with the realization that death – so often viewed as an end – is just the beginning of another phase of existence. One of my favorite quotes is from poet Rabindranath Tagore: Death is not extinguishing the light. It is putting out the lamp because dawn has come.

• Celebrate life: When the bereaved are able to look at the life of a person who has passed and see more beauty than pain, they should rejoice. The reality of a person’s absence will always have an element of sadness, but the joy of wonderful memories is even more powerful. When loved ones leave this Earth, graces are given to those relationships left behind. These are gifts. When we can acknowledge them, our lives can expand in the present.

• Ready for anything: Once you’ve experienced the worst and pulled through, you know you will be able to weather just about any adversity. Maya Angelou wrote, ‘“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” Have faith in that inner strength we all harbor.

• Appreciate what you have: Life as we know it will come to an end. This includes everyone we know, love and care about; it’s a fact that we often forget, and it’s as startling to remember as it is true. Come good or bad, we do not know what the future will bring, which means we should take every opportunity to fully embrace the present, and our loved ones.

 
Thank you for that Caroline...Good luck with the book! 

02 January, 2013

STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS AND ACHIEVEMENT

It is easy to get trapped doing the same thing every day, but trying something new is proven to boost happiness and confidence. There is no faster route to self-confidence than by stepping out of your comfort zone. “It sends a message of self-belief to your subconscious that you believe in yourself,” says life coach Domonique Bertolucci, author of The Happiness Code. “Your confidence levels will automatically rise.”

I have written on this subject frequently in the past and I touch on it again in this post because I know that there are at least a couple of  young people out there who can benefit at a crucial stage in their lives.  Stepping out of your comfort zone makes perfect sense, so why don’t we automatically do it? “Fear – we expect to stuff up and fail,” says psychologist and coach Dr Darryl Cross, another authority.
 
Follow these easy tips and you’ll learn to consistently keep out of your comfort zone as you progress though life.  I know from first-hand experience, because I have followed every one of them over the years as I overcame an inborn shyness and fear of failure.  Oh sure, I have had failures...There is no guarantee otherwise.  Things do not always work out as we would have liked, but we learn best from failure.  We improve as individuals every time we face a challenge head on.  
 
Plan ahead

Everyone has a different comfort zone, so you need to clarify what needs changing in your life. Know what the big picture looks like and make it enticing.  Whether you want to make a career move, drop a clothing size, save money or develop better relationships, you need to make a plan in order to get there. Make a list of 12 things you can do over the next 12 months that feel scary now, but that you know will give your confidence a big boost when you do them. As Bertolucci puts it in her new book: “If you aim to do one thing each month that scares you, at the end of the year your confidence levels will have soared.”

Act confident

Practice holding your head high and you’ll feel more positive. Imagine a time when you were feeling successful – now practice standing that way, sitting that way and moving that way. When you change your body to be confident, your body starts controlling your brain, rather than the brain controlling body.  Suddenly, stepping out of your comfort zone will not seem so hard.  The more you do it, the easier it gets.

Boost your body confidence 
 
Negative body talk can trap you in your comfort zone, so rather than putting yourself down, try repeating positive statements to change your head space. “Write a simple statement about how you would like your world to be,” Bertolucci says. “Make sure you write it in the present tense and repeat your affirmations three times over, three times a day and watch your self-belief grow.”

Don't give up
 
I repeat, accept the fact that you will make mistakes. “We learn more from our failures than our successes,” Dr Cross emphasizes. “But as you refine the technique and get it right you feel proud, which enhances self esteem.”

Shyness and lack of confidence can be successfully countered, trust me.  But it takes work, commitment and ultimate action.  You have to be motivated to take that first "uncomfortable" step into a place that you have never been before.  But that's life, isn't it?

We face something new and different every minute, every hour, every day.  That's what is so wonderful about life!  Embrace those new and different things with joy and excitement.  Do not become so comfortable within yourself that you shy away from the potentially great things that life has in store for you.

Comfort breeds complacency, laziness, stagnation.  Hermits are complacent, lazy and stagnant...In time they waste away -- all by themselves.  Don't become a hermit.  The world needs you!