Friday, October 24, 2014

Insight - Getting Away

I read in a blog this week that David Pride, one of our contributors, tries to go to cities that are bigger than where he lives at least once or twice a year. It’s an interesting proposition. 
There is a sense of freedom when one hits the open road headed out of town. I love coming home to Windham, but at times, seeing it in the rearview mirror gives me a thrill that there is more out there to experience, new fodder for stories yet to be written. 

This past weekend, I did just that, I took a roadtrip with three of my author friends and we went to a conference in New Jersey. The following are my observations in no particular order…until the end.
Observation 1: There are a lot more cars in New Jersey. If we waited until there were no cars coming…we were never getting on Route 1.

Observation 2: Spending time with likeminded individuals is motivating and makes one feel like an adult.
Observation 3: There is more to life than shuttling the kids back and forth to soccer, hockey, baseball, ballet…there’s a whole world out there where adults sit at dinner for hours talking, sharing and experience the food that someone else cooked. 

Observation 4: When you forget medication at home and you’re four states away…there is not an easy way to get a prescription refilled. I hear that it happens all the time, but coordinating between the pharmacy, the doctor and the ride in New Jersey is why people take pills in the first place.  

Observation 5: I love to write. I love to talk about writing. I love to learn about what everyone who writes does to become successful. 

Observation 6: When you’re a published author at the New Jersey Romance Writers conference, you get chocolate covered pretzels and wine. And share it with other, often more successful, authors. 

Observation 7: By day three of the conference, everyone is exhausted. The seven or eight hour ride home seems Tolstoy long and if someone else is driving…it’s a good thing.

Observation 8: Arriving home is familiar and comforting.

Observation 9: There’s nothing like a hug from the child who wants to know “What’s for dinner?” ten seconds after you want into the room.

Observation 10: News happened while I was away, but my fabulous reporters were out there covering stories and they didn’t miss me at all.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Insight - Busy Being Successful? - By Michelle Libby

I attended the second annual Sebago Summit on Tuesday hosted by the Sebago Lake Chamber of Commerce. The keynote speaker was Kevin Hancock. He spoke to the topic of the summit, “The Power of Partnership”.  He said something small that got me thinking, “Being busy is not the same thing as being successful.” 

I’ve been pondering that statement ever since. When someone asks me how I’m doing I say “busy”. I’m always running from one thing to the next it seems. I am a busy person, but is that making me successful? Is that keeping me where I want to be in my career? 

Sometimes the busy is my job. However, sometimes the busy is doing things that might not be moving me in the direction I want. 

Being busy watching one more episode of the show I’m watching on Netflix, isn’t the busy that’s going to create success.

It makes me reevaluate success and the way to get there in a new manner. If you have a business and your employees are busy, bustling around, typing things into their computers, you should be successful. But, are they being productive? Are they doing things that will move the company forward to create success?
How is success defined? Is it success equals money or success equals fame or does success mean you can pay your bills and eek out a life. 

One definition of success is “an event that accomplishes its intended purpose.” Another is “The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.” Both of those definitions have second variations hinted at success being the “attainment of wealth, position, honor, or the like.” 

Busy on the other hand is defined as “Actively and attentively engaged in work or a pastime,” or as a verb, “To keep occupied.” 

This last definition makes me think about homework that is often described as “busy work“. 

If we don’t call it busy, what do we say when someone asks “how are you?”

I could say what my son says, “I am well.” Psychologically that might help with the harried feeling that comes from being busy. But what if I am busy, running from meeting to meeting, place to place? I could say “things are hectic, and that makes me successful in what I am doing” as long as I am doing my work and not watching TV or playing games. 

We all want some form of success whether it is a goal like basic necessities, or a  goal like buying sick companies, healing them and selling them for a boatload of money. 

I will try not to be busy next time someone asks “What are you doing?” I could answer, “I’m being successful.”

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Scoutmaster's minute from Fred Collins

Dear Editor,

Dear readers, it has been some years since I walked the Scout trails with the troops of Scouts, but yet, those inspiring times still linger in one’s mind. Those lessons are still prevalent today. The following lesson I just pulled out of my backpack. Perhaps it may be of some interest to you. I call it “stepping stones.” 

A troop of Boy Scouts were walking through a woods one day, when the boy in the lead tripped over a stone and fell. His shoes were heavy, so any injury to his toes healed with the ending of momentary pain. The ground was soft and matted with decaying leaves which cushioned his fall. He brushed himself off, as relieved comrades began to laugh, and the hike continued.

A little later the group came to a small brook that barred their way. It wasn’t deep. The boys could have waded through, but that would have meant trampling along in soaked shoes. They thought of taking off their shoes and socks and crossing in their bare feet, but the water was cold and there were no towels to dry themselves. 

At this point the lad who tripped over the stone a short distance back thought of something. Lying near at hand was a loose stone. Tossed into the brook it made one stepping stone. Running back along the trail with a companion, he found the stone he had stumbled over. The two of them brought it back. This gave them the second stepping stone, and the troop crossed the brook with dry feet. 

This incident might have taught all the boys a most important lesson in life. You can accomplish almost anything when you convert stumbling stones into stepping stones. The stumbling stones are concealed everywhere. Few can escape them. (Some of them are) unfriendly persons, illness, the lack of career opportunity, the inability to continue formal education, even such a thing as not being as quick mentally as someone else.

The individual who finds out why some people are unfriendly to him and corrects his own shortcomings first, who uses illness to guide him to healthier living; who builds the job he can get into the career he wants, who make the most of practical and informal education, who make up in sustained effort what he lacks in quickness of wit, he is certain to find life a challenge, an opportunity and a great adventure. (For he knows how to use stumbling stones, that lad, onward to success.)

Scoutmaster’s Minute
Fred Collins

Letter from Fred Collins "He's my brother."

It seems that many of we down home folks look at living in somewhat of a different manner than some that hold the reins of leadership. Last night in a dream I found all the people of the world were “color blind”, and that the word “prejudice” was no longer in the dictionary. The word “compassion” was elevated to the top rung of the ladder of a world that needs to find a rainbow. 

Today industry is judged by how much “horse power” it produces. Many folks may not take time to reflect on what that really means! My early years started on a two horse far, every challenge was meet with team work. It took teamwork to pull the great logs from deep in the woods. Above all on a farm it was folks working as a team to survive and grow. One often wonders why these primary elements are often overlooked in today’s society! Horsepower is the energy exerted to move an object. In that same vein – how much “brain power” would it take to change a nation? (Just call ourselves Americans.) A force of people in every nation that put their best food forward for the betterment of its people.

Just the other day my future son-in-law and I were discussing the dress code for the upcoming wedding. I injected the thought – what a simple matter it would be if Adam and Eve had not sampled the forbidden fruit. The thought that all nations could sit down to a communal table and solve their needs, where prejudices were not invented and compassion sat at the head of the table. Vigilance was not needed, suspicion no longer separated us. Even the most common folk would be able to dine and share in God’s harvest. The greatest law of the land would be to help our fellow man! You may remember that great quote – “He’s not heavy, he’s my brother!”

I believe everyone sometime in their life, should walk behind a plow, pulled by two magnificent horses.
Fred Collins
The American

Insight - Entitled Humanity

When someone crosses a road, be it in a crosswalk or jaywalking, it’s nice to look up at the driver in the car who stopped for you and give a nod or wave. I’m not saying they should make a fool of themselves in the crosswalk, but just a “yeah, I see you and thanks for stopping” look. 
Where has our sense of entitlement come from? Even though it’s the law to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, how many times have you seen people drive on through? If the walker is not looking then he’s going to get squished. 

Engage people. This past weekend, I volunteered with Boy Scout Troop 805 at the Maine Marathon which started in Portland. I was put 100 yards away from the finish line to direct runners and let them know they were close to the end of their journey. 

These people, who have just run a marathon, 26.2 miles, or a half-marathon, still a grueling 13.1 miles, took a second to tell the woman yelling at them that they were 100 yards from the finish line “Thank you.” “Thank you for volunteering today.” (Then there was that one man who said, “Don’t lie to me.” But that’s a different story about keeping a sense of humor.) Anyway, these runners had spent five hours running through many towns and at the end of their journey they took a second to thank me for being there, when some people can’t acknowledge that I didn’t run them over while they crossed the street.
With only a little nod, people will know they have done a good deed for the day. A small pat on the back that says, “I appreciate you.” 

Niceness is contagious. You do something nice for someone and they’ll do something nice for someone else and on and on. Isn’t that the type of world you’d like to live in? One where in 100 yards you’re going to collapse, but you take a second to thank one of the 600 volunteers that came to support your efforts.

So take a moment to acknowledge the people around you. When someone does something nice, lets you in front of them in line at the checkout or pays for your coffee…pass it on. We’ll all be better for it.