Highlighted Blog #17 – DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

Love a good story? This site will have you spell-bound. The author has a gift for research and bringing the past alive. It’s not a site to check out with a glance. It’s more of a “get ready to immerse” sort of site. For example, check out this narrative from the author’s ancestor, told in his own voice. Amazing.

  • For the month of November (the month of Thanksgiving in the United States), I’m sharing some of the blogs I’m thankful for. If you want thankful posts from my own personal day-to-day stuff, check out my Inspired By and Thankful For blog.

Highlighted Blog #12 – Christopher Pollock Art

Okay, so this one is super slanted since the author hasn’t updated in absolutely forever. But I can’t help but love it since it’s my husband’s site, and I have an inside scoop into posts that might be showing up eventually 😉

This one has some color. So far there has been only one of this kind. It sold very fast. I probably should make more! It is painted sheet metal and wire.
via Colored Circles on Wavy Base Mobile —

* For the month of November (the month of Thanksgiving in the United States), I’m sharing  writing from some of the blogs I’m thankful for. If you want thankful posts from my own personal day-to-day stuff, check out my Inspired By and Thankful For blog.

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Highlighted Blog #3 — Mehrling Muse

My aunt is one of my favorite writers of all time so reading her work is always a treat. I’m soooo thankful she got into blogging so we can share her world. In her blog, she takes everyday happenings and invites the reader become part of the scene via her natural and humorous flow of words.

I was surprised a man approached me near the cafe as he walked in for breakfast. I recognized him as the one who took over the iron-worker’s shed halfway up the steep hill. In the past few weeks, he greeted John and me with several sentences of a Southerner’s standard greeting as we walked past. […]

via Advice to this Walker — Mehrling Muse

* For the month of November (the month of Thanksgiving in the United States), I’m sharing  writing from some of the blogs I’m thankful for. If you want thankful posts from my own personal day-to-day stuff, check out my Inspired By and Thankful For blog.

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Highlighted Blog #1 — The Sensible Leader

Untying the knots of language begins with seeing that whenever something is said, other communication is carried along with it. Sometimes the sender is aware of the unsaid, but often they are not… The unsaid but communicated includes assumptions, expectations, disappointments, resentments, regrets, interpretations, significance… The message of the impact of clarity in language from…

via Untying the Knots of Language — The Sensible Leader

I love this site since it’s filled with great wisdom and research for work life (and it even stretches to home life at times).

* For the month of November (the month of Thanksgiving in the United States), I’m sharing  writing from some of the blogs I’m thankful for. If you want thankful posts from my own personal day-to-day stuff, check out my Inspired By and Thankful For blog.

Layover Time in Life

Chris and Mom conversing over lunch

All I wanted was to talk to someone in full sentences. I remember that feeling well from my years as a stay-at-home mom with a toddler. When my husband came home from work I greeted him with a torrent of babble that didn’t take into his account his tired state of mind after a long day of interacting with others.

It wasn’t good for the marriage, and one day he verbalized that and asked for just 15-30 minutes of time before we started discussing our days. He was right, and I found that when I waited just a short bit, he actually listened to me a lot better.

Fast forward 24-25 years since those toddler days, and I’m struggling to find a balance of work/home life. I spend a full workday answering questions, researching, troubleshooting and testing WordPress issues, and by the end of the day my brain is often fried. Ironically, it’s a struggle to string a sentence (oh, how times have changed).

This state of mind is not ideal when your mother-in-law has a Jeopardy addiction and likes to watch it with people. Or when Chris wants to discuss things with me. It sometimes literally gives me a headache having to think and answer more questions and to focus. But I know it’s really important to engage actively with my loved ones and put my workday behind me.

I discussed this with my job coach, who travels internationally using her talents as a certified conflict mediator and coach to work through some pretty intense situations. She had some good advice on figuring out this balance.

balance GIF

The Layover

In her own training, she and others are advised to extend layovers while traveling so one doesn’t go home immediately after working through tough situations elsewhere. Take a few days. Regroup. Transition from the task you completed to your life ahead. This is something I can do on a small scale in my daily life.

As I looked at my daily schedules, I began to do some adjusting. Again I’m super thankful for a job that allows me to tweak. We can choose what hours we want to work here at Automattic, so I work four ten-hour days. This gives me time to travel, run errands with Mom and Chris and catch up on life in general on my three flex days.

In addition to that, I shuffled things around so my workdays end an hour before Jeopardy. This gives me an hour “layover” for some “me” time. During that hour I embrace tasks such as exercising, journaling, doing my Bible study and blogging.

In retrospect it’s quite similar to what Chris and I did back in the day. I just needed a reminder, I guess. The great news is that it’s working. I feel much more balanced, and I feel I’m able to provide a higher quality of engagement with the people with whom I’m connecting.

If you are struggling to find a life balance and constantly feel overwhelmed, I highly recommend this Layover strategy. It’s a winner in my book.

Routines

Tools for Establishing Routines
animation calm down GIF by Chibird
Oh May it be So

My life is kind of getting away from me – lacking routines. You know the feeling? I bet most can relate. It’s a struggle balancing life, home, family, friends, work, play, faith, exercise, etc. Fortunately, one of the perks of being an Automattic employee is that we get time with a job coach if we want.

My Job Coach

After some video training I browsed through a list of coaches to see who might be a good fit for me based on their backgrounds and their summaries of their points of focus. For a start, I could meet any coach I wanted for a 15-minute video session to see how we interacted. Finally, I picked one to meet with for 10 sessions.

There was one who stood out to me. Sara. She’s a mom who enjoys salsa and who lived in Lisbon. Maybe that’s all what drew me. Plus she is just simply inspiring and focused on establishing peace. We met, and I immediately felt really confident working with her.

Now I’m almost half-way through our sessions, and I have to tell you it’s amazing. I’m not overwhelmed with info from her (she definitely guides me, but at my own pace so I’m not lost in the currents of life). Sara suggests little tweaks that make me so much more productive and helps me see where to focus as I establish routines. She also gives me resources to study to become a better human in general.

So that’s been happening, plus some travel for the company’s meetup, during which I learned soooooooooooo much. After the Grand Meetup (GM), I attended  Rochester WordCamp and learned even more. So many thoughts. So much to write about.

Routines

But first, I had to get organized. ‘cuz I’m like that. I sorted arenas of my life into categories, made myself some new Trello lists (while looking into Asana), updated my calendars, cleaned out my Simplenote lists and updated my tags, and now I’m ready to write, by golly! There’s even a list of thoughts and topics from my last few weeks I want to write about.

Not all of it will be here — some will be on my Inspired by and Thankful For blog, and some will be for internal work documents, and some will be communications with family and friends, but I have scheduled time for daily addressing my own mind-dump needs.

I’m really looking forward to this new routine, and am feeling a bit less scattered already.

A Quarter Century With CJ

Today we celebrate 25 years of a beautiful addition to our planet. Doctors told us it wouldn’t happen, and if a child were to come into our existence, there could be major complications. Yet 25 years ago, on a beautiful Saturday morning, a healthy CJ entered the world, to our delight.

You know those Hallmark moments where the parents gaze in awe at their perfect newborn child? That didn’t totally happen. After hours of back labor and some complications that were a bit intimidating, CJ entered the world. We turned exhausted eyes to our newborn progeny and watched as he opened one eye as if he didn’t care enough to open two eyes, then gave us the bird.

What a way to enter the world.

Now that we have gotten to know him, we realize the one-eye thing was probably due to the fact that it was morning, and he wasn’t quite ready to wake up. The bird? Well, even now I would say that was a bit out of character for him, but it made quite the initial impression.

When a parent things holds a child in their arms, there is a dream that develops. For me, it was to rear a child who could stand on his own taking on whatever life threw at him and contributing back in a positive manner.

CJ, you have far exceeded our hopes for this. Not only do you take on the world comfortably, but you you inspire us with your passion for faith, family and dreams as you pursue your world in music and tech. We are so proud of you and love you so much.

Happy 25!

Of Wind and Water

Wind at Southwick State Park Beach

Disclaimer: You might want to mute the video before you start it — or perhaps, like me, you love the sound of wind (even if it’s slightly magnified by an iPhone microphone).

The wind was so loud that day, Chris and I couldn’t hear each other talk as we walked into the wind. That was some tough walking, haha.

Walking back to the car, I think I could have flown. So fun.

Wind at Southwick

A wonderful poem by Amy Lowell.

The Wind

He shouts in the sails of the ships at sea,
He steals the down from the honeybee,
He makes the forest trees rustle and sing,
He twirls my kite till it breaks its string.
Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,
Whistling, howling, rainy wind,
North, South, East and West,
Each is the wind I like the best.
He calls up the fog and hides the hills,
He whirls the wings of the great windmills,
The weathercocks love him and turn to discover
His whereabouts — but he’s gone, the rover!
Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,
Whistling, howling, rainy wind,
North, South, East and West,
Each is the wind I like the best.

The pine trees toss him their cones with glee,
The flowers bend low in courtesy,
Each wave flings up a shower of pearls,
The flag in front of the school unfurls.
Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,
Whistling, howling, rainy wind,
North, South, East and West,
Each is the wind I like the best.

More of Amy Lowell’s poetry can be found in Google Books.