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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In the Middle of it all......

I discovered something that I feel strongly I should share.  An article written by Dieter F. Uchtdorf (who happens to be a particularly fine man, a former fighter pilot, a great speaker, oh, and an Apostle) is titled "Always in the Middle".  That phrase has been kind of a negative for me in the past , but his take on it was far from negative and fascinating to me.

He started out with beginnings.....that is the time to make resolutions, create plans, have a burst of energy! Then he referred to endings.....winding down, and maybe feeling a bit of loss.  Then he suggested that being in the "middle of it" was a way to help us understand life better and live a little more meaningfully.

Interesting isn't it? 

This struck a chord with me because I am starting something new and I am terrified.  My husband and I are starting a business....We are basically Abraham and Sarah....because we are inexplicably giving birth to a business much younger people should be doing.  I did not want to do this, mostly because I have no idea what I am doing.  Which by the way is a very good reason to not start something.  It is roughly like getting up in the morning to perform brain surgery only to remember on the way to the hospital...THAT I AM NOT A DOCTOR!!! 

So I am going to fool myself into thinking I am "in the middle' of it.  I am not just starting out, I am in the middle of it.  Here is my new thinking.....I have already learned a lot (I really have) I have a lot of support ( I really do) ....and our product is amazing.  I know, I know new businesses fail all the time.....well guess what?  McDonalds was once just one Golden Arch, Microsoft was in a garage, the Beatles sang in a saloon to four drunks and Paula Deen made sandwiches in her kitchen and sold them out of a wagon.  It can be that means I can do it too.

When I went to taxation to get our business processed it was see there are NO jobs in Nevada, so the people who are left are starting their own businesses.  Just like my husband and me.  As I said our employable expiration date has come and if I were telling you this story a few weeks ago I would say we are starting over.  But now with my new mind set I am "IN THE MIDDLE OF A GREAT ADVENTURE!"

To be sure it is worth a pout that life didn't turn out the way I thought it would.  But I hear that from a lot of women.  "I never thought my life would turn out this way."  Both for the good and bad.  I never thought I would be married for 33 years and have 4 great kids....that is not what I knew as a child.  But it happened for me.   I also never thought I would be starting at business when I should be investing in Dr. Scholls and Ben Gay.  But I am.  And we are going to be great!!

We are in the middle of a great husband is a wonderful cook, and we are caterers.  He makes amazing pizza and pasta, fun salads and pulled pork.  We couldn't start a restaurant because that takes a bit more money than we have.  So we are catering.  And yes we are older, and it is very hard work....(thank you to the people who we practiced on)  but what are our options?  Give up?  Never!!

Yes, some of my friends are retiring, and some are at the top of their careers.  We are on a different path.  And it is going to be OK.

President Uchtdorf ends his article with this, "Being always in the middle means that the game is never over, hope is never lost, defeat is never final.  For no matter where we are or what our circumstances, an eternity of beginnings and endings stretch out before us.  We are always in the middle.

So change your thinking.  Be in the middle, not at the beginning scared to jump in, or at the end, to tired to care. 

If you get discouraged for me, just remember my motto.....One plus God is enough.

From Always in the middle  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf  Ensign Magazine July 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Fourth Of July

I received an email from my friend Janice this morning titled "facts about Mitt Romney".  I didn't know what that might be.  Whose facts?  But when I read it I realized they were all true...nothing overblown or mean, just the truth.  We have lots of information out there....on both sides that may or may not be true.  Records can be spun one way or another.  But a person's past is really not up for discussion.  It is what it is.  And these are the things he did. (I attached the email at the end, it was tempting but I took out the negatives - hey I'm human!)
I am not going to inundate you with emails asking you to vote for Mitt Romney....but I am going to ask you to vote, and vote intelligently.  Weigh things out carefully....That is what I am doing.
There are no jobs in Las Vegas.  I sit on the planning commission and I can tell you no jobs are coming either.  But when I went to taxation yesterday it was packed. Packed with people who are starting their own businesses...people who will not give up.  People who are starting over....I need a leader who has done that too.  Started a business, hated the million ridiculous regulations government requires, met a payroll, hired people, and even fired people.  Who lost sleep at night over the failure of a business...wondered if they would make it through the end of the month....but in the end was a success!
I admit I am not happy with the leadership in our country right now, not with my governor, my senators, or my representatives.  They are not inspired...they are not making anything better.  We are all stuck in the mud.
We need someone to inspire us, someone to paint their face blue and go into battle with us.  (Braveheart reference inserted here) My hope is a new president will do that.
I am weary already of this election....perhaps you are too.  That is our very flawed is hard to watch millions of dollars spent on TV and print ads that may or may not be true.  It is hard to believe that people are being paid to jump on the words of any candidate, hoping to catch them in a slip of the tongue.  That is what we are reduced to....I hope this election doesn't hinge on the slip of the tongue.
I respect everyone's you can see I have not attacked President Obama.  I think he is a very likeable man,  a great dad and husband.  But for me, (and isn't that how we vote?) the last four years have been hell.  If you want to make the case that he only inherited this mess, that's fine.........but he hasn't told me one thing that will make any of this better, there isn't an energy plan, there isn't a job plan, there has not been one single budget and congress is a mess.  Congress needs someone to stand in front of them and call them out for who they have become.  Partisan hacks only caring about supporting their own party.  Shameful.  They have lost sight of the fact we are all Americans...they simply see themselves as Republicans or Democrats.  No one willing to negotiate, no one willing to admit the other side has a good idea.  No one willing to work together.  We need someone to give us back our honesty and dignity.......and bring us together.
We need jobs but who creates them?  Not government.  Would someone please invent something?  build something?  No one has been inspired to do that... We need work, none is coming, we need fair health costs.  Let me tell you about ours.  Our health insurance has gone up 300 dollars a month since Obama has been in office.  Since I pay that personally let me do the math for you, $300 x 12 x 4.......That comes to $14,400 extra dollars.  There are 4 of us on the policy and we pay $1380 a month.  The report is it will go up another 20 per cent in the next few years.  How long can we keep that up? 

I have to vote for a change....I have long lost the notion that any leader is is what civilized people do.
These are my reasons, you are free to disagree.  I hope your life has been better the last four years than ours has been.   I will not be negative about what we have in place...I don't want anyone to think I am racist because I disagree with President Obama's vision.  I am not.  He has his reasons for what he is doing, but they don't work for me. 
I need a leader... I am desperate for a leader.

When the Supreme court ruled the message I received is this...."Your present government has put this health policy in place to force you to buy something...that trend will not end.  So if you want something different find other people to lead you."  I agree with the pundit who said, Justice Roberts is playing chess when everyone else is playing checkers.  It is a complicated verdict....Perhaps you got something else from the ruling...again I am emphatic that we all work from our own perspective.  Mine has turned into survival. And be sure, I will survive no matter who wins in November.....I would just like some help surviving.
A roommate of mine from college married a fine guy who was hired right out of Harvard Business School by Mitt Romney.  He worked with him for a long, long time.  She told me Romney is just what you see.  An honest guy trying to make things better.  His skill set is fixing financial things.  It is also a life of service.  He really has given back.  I am also a Mormon and so I know the time it requires to be a Bishop and a Stake President, volunteer positions.....I have watched 3 of my children serve missions....I know that sacrifice too.
Another friend worked with him on the Olympics in Salt Lake City........she an avowed Democrat told me he is just what you see...honest, organized and relentlessly attentive to details.   Clayton Christensen, a tremendously inspiring guy in his own right, was speaking one day about service, and he mentioned his stake president showing up to help someone move just like everyone else in the ward....Mitt Romney.  There is a list of people a mile long who will testify Governor Romney walks the walk.
A cousin told me she couldn't vote for him because he flip flopped.  I would like to take a page from my democratic friend's book and call it what it is......he evolved.  There was a time in my life I didn't think abortion was wrong, now it is my hot button issue.  Did I flip flop?  Or did I do as Oprah says?  When I knew better I did better.  I want my leaders to grow, I want them to admit mistakes and do better.  And sometimes that means changing...
So this is me, and I am writing this on the fourth of July.......a day we celebrate freedom, my freedom to think the way I want to, and I celebrate that freedom for you too.
I would love to hear your thoughts too...

Just Some Real Facts About Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney:

After going to both Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School simultaneously, he passed the Michigan bar, but never worked as an attorney.

As a venture-capitalist, Romney's first major business deal involved investing in a start-up office supply company with one store in Massachusetts that sold office supplies. That company, called Staples, now has over 2,000 stores and employs over 90,000 people.

Romney or his company Bain Capital (using what became known as the "Bain Way") would go on to perform the same kinds of business miracles again and again, with companies like Domino's, Sealy, Brookstone, Weather Channel, Burger King, Warner Music Group, Dollarama, Home Depot Supply, and many others.

Got your calculators handy? Let's recap.

Volunteer campaign worker for his dad's gubernatorial campaign 1 year.

Unpaid intern in Governor's office 8 years.

Mormon missionary in Paris 2 years.

Unpaid bishop and stake president for his church 10 years.

No salary as president of the Olympics 3 years.

No salary as MA governor 4 years.

That's a grand total of 28 years of unpaid service to his country, his community and his church.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

An intriguing question...

I read a post yesterday on facebook from a woman who said she was not going to voice her political opinions any more.  She was tired of the contention they she was done.
Some people commented that they understood and were supporting her decision, others said her opinion counted to them and they would miss her contribution.  I wrote to her and essentially told her, "Hale No!!"
(That is southern for hell no....just saying)  I went on to say in my very subtle manner that we cannot be quiet.  The first thing attorneys do is write an opposition letter (a fact I first learned in college and have used in my private life far too often according to my husband). 
Don't we have to know other folks opinions? Do you want to live in a world where everyone agrees with you?  Of course not....learning depends on various points of view, in fact many points of view.  I read articles and columns from people who have the exact opposite opinion of mine.  I want to know what other people are thinking and why. 
My mother and I disagreed vehemently about abortion. I couldn't understand how anyone could think it was OK except in extreme cases, and she thought it was perfectly justified.  She had been with a friend who died from a botched abortion....that experience never left her.  I have friends who had selfish abortions who could not forgive themselves...that experience has never left me.   

Who is right?  Who is wrong?  Can it be that we have opinions, good ones, and leave it at that? 

Do we have to be right?  Have you ever had a friend who wouldn't leave it alone until they convinced you they were right?  Don't  you want to spray them with a hose?  And every time they start talking again, just spray them again?

That is probably one of the hardest thing to overcome, our need to be right.  It isn't pretty and you limit your crowd considerably.  Take your Shih Tzu to the poodle club and see how comfortable you are when they start talking about how poodles are the only dog to have.

So in this charged political season don't hide your opinions.   If someone comes up with a compelling argument that changes your mind, be open to it.  You aren't flip flopping if you study something out and make an intelligent change. 

I have dear, dear friends who are the exact opposite of me on many issues, but we are still friends.  Do I have to convert them to my way of thinking to continue our friendship?  Absolutely not. 

Don't  be on the sidelines this year,,,,,regardless of who you vote for, vote.  And be passionate....I hope you trust your candidate and that he or she deserves your vote.  Explore all angles of your issues...and ask a million questions.  I live in Nevada...our state is the hardest hit by everything.  Highest unemployment and highest foreclosures in the country.  And there is no work coming.  Our schools are a disaster, and we have very little to offer anyone moving here.  340 days of sunshine and my smiling face is not enough,  Our leadership has not taken an active role in getting us back on course....but guess what has occurred?  The people who have stayed have reinvented themselves.  They are starting businesses and in the long run, we will be stronger because of the hardships we have encountered.  But government has not been the answer in our case.  In fact,  increasing unemployment benefits only exacerbated our local recession.  People started their businesses later rather than sooner.  I saw that as a waste of time and money.  Personal opinion.  Maybe people needed more time to realize they could climb out of their own morass.  Could be.

But whatever your opinions are, don't be ashamed of them...don't hide your light just because you think it might cause a problem.  You might be wrong....but you might be right too.  And also don't think just because your friend is a fool for disagreeing with you about one thing that they will disagree with you on all things. 
I rarely agree with Maureen Dowd...I think her brand of writing is caustic and often belittling.  Mostly because we are on opposite sides of almost anything.  However the columns she wrote about Jerry Sandusky are completely compelling.  You can feel in her words the pain of his horrible crime, and she was brilliant in her assessment of  what had occurred at Penn State.  I was brought to tears as she wrote about the pain the vulnerable endure when they have no one to speak up for them.

We must speak I have to bring Braveheart up again?  When I start thinking I can't do it I bust out the Braveheart speech, pick up my flaming sword and go out and conquer the world!

I hope I have given you permission to take your thoughts out for a test drive...a little spin around the neighborhood.  Our personal history writes our opinions today, don't apologize for how you feel, I am sure you have a good reason for it.

Be bold in your thinking...listen to all thoughts.  The nonsense will wash away, good thought out opinions will resonant in your heart and mind.  I don't want to think I can't throw my opinion in my blog just because I might offend someone.  I love diversity, in fact....I say this all the time.  "If everyone could make Pizza, who would fix the cars?"

Seriously...isn't that true?

You don't have to always "be right".  Just be.