Monday, 18 May 2015

The Non-Electronic Man

I wanted to post this so I never forget it.  This is an article about my dad written by his friend.


THE NON-ELECTRONIC MAN
“The human spirit must prevail over technology.”  ~ Albert Einstein

Do you ever wonder if something is missing in this electronic world?  What did we do before now?  Actually, I grew up during a time when it was very different. Today, changes are rapid; we see a new world every few years. Even the speed of change is becoming faster.  

I have a friend, Sammy Wilder, who works in sales and does not use the internet.  You can email something to his office where an administrative employee will print it out for him. The way he performs his job is different from how most of us get our work accomplished.  And yet, he is very successful. He also is one of the most-admired members in his church community. 

I find it a little bit ironic that this edition of my newsletter, with a focus on Sammy’s approach to work, will not be received on his computer (he does not own one) or smart phone. Likely, his wife Mary Jo, will print it out for him. 

Very few of us would survive in our current jobs if we could not use all of the electronics that now are considered essential. Sammy has made it work without some of the basic tools available in 2015.  I am curious about how he succeeds – wondering if there is something to learn from a person who does it so differently, yet who still thrives.  I decide to find out. 

We agree to meet at a local Mobile restaurant for lunch.  After a few customary catch-up comments about our families, I charge into why I have asked him to meet with me. I begin, “Sammy, I notice that you do not use emails like the majority of business people.   How do you succeed in an electronic world?  Your customers must have questioned you on this?  How do you make it work? Do you have any advantages?  Is this not a major disadvantage?!”  Rapidly I fire off these and other questions with the typical precision I use in writing an email on my computer.  

Sammy responds, “I came up in a time when there were pay phones, and eventually pagers.  I have some concern about the electronic world because of all the bad stuff out there. There are temptations in this automated universe that I want to avoid in my own life.” His thoughts mirror mine in concern for all of my grandchildren.  It is so easy to access the Internet to see and read all the evil, immoral, and in some cases even dangerous, stuff that is instantly available. 

I counter his remarks with, “I understand why you do not use the Internet, but it still does not answer the question of how you succeed.  Your customers must go nuts about you not using email?” 

With complete confidence, Sammy replies with just two words:  “Personal relationships. After allowing me time to absorb his short reply, he continues: “Life is all about personal relationships.  I make it work because I always go the extra mile.”  (I refuse to blindly accept this simple strategy). “How?” I ask him.  He responds with an invaluable insight that would have been reflective of my grandparents a long time ago.  He simply explains, “I call my customers. I visit my customers. And I write, in my own handwriting, thank-you notes.  

Are you kidding me!? This is how you succeed!? Go the extra mile by calling, visiting and writing thank-you notes?  I must be missing something.  I ask additional questions, trying to penetrate his armor, but Sammy’s answers are still simple and short.  My grandmother could have written this strategy for all of us decades ago. 

And then, I recall my own life.  From the beginning of my career to right now, every-time I have experienced success at any level of my life, the main factor was . . .  personal relationships.  No computer helped me in making the most important decisions I have faced.  It was, and still is . . .  people.    

In my new career in writing and speaking, I started doing something a few months ago:  calling past contacts, sharing my dreams, and asking for support.  The result of these conversations has been magical – more than I expected.  I feel a sense of what my friend knows by heart.  I will succeed in my new career because of one simple, but powerful concept: I will do it because of my interaction with the people in my life.  

How does Sammy do it?  He picks up an old-fashioned, first-generation technological device – a telephone – and calls the customer!  He actually gets into a real conversation.  He also personally visits his customers, face-to-face.  As a result, he knows his clients at a deeper level.  

Here is a news blast:  Some of us may use very little of these old-fashioned tactics, because we depend so much on smart phones and computers.  We thrive on text and email messaging.  We may have, in some cases, unintentionally built a wall between customers and ourselves. 

Sammy goes the extra mile.  He describes it as giving the customer, “a pink elephant with a green tail.”  If they call him on weekends, when his time with family is important, he knows they have a crisis.  And he responds. They never forget him for taking care of them when times are tough. 

His final step is completely old-fashioned.  He writes by hand “thank-you” notes to customers on a random basis, sometimes after a personal visit and other times after they order products. 

I know that he could be enjoying retirement at this stage of his life. Past success would allow him to do this with some comfort.  But, he chooses to work.  I ask him why. At this point, our conversation becomes more personal.  “I continue to work today because I love the relationships. I have a chance to do something good in this world.  I want to be a good example to others – to impact their lives.” 

I probably do not need to tell you anything more.  This guy is special and happens to be my friend.  A blessing for me – there is a lot to learn from him. 

He calls it is his ‘spiritual response to a world that is hungry for something different.’  My friend has very little when it comes to electronics.  But he has a lot more in those areas that really matter.  On the outside, he may appear to work for some extra money, but I know he works for a lot more.   How about that for the non-electronic man?

I know the question you are thinking:  The answer is no!  I am not going to give up my electronics.  My approach is deeply rooted in our modern technological world.  In my current career, I really do not see another option. But, all of us can learn something from my friend.  Do you agree? 

Life is really about relationships.  Any digital device I use should help me in developing my associations.  When electronics get in the way of these relationships, Sammy’s advice becomes more than just important.  It is essential. 

Build personal relationships. 
Go the extra mile. 
Call. Visit. Write.


Professional Speaker &
Author of “There Are No Small Moments”
www.mondaysaregreat.com  ||@robhackbarth

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Target Girl's Clothes

I wanted to post this article about a mama really being a citizen journalist for all of us who find it hard to find modest clothing for our little girls.  I'm so glad she did this and so glad Target is listening!  I'm hoping more stores follow their lead (assuming they will follow through).

Here is the original blog post with the letter she sent to Target.  She had close to 20K comments on her FB and blog.  There are obviously lots of other moms who feel the same way as she does!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

How to Dress When you are a Sports Mama

I feel old...like, really old.  My son is playing football, and I got one of those little buttons to wear with his picture on it.  I'm not kidding when I say that it feels like yesterday when my mom was wearing a button with my face on it (not for football).  He is huge.  He is a 14 year old with an 18 year old body.  Must be all that non-organic milk I gave him for years before I knew any better.  Anyway, none of this is really the point of this post.  The point is this.  I don't like t-shirts.  I mean, I like t-shirts, but only to sleep in or do yard work in.  There was a time (college) when I wore them daily.  But this is the real world and it's time to wear big girl clothes.  So when you have a kid playing sports for a school or organization, people wear the gear with the team name across the front.  This is all fine and dandy, and I'm not judging people for wearing these things...but it's not for me.  It really is a deep issue for me, and it's one I'm afraid I've inadvertently passed along to my daughter.  See, when I wear a t-shirt (which first of all does nothing for your figure), I would probably put it on with jeans.  But that would mean I would have to wear something like tennis shoes with jeans, and that just doesn't work in my mind.  The other option would be to wear the t-shirt with maybe yoga pants?  But that actually breaks all sorts of rules in my book.  One being that you should only wear yoga pants if you are going to yoga (unless you are this guy), and two being that LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS.  So that idea is out of the question as well.

During basketball season last year, I realized that I needed to increase the navy and gold in my wardrobe.  So I picked up a few things here and there (pic #1 bought the tank from Lizard Thicket and pic #2 bought the blazer from Goodwill. pic #3 bought the tunic from Lizard Thicket on the clearance rack).  I mixed and matched with things I already had all season, and managed to not wear a t-shirt all season.  When it came time to go to the national tournament in Missouri, I had to go out and buy a few things.  But I successfully came up with 5 outfits for 5 days of basketball with blue and gold.  I know I'm super delayed in this post, but one of the mamas there said I should post about it with pics of all my outfits, so here it is.  All of these were worn with jeans and boots or flats...not sneakers.







So now that it's football season (luckily, we are navy, white and gray), I will need to pull together some other outfits.  I can use some of my navy digs for football that I wore during basketball season.  I will tell you that I ordered myself a Warriors t-shirt for next season (insert cringe here).  The reason I did, is because it sounded cute on the order form.  It is long-sleeved and "ladies cut."  So I'm hoping it's cute-ish and I can wear it and feel decent in it.

Stay tuned for football pictures as the season progresses.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Exception to the "Leggings Rule"

Only if you have chubby baby legs may you wear white leggings with silver polka dots as pants.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Happy Martyr's Day

We  have a very sweet and funny Vietnamese priest at our parish.  As he kept referring to today's holiday, it sounded like he was saying "Happy Martyr's Day" instead of "Happy Mother's Day."  Then I got to thinking that maybe Fr. Tran doesn't have it all that wrong?  As I got home and had to fold the mountains of laundry in my room, I KNOW he was right.  No, seriously, Happy Mother's Day to all of you.  Today has been wonderful and my hubby has spoiled me with two delicious home cooked meals and took whiny kids out of mass so I could pray :)  God is good and I'm so grateful for my family.  And grateful that we have mountains of clothes for me to fold.  We are truly blessed!!



Monday, 5 May 2014

Hello World

Here we are, 5 months after the birth of my sweet angel girl, and I haven't recorded the story of her birth.  The details are already getting blurry, so here it is. 

It was Thanksgiving Day and we were so glad to all be home as a family.  I was due November 22 and we weren't sure where we would be for Thanksgiving; home or the hospital.  Here it was, November 28th, Thanksgiving Day, and since I was feeling nothing, the answer was clear that home it was!  So I got up and went to mass by myself (such a rare treat).  I was really in a good place of knowing I was where God wanted me, and that baby would come when it was good and ready.  After mass, I went home and helped Tadd get lunch on the table.  Tadd had worked to prepare a very delicious meal.  We pulled out our wedding china and crystal and did it up right.  This was fun for the kids as we rarely have a "fancy meal." 

After lunch, I was doing dishes.  Lots of washing since I needed to hand wash all of the nice dishes!  And I felt it.  A good contraction.  In the previous weeks, I had been up twice timing contractions and both times they ended up being false labor.  When I had that first contraction, I thought, "how could I not have known that was false labor...this hurts and it's the real deal!"  I didn't say anything yet, but just kept working and let them start coming.  After I was done with the kitchen, I told Tadd that I was feeling some pain and we called my mom.  It was about 1 or 2:00 in the afternoon and contractions were not regular, but painful.  My mom was in the middle of lunch in Alabama with my uncle and his family.  We decided that due to my past long labors, she could wait to drive up the next day (if I was actually in labor). 

We timed contractions starting about 4:00 and they were all over the place.  I wasn't sure what to think.  You would think with the 4th kid, I would know if it was really labor, but nope.  I wasn't sure.  By 7:00, they were 11-13 minutes apart.  I texted my nurse (may I suggest that you make friends with your OB nurse?).  She's the best.  She told me to keep timing them and then informed me that my Doctor was not on call.  This was heartbreaking for me.  He only has one Doctor working for him and she usually only takes a few nights a month call for him.  Another reason for me to release control to God.  Not something I could do anything about...ugh...I hate that!  By 9:00, contractions were 6-7 minutes apart.  I had been in and out of the bathtub and bounced on the exercise ball. I talked to Missy (nurse) again and she told me my Dr. Sizemore was going to meet me at the hospital and to text him when I was on my way.  Isn't he great!!!  He wasn't on call and still came anyway!

I had been texting my bestie, Mary, and she was in Indiana for Thanksgiving.  Since we decided my mom shouldn't come (and now we knew the baby was coming), Mary decided to come home to help me with the kids.  She's amazing. She turned around when she was almost at her hotel and came back to Tennessee.

By now, it was about 10:30 pm. I was good hanging out at home and was in pain, but was managing it. Tadd came storming in the bedroom with his coat on, bag on shoulder and keys in hand.  He said, "Let's go to the hospital.  I've done this with you before and I know that look on your face...it's time to go."  I didn't want to go, but wasn't in the mood to argue.  As you can see from the screen shot from my handy dandy contraction timer app on my phone, I see why he wanted to go.  They were 2-5 minutes apart. So we texted Dr. Sizemore and he said he was already on his way in.




Mary and Brian got in town just in time.  Brian and their boys came to my house to spend the night with the kids (who were sleeping by now).  Tadd and I got to the hospital at 11:00 pm and while we were registering, Mary comes storming in with a pillow and blanket.  She said she'd be there in the waiting room all night waiting for the arrival of our baby!  The lady registering me told her she didn't have to wait in the ER waiting room, but directed her upstairs to the labor and delivery floor.  Mary laughs when she says that if she were me at this point in labor, she'd have been screaming and freaking out.  I was in a zone.  I had my earbuds in and eyes closed.  The next few hours are a bit of a blur.  I just know that I ended up in a bed in labor and delivery.  And I also know that they ask you entirely to many questions when you get to the hospital.  I really have no idea what I said to those people.  I just wanted everyone to leave me alone and be quiet.  I was really seeing the benefit of a home birth at this point.  Dr. Sizemore came in and immediately made me feel like I could do this!  He has this presence about him.  Can't explain it.  I think it is the Holy Spirit in him, honestly.   So he checked me and I was 7-8 cm dilated.  Not as far along as I felt, but all was good.  I got up to go to the bathroom and couldn't.  I was in so much pain I couldn't even get up.  The nurse kept wanting me to get up, or change positions, but I couldn't.  It hurt too much.  I would've loved a tub at this point, but no go at the hospital.  I was in my zone though still with my earbuds in.  About an hour later, I was just about all the way there.  Almost 10 cm.  The contractions were just non-stop it felt like at this point.  Not really, but it felt that way.  I asked if I could start pushing and they said yes and called the Doctor in.  It was a little after midnight.  I pushed and pushed for awhile, and the nurses and doctor and Tadd were all so encouraging and told me how great I was doing (one earbud in at this point so I could hear what Dr. S was saying).  But after about an hour, I got to the point where I needed to know exactly what to do to get this baby OUT!!!  I was exhausted and the pressure was so intense that I didn't know when I was actually having a contraction or not.  They had to tell me when to push!!  I told the Dr. to please get this baby out.  He said if I followed his directions, we would meet our baby in just a few more pushes.  I yanked my earbud out and said, "Ok, Let's do this!"  The song "Hello World" by Lady Antebellum was playing when I did this and looking back, it was so appropriate!   He guided me and coached me, and two pushes later, he held up my baby girl.  We all thought it would be a boy (doctor and nurses included), so we were shocked to meet our black haired beauty.  Cecilia Jane.  Due on St. Cecilia's feast day, but came in her own time.  November 29th at 1:49 a.m.  8lb 6 oz 21 inches long.  A perfect gift from God.  St.  Cecilia, Pray for us!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Homeschool Barbie


This made me laugh...had to share!

http://www.bubblews.com/news/1827804-homeschool-barbie