Are You a Door or a Window?

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“What would you rather be, a door or a window?” It’s an odd question that I was reminded of earlier today when I was reading an article online. It’s an interview practice question we used to use when I was active in the Future Business Leaders of America club in high school.  Seemingly innocent question, the intent was to challenge young high school students to not only be able to think on their feet, but artfully demonstrate their thinking skills, reasoning skills and ability to effectively communicate their ideas.

The idea of being a door versus a window — or asking someone that today in an interview — isn’t something I can say get’s much air play. And that is probably with good reason. It is a little bizarre at face value. But if you stop and ponder the thought for a moment, it does give you pause.

Which would you rather be?

Me? I tend to be more of a door kind of girl. I’ve always had a passion for doors of all shapes and sizes. Nary a trip can be taken without my needing to stop and take a picture of two of someone’s front door or some quaint side street with a hidden vestibule and unique little entryway. Doors to me are passageways to new places. They can be opened up to welcome in new friends and opportunities; or be closed to bid farewell to the end of an era.

I’ve taken hundreds of pictures of unknown houses, churches and other public places all to capture my fascination with the doors on their facades. The mystery and magic of what lies behind those strongholds have fascinated me for a lifetime.

Don’t get me wrong, windows have their purpose, too. But for me, a window is a place to look out and passively view the world from. Windows are the passive, “don’t get involved” in the world ying to the active, “walk right through and take charge” yang doors command.

I like it when my brain takes these little early morning journeys and makes me stop and think about seemingly trivial ideas in a more meaningful way.  It forces me to put myself under self-scrutiny and evaluate my own actions.

As I reflect today, I find myself asking, “Am I that gateway for myself and others to new opportunities? Am I taking advantage of the new challenges, potential friends and learning that awaits on my doorstep? Or am I just leaving myself propped open to casually take on the persona of a window and not act? Do I know when it is time to quietly shut myself off to the negative and draining situations that pull me away from my family and loved ones?  Or are they running rip shod through my world?”  Being a door doesn’t mean everyone gets to trample through my life.  I get to set the boundaries and limits on my world.

Having that wonderfully outrageous life starts with knowing who you are, deep down, and being comfortable inside your own skin. It is being ok with the limits and boundaries you set for yourself, your life and your time. It is knowing the path you want for your life, the hopes and dreams you will pursue and achieve. It is knowing when it is okay to open the door to opportunity and when to gently close it and move on.

Am I a door or a window? Hmm, silly question?  Not for me.

Just The Way You Are

Because some days, some people just say it better than I ever could!  Pressing the fantastic work of today’s blog by appliedalliance.wordpress.com:   Just The Way You Are.  

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‘Daily reminder if you happened to forget: you are amazing and capable of great things. Strive to do better for yourself.’

We have all been through situations with people we really care about who can sometimes make us feel that we are not as important as we know we reallyare.

Do not fall in the trap and let yourself think that you are not important. Doing so will only discourage you from doing what you are truly capable of. If someone discredits you and tells you that you can’t do something, keep in mind that they are speaking from within the boundaries of their ownlimitations.

In this crazy world that is trying to make you like everyone else, find thecourage to keep being your awesome self. And when they laugh at you for being ‘different’, go ahead and laugh back at them for being the ‘same’.

Never let your circumstances make you feel less than what you are. Keep pressing forward because you fulfilling your goals and dreams is paramount. You are important, never to let any person (including yourself) or anything that you are going through, convince you otherwise.

Love yourself from head to toe. No matter what be proud of your body. Because being just the way you are is enough.’

The Similarities of Golf and Life

woman-golfer-in-the-rainI played golf yesterday for the first time in over seven years. It was my Dad’s love and I’ve avoided the sport at all costs since his death. Besides being completely horrible at the game, the thought of four hours on a majestic course being flooded with memories was overwhelming. But my boss made me play.

The tournament was a benefit my company was sponsoring to raise money for a scholarship program to provide educational opportunities for children of wounded warriors.  I was perfectly comfortable working the registration table, driving the beer cart – even picking trash from the course at the end of the day – I was given no choice:  get some clubs and play.

My own clubs went in the garbage months after Dad died.  While they weren’t good clubs, in hindsight, I realize it was probably not the most responsible way to handle grief.  But they were just too painful of a reminder of my hero.  So one day, when we were cleaning out the basement, I grabbed the bag and chucked the whole thing into a rental dumpster we had for the weekend.  Clubs, shoes, dozens of balls and lord knows what else all went away forever. The sadness did not.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I lay in bed late Sunday night listening to the rain coming down in sheets.  “Good,” I thought to myself, “this ought to cancel the tournament.”  There is no way they will play in a thunderstorm, so I rolled over and tried to sleep away my anxiety.  It was a restless night and sleep did not come.  Golf, however, did.

I drove on Monday morning to the course at Andrews Air Force Base.  Despite the angry grey clouds – which matched my mood perfectly – the turnout was amazing and we set off for a nice afternoon of play.  I went to the pro shop to rent clubs.  I skipped the practice range and the putting green; I figured there was no hope for me and decided playing “cold” was as good as it was going to get.

My foursome was a client and his guest and an industry colleague I knew well; the latter was an ace golfer who takes the game very seriously.  I jokingly apologized to him for his misfortune with me as a partner and tried to use humor to mask my fear of playing for the first time in so long.  Thankfully, it was a best ball tournament and we only needed to take one shot from each player to meet the tournament rules.

My game was what I expected it to be.  My first tee shot stayed on the tee and I missed more putts than I care to admit.  But somewhere along the way, I came face to face with some old memories and found myself enjoying the day and the game again. The weather was horrible.  The tournament was stopped once for lightening and many players left the course and never returned to finish.  We spent a good 30 minutes at one point waiting out a gully-washer under a massive Oak tree.  There were more “instant” water hazards in the fairways and on the greens than I’ve ever seen.  But we did get all 18 holes completed.

I even got really lucky and somehow pulled off winning the longest drive contest for the ladies.  I know that came with a little help from my golfer angel; as I stepped up to the red markers, I whispered a little, “Ok, Pop, this one’s for you,” prayer and the ball dropped about two inches past the marker of the previous best shot.  Isn’t that amazing?

But the absolutely best part of the day came at the dinner, when the prayer was made before the meal.  I did not know the person was who was asked to give thanks for our special guests or our meal.  I know the words she spoke were not intended for my struggles, but for those of the many wounded warrior guests in attendance, but they spoke directly to my heart.

She likened the game of golf to the struggles we face in life, trying to get from pin to cup, facing obstacles and challenges along the way.  How we must figure out how to overcome the hazards and unexpected obstructions that obscure our path and cause us to not meet our goal in the way we have planned. She reminded us that we have opportunity to sit and enjoy nature, enjoy quiet conversation with strangers when we least expect it.  That we don’t always get the shot we want, but with practice and dedication, we can turn the unexpected places we end up into new vantage points from which to launch the next phase our game.

Yes, for as much as I dreaded facing an old memory yesterday, it was quite nice.  Despite the wind and the rain, the humiliation of how horrible of a golfer I am, I had a nice day.  My partner and I shared some great “Dad” golf stories (he just lost his Father a few months ago), I faced a lion of fear and I actually enjoyed the game. While I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to replace my clubs just yet, I might not fight so hard next time I’m asked to play.

Living a Life Like Laura Ingalls Wilder

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From the time I could read, I’ve admired Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Her spirit.  The adventurous lifestyle her family led.  The courage she had at a young age to leave the comfort of her family home, live with strangers and teach children barely years younger than herself.

Laura knew hardship and loss; she faced difficult times with a resolve and faith that was steadfast.  She lived simply, ran barefoot through the creeks and meadows of the Great Plains and knew the exhilaration that comes with a life of living off of the land.  Her stories gave me fodder for life, taught me lessons I have yet to fully realize and set deep in my heart the importance of faith, family and a hard days work.

“It is the simple things of life that make living worthwhile, the sweet fundamental things such as love and duty, work and rest, living close to nature.” –Laura Ingalls Wilder

Honesty.  Truthfulness. Making the most of what we have. Being happy with simple pleasures.  Having courage when things go wrong.  The keys to an outrageous life?  Indeed.